What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips

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October 31, 2023 | by Aleesha Jacob
what_publishers_need_to_know_about_reducing_banner_blindness.

With the proliferation of digital ads, website visitors are experiencing a psychological phenomenon known as banner blindness. This is the phenomenon whereby the user becomes blind to, & eventually ignores banner advertisements.

As we’ve all seen, banner advertising is a popular means of monetizing sites. 

In addition, as it stands right now, the promotion of the social network fails to generate enough revenue for publishers or generate higher revenue.

What is the reason for this?

It’s Banner Blindness (DAMN!)

Can you recall the time when you actually paid attention to a banner ad?

Me neither!

Well, exactly. Think about all the banner ads that you’ve seen on the websites you’ve been to, and the majority of them didn’t make any impression at all.

This is because we are actually blind to banners (your site visitors are blind to your banners, too).

Publishers need to ensure that they are receiving the most return on their online advertising dollar in the future as digital advertising spend is anticipated to cross $700 billion in 2024. 

86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness.

The steps that you must take to combat banner blindness are crucial to a high CTR and continued monetization of your site. 

In this blog post, we’ll go over the A-Z of banner blindness, its causes, and the best ways publishers can optimize their banner advertising to avoid or overcome banner blindness with ease. 

What is Banner Blindness?

Banner blindness, also known as ad blindness, refers to the phenomenon where website visitors subconsciously ignore banner-like information, primarily advertisements. This can lead to decreased click-through rates, affecting ad revenues for publishers.

The Click-Through Rate (CTR) is one metric used to describe the success or failure of a specific banner:

  • %CTR = No. of clicks / No. of ad impressions X 100
  • 10 clicks / 100 ad impressions X 100 = 10 % CTR

Most of the time, when people are checking out a banner, Even when the ad is visually appealing or striking to look at, they usually look past it rather than directly checking it out. 

The phenomenon is even more common when users are searching for specific info on a site- they will selectively ignore looking at these ads, particularly banner ads – while scrolling past all the content on that site.

Further research is required to understand this staggering statistic. 

We need a better understanding of what causes banner blindness, and how we can stop it.

Cognitive Schemata

Cognitive schemas help organize knowledge, expectations, & beliefs about a subject (just like a mental framework). 

Users online use cognitive schema while surfing across a new blog or site. 

Having these tools on hand helps us take shortcuts in the future when facing the same environment.

The stored schemas enable users to find their way around a new website. 

When faced with a similar situation, they are able to direct their attention towards areas where they expect to find what they were looking for initially, & areas where they were able to find such information before.

The cognitive state of mind of website visitors often leads to ignoring the conventional ad spots like the right site or middle portion of the web page.

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

How Banner Ads Affect Publishers

Your CTRs (click-through rates) can take a hit if you place banner ads on locations where users are bound to ignore them.

People tend to ignore areas such as the top-right corner of the website or the right sidebar because they have subconsciously associated them with traditional ad areas (and everybody’s mom is doing it too).

Bummer!

Earlier, banner ads were pretty effective in bringing a good amount of CTRs to the website as they used to have the upper hand over people’s shiny object syndrome.

 However, as websites are flooded with advertisements, people have grown accustomed to and have stopped noticing them.

When publishers are doing everything they can to monetize more  of their sites through organic & paid click mediums, banner ads are a serious problem (revenue-wise at least!)

Irrelevant, low-quality ads displayed to the wrong audience are a surefire way to repel prospects.

Advertising on the internet keeps getting more competitive, with over 8 billion eyes viewing over 1.5 billion sites on a daily basis

It’s high time to curate your content style in such a way that your ads do not get ignored.

When publishers and advertisers understand how regular people read web pages, they can implement several techniques to keep banner blindness at bay. 

Factors contributing to Banner Blindness

Here is a list of factors that are potential causes of Banner Blindness:

1. Banner Location matters!

Your site visitors are accustomed to expecting the site layout & mapping to be like every other blog.

Hence, they skip the banner part of the website resulting in banner blindness.

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

2. Oops, Ads did it Again!

A site with less content and too many ads repel visitors and cause sensory overload. 

Users get annoyed while coming across an ad clutter on the site (too many popup ads, displays ads, text ads are to be blamed too).

This leads to them ignoring all the ads.

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

3. Ad Style Aesthetics

Ignoring ads has become the new norm now!

But what is happening behind the scenes?

Visitors to a website “know” that ads differ from the main content. It doesn’t manner what type of ad it is.

Despite all that effort, you put into fancify the ad with the font color, background, etc.

Mind that it won’t matter whether your ad is actually a useful one because, most likely, it won’t be seen.

4. Ad-Irrelevancy

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

Ad revenue riches are in the niches folks!

Irrelevant ads will only be ignored by your site visitors.

Keep in mind that users’ responsiveness goes hand in hand with how genuine and personalized your banner ads are.

It’s time to avoid banner blindness & grab lost eyeballs back!

How to Avoid Banner Blindness | Ad-Attention at All Costs!

It all comes down to the main question: how to overcome Banner Blindness?

If the ads that you design can be blendable with the site content, banner blindness will never be an issue.

Ads need to sell themselves.

Avoid Banner Blindness by keeping the following points in mind:

 

1. Blend your Ads properly

Having your ad look different from the rest of a webpage may attract attention and boost CTRs. 

But it’s not as easy as it seems!

Go with the background, font, type, color & overall content style that has been proven to work before.

 

2. Experimenting with Placements & Sizes

Publishers traditionally are using ad sizes like:

300 X 250 or 728 X 90 leaderboards 

The usual placements of these display banner ads often result in banner blindness.

Solution:

Test out different sizes and locations to get the attention of your visitors and stick with the one that performs best and drives high CTRs.

 

3. Design your Ads to captivate Eyeballs

Catching the eye of a viewer is crucial to converting them.

You will only lose credibility with annoying & cheap-looking ads.

Solution:

  • Keep your ads simple. Simple scales! Fancy fails!
  • Consider playing with the design hierarchy, dimensions, font, and style of your display ads and replicate the ad strategy that works.
  • Minding the contrast ratio.

Contrast the color scheme of your website with the color scheme of your ad. Capture attention with contrasting colors.

 

4. Powerful Call to Action

Copy matters!

A straightforward message is a crucial element that can break through banner blindness.

Solution:

  • Craft your CTA in a way that clearly conveys the message you want to deliver.
  • A successful CTA is enough to guide site visitors & convert them into leads.

 

5. Separating Ads from the Content

When users are scanning to find the content they are looking for based on the information scent we mentioned before. 

Site visitors usually skim through a blog for tips, guides, etc; 

If one of the content sections looks irrelevant, they will skip going through all your content & stop engaging with your site altogether (Hello high bounce rate 👋🏻)

Solution:

Stop mixing your ads with content in the same visual segment.

Else, site visitors will start ignoring your precious content as well.

 

6. Are 3D display ads the new hype?

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

 

Unlike your conventional banner ads, 3D photo ads ensure that users get to interact with gifs or 3D images within the ad display area.

Real-time customization of the product image is possible, including moving, spinning, and in some cases, customizing.

As a result, 3D display ads convert well while boring flat banner ads will cause banner blindness.

 

7. Implementing Native Ads

Ads shown within the blog’s feed content are Native Ads. Stats have shown that these ads are 45% faster than banner ads. Hence, they have a higher viewability.

Types of Native Ads:

  • 15-second engaging video ads
  • In-app mobile-friendly graphic ads
  • Text ads

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

Related Read: https://www.monetizemore.com/blog/add-native-ads-stack-dfp/

8. The F-Pattern

A study conducted by Jakob Nielsen, a renowned web usability consultant, revealed a lot about viewers’ reading habits.

During his eye-tracking experiment, he found that visitors scan the webpage in an F shape. 

A person who visits a webpage usually scans it from top left to bottom right.

Tip

Place your ad on the page in this manner to drive conversions and increase viewability.

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

 

9. Implementing Interactive Ads

Rich media interactive ads encourage your viewers to interact with what they see so that your ads drive higher conversions ultimately.

Here are few instances of interactive ads:

  • 3D ads & augmented reality ads
  • Playable ads
  • 10-15 sec video ads (720p to 1080 p at least!)



10. Driving Engagement with Video Ads

What Publishers Need to Know about Reducing Banner Blindness | 11 Tips MonitizeMore

Everybody finds videos to be more engaging than boring text ads.

For Instance: Since 2020, 15-second TikTok video ads have been the most successful in persuading viewers to buy the product influencers are promoting.

YouTube ads work just as well!

Tip:

  • Ensure that the video quality is bangin’
  • Longer duration videos can engage your viewers as well, as long as you are sharing valuable video content.

Related Read: https://www.monetizemore.com/blog/digital-video-ads-driving-more-reach/

11. Split Testing

To avoid banner blindness, you should keep testing a variety of options.

Try Split testing on a weekly basis to see which of your ads drive higher conversions.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Ad Landscape: A Cure for Banner Blindness?

The advent of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies has introduced transformative opportunities in the world of advertising. With their immersive nature, AR and VR can tackle banner blindness by offering experiences that are engaging, memorable, and interactive. Here’s how these technologies are reshaping the ad landscape:

1. Enhanced Engagement Through Immersion

Traditional 2D ads on screens can easily be ignored, but with VR, users are transported into a 360-degree virtual world. Within this space, advertisers can craft engaging narratives and interactive experiences that captivate users. Unlike static banners, users can’t easily ‘turn away’ from VR ads without removing their VR headset.

Example: A travel company could allow users to take a virtual tour of a holiday destination, letting them explore beaches, resorts, and attractions. This immersive experience could significantly increase the likelihood of users booking a real trip.

2. Contextual Product Interaction with AR

AR allows advertisers to superimpose digital information onto the real world through devices like smartphones or AR glasses. This means brands can showcase products in a user’s actual environment, providing context and enhancing relevancy.

Example: IKEA’s AR app allows users to virtually place furniture in their homes, seeing how different products look and fit in their actual living spaces before making a purchase.

3. Interactive Ad Experiences

AR and VR can turn ads from passive banners into interactive experiences. This active user engagement not only combats banner blindness but also promotes better recall and brand recognition.

Example: Pepsi launched an AR campaign at a bus stop in London, making the transparent screen of the bus stop showcase alien invasions, tigers, and other surreal scenes. Passersby were intrigued and engaged with the brand in an unexpected setting.

4. Personalization and Tailored Recommendations

AR and VR technologies can be combined with data analytics to offer personalized ad experiences. If users have previously expressed interest in specific products or services, these technologies can showcase them in unique and interactive ways, enhancing relevance.

Example: A fashion brand could use AR to allow users to virtually ‘try on’ outfits. Based on past purchase history and preferences, the system could suggest items that align with the user’s style.

5. Educational and Tutorial Content

Instead of conventional banners promoting a product, AR and VR can offer educational content, demonstrating how a product works or its benefits.

Example: A cosmetic company could use AR to overlay makeup tutorials on users’ faces in real-time, guiding them through the application process and promoting specific products simultaneously.

Embracing Ad Quality Over Quantity

When a website is saturated with ads, it can lead to cognitive overload for the user. This means that the sheer volume of information can overwhelm and make it difficult for users to focus on the content they initially came for. Such an environment can decrease user satisfaction and increase bounce rates.

By focusing on fewer, high-quality ads, publishers can command higher ad rates from advertisers. Advertisers are willing to pay a premium for well-placed, engaging ads on reputable platforms. This approach can lead to better ROI than a scattergun approach of numerous low-quality ads.

You can also attract premium advertisers looking for a conducive campaign environment. This can lead to long-term partnerships, recurring revenues, and collaborative ventures, benefiting the publisher and advertiser.

Wrap Up

In a nutshell, banner blindness is a critical problem in programmatic advertising. Many publishers have lost potential ad revenue opportunities.

To ensure their banner ads aren’t ignored, publishers need to understand how humans read web pages and constantly optimize and test their banner ads campaigns.

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