What ads work?

SMS Text

The Nielsen/Norman group recently did some eye tracking studies that show some interesting results. It shows that users seem to ignore animated ads, or graphic ads that stick out from the rest of the site.

Users seem to “zone out” (with their peripheral vision) ads and other site elements that have clearly distinguishable ad features such as graphics and colors that make the ads look different from the rest of the site, or animated ads.

The study also shows the most effective ads are contextual based ads.

When users DO look at ads with graphics, those ads usually have:

  • Heavy use of large, clear text
  • A color scheme that matches the site’s style
  • Attention-grabbing proprieties such as black text on a white background, words such as “free” and interactive (UI) elements.

This is the reason why Google PPC ads have such good success. The ads seem to blend in and disguise themselves, especially given the fact that AdSense publishers can customize the look of ads to match their site, often times borderline tricking the users.
Before you try shoving those blinking neon banner ads down your users’ throats, consider not only what’s best for them but what’s best for you. It just goes to show you people don’t like being interrupted with ads.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Latest posts by Cameron Olthuis (see all)

Download: Social Media Strategy
Where the rubber meets the road: A look at SEJ's own social media strategy.