What Is Banner Blindness?
Banner blindness occurs when a user knowingly or unknowingly ignores banner ads on a given webpage. Users have become so overwhelmed with cluttered ad content online that they know filter ads out automatically.
This leads to ad blindness.
This is an epidemic striking the advertising industry, but fortunately there are proven ways to combat banner blindness and convey messages to customers in unobtrusive, creative ways.
Banner Blindness Statistics
The first banner ad CTR in 1994 was 44% which has since dropped to a staggering average of 0.4%.
Roughly only 8% of users will be able to recall a company, product, or service after viewing an ad.
It is said that 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness.
Advertisers must put a stop to this epidemic.
Ways to Avoid Banner Blindness:
1. Utilize Targeted Content
When designing banner ads for your next campaign, consider targeting your audience members directly. You could either ensure that your ads are targeted accurately for the consumer, or you could try remarketing.
Remarketing is one of the most effective ways to raise CTR’s and bring users to your landing page. It’s difficult to ignore a banner ad when it is advertising the very product that the user was just searching for.
After visiting and clicking out of Curology’s website, it is likely that you will see a Curology banner ad as you continue to surf the web. This is a perfect example of remarketing–Curology is effectively targeting their audience who are clearly already somewhat interested in the product.
2. Design to Captivate!
Using bright colors to captivate your audience in is one of the best ways to combat banner blindness! They direct the user’s attention away from the content on the page and directly towards your ad. The only catch with this is that you have to keep their attention once you’ve successfully earned it.
The best way to do this is to make sure that the ad messaging is just as alluring as the bright colors. The next section will talk more about the importance of messaging, but use this T-Mobile ad as an example. The bold pop of hot pink is automatically intriguing and the phrase “Break Up” in large, block text is compelling.
3. Messaging that Matters
To fight the banner blindness epidemic, you might need to be a bit of a wordsmith. Ad design matters, but clear messaging is the most important. Before creating the copy, you should ask yourself– “what do you want the ad to accomplish?” Be sure to clearly convey that message in the copy of the banner ad.
T-Mobile did this in the example above with their short, catchy hook and CTA: “Switch to T-Mobile today.” The Nike banner ad below also does this well with their bold, yet simplistic messaging. In only two short phrases Nike was able to pull the audience in, show off their new Lebron 9 shoe, and describe why it’s unique.
4. Ad Placement
The location of your banner ad is also an extremely important factor in combating banner blindness. Different areas of the webpage get different amounts of eye traffic. Some areas of the page get more visibility overall, but less engagement time and vice-versa.
Larger leaderboard banners, (like the one outlined in grey shown above) tend to perform much better than other placements because they are the most prominent on a page. Banners are more difficult to ignore when they are front and center.
5. 360-degree Banner
360° ads are an immersive way for consumers to preemptively engage with a brand. Users are far more likely to interact with unique ad creative like 360° video than they are with traditional banner ads.
This Mission: Impossible 4 mobile ad boasted a CTR of 1.44% which is 4X higher than a typical banner ad. When users feel like they are invited to interact with an experience instead of passively viewing an ad, they are more likely to engage.
When banner ads are unique, they are difficult to ignore.
6. 3D Photo Ads
Using 3D technology in your banner ads is another way to stand out on a webpage. Flat ads contribute to banner blindness while three-dimensional ads directly counteract the problem.
Takis recently launched an interactive campaign that allowed users to Takis aimed to reach their younger audience in a relatable way so they turned to 3D to launch a hip, new campaign. Their banner ad unit featured the brightly-colored Takis chip bag in 3D. Users could interact with the 3D image before clicking on the ad to see the other creatives.
7. Remember the “F-Pattern”
Thought leader, Jakob Nielsen conducted a study that revealed users’ dominant reading patterns. Eye-tracking showed that web page readers tend to scan a page in the shape of an “F,” as shown below.
People begin by scanning most of the top of the page from the left to right. This is exactly why leaderboard banners at the top of the page tend to perform the best. In order to choose an ad placement that defies banner blindness, remember the “F-Pattern.”
8. Homepage Takeovers
While homepage takeovers don’t follow the typical constraints of a banner ad, they are an extremely effective display ad format. These ads combat banner blindness by taking over an entire webpage to convey the intended message. These kinds of “banners” are typically used to advertise upcoming movies as they are extremely visual.
DreamWorks turned to website takeovers as their primary promotional creative for the release of the Trolls movie. These brightly colored ads captivated audience’s attention and proved to be effective as the film grossed $346 million worldwide.
9. AR Ads
In yet another method to stand out, Advertisers are taking advantage of AR technology to create AR banner ads. These ads invite the user to interact by allowing them to virtually “try-on” different experiences.
In order to drive CTR’s, Sally Hansen created an AR ad that invited consumers to sample their different Miracle Gel polish colors within their banner ads. These ads earned a high CTR of 0.08% which shows that they successfully beat banner blindness.
10. Test, Test, Test!
In order to ensure that your ads effectively beat banner blindness, you can’t be afraid to fail. Test, test and test again to see what kinds of banner ads gain the most engagement and which don’t. For example, if you are an automotive repair services company, you might not need an AR ad for virtual sampling. Don’t be afraid to try different techniques to see which aligns best with your company.
You can also try out A/B testing different kinds of ads. Google does this often by rolling out the same feature but with two different types of fonts or colors to see which garners more engagement. A/B testing is an effective way to see what is working for you and what needs work to defeat banner blindness.