Poynter: Observations on Advertising
The Poynter Institute published a set of observations made while studying the eye movements of web surfers, finding that ads get viewed (or don't) in large part due to page placement and several specific design elements. Some of the findings proved intuitive, like the fact that 55 percent of viewers scanned an ad placed on tope of the page, while only 14 percent saw the one at the bottom. Some others, some not particularly obvious, include the following.
- Text ads did far better than graphic ads.
- This might have to do with the fact that ads that blended into the content generally did much better. Ads, for example, inset into text columns did extremely well.
- Visual breaks between content sections tend to act as visual dams, creating a high drop-off rate for further viewing.
- Contrasting background colors tip viewers off to the fact that the image is an ad - and hurts results. White or no background differentiation fared much better.
- Performance improved in a direct relationship to ad size.
The study results as they apply to ads can be found here. The larger study effort can be viewed here.