Display advertisements are a type of digital marketing strategy that involves displaying ads on websites in the form of “banners.” These can either appear on the top, sides, or the bottom of a website, depending on how that site’s designer created the layout. Businesses pay Google money to display their ads on sites relevant to the content they feature, and Google pays said websites to display them. It sounds good in theory, but banner ads face one huge problem: ad blindness.
What is ad blindness?
Ad blindness, sometimes called “banner blindness,” refers to how people ignore banner ads because they know they're ads. Smart Data Collective explains that 86% of users suffer from ad blindness. People often ignore ads based on their placement and how they look. As mentioned previously, there are specific locations on a website where it’s common to find display ads. Users will try their best not to look at those spaces.
As for how banner ads are formatted, below are some common designs.
Credit: andessurvivor under Creative Common License
Typically, they have big letters in a standard font and a call to action. This is accompanied by bright colors or an eye-catching picture. People will also try to avoid looking at them.
Curing ad blindness
Now that we’re more familiar with how people know what ads to avoid, we can work on avoiding that standard. Here are three ways to prevent ad blindness.
Use native ads
Native ads are designed to fit in with the content of the website they’re displayed in. Global digital marketing agency Ayima highlights the importance of content in campaigns. Every website not only has to optimize their content for search engines, but the content has to be relevant enough to get the user who clicked on the link to stay on the page. This is the guiding principle of native ads. Native ads ensure it’s relevant to the website, making users eager to learn more about its content. Nielsen’s eye-tracking study even found that 53% of users paid more attention to native ads than traditional display ads.
An example of a native ad could be a sponsored product review on a blog. Another could be display ads designed to look like they’re a part of the website’s content. This can be done through the clever use of the website’s font or copying its unique layout.
Seriously Simple Marketing once featured a couple of good examples in a video:
Improve the ad placements
The second way to avoid ad blindness is in the hands of the website’s designer. It involves the unique placement of the ads. Rather than displaying the ads in the usual places such as at the top, sides, or bottom, finding a creative way to incorporate it into a website’s content will help it get noticed. For example, if it’s an article, you can place the ad somewhere in the middle, as big publications like Forbes do. It’s especially recommended if the ad is a video or service directly related to the website’s content.
Publish ads on another platform
Display ads aren’t the only digital marketing strategy available. For example, in our post ‘TikTok Made for Teenagers or a Tool for Business’, we explored the possibility of using the platform to inform viewers about their business. TikTok ads can also run on a users’ news feed, every time they open the ad, or as branded AR/3D content TikTokers can use in their videos. Plus, businesses can publish their ads as sponsored content on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is also a good platform for ads, particularly for those in video format.
Ad blindness is not something that can be cured, but it is something that can be avoided. With relevant content, extra attention to the host website, and exploration of other online advertising channels, ad blindness will become the least of your worries.
Written by Astrid Cherry Carreon
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