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Getting the Consumer To Solve Banner Blindness

Several years ago usability guru Jakob Nielsen formally identified what marketers had quickly figured out: after a certain period of adjustment people's eyes skip over online ads. Nielsen called it banner blindness and the apt name has stuck. Possible remedies Nielsen said, were to focus on the three design elements most likely to attract people’s attention: plain text, faces, and "cleavage and other 'private' body parts." It also helps if the ad looks like a dialog box or a "native site component." (via Slate)

Solve Media may have struck on a possible solution using a twist of that latter piece of advice. The company has launched its so-called TYPE-IN advertising platform, which uses CAPTCHA authentication.

This is how it works: Instead of the hard-to-read jumble of words and numbers and phrases that great people when asked to prove that they are human and not an automated bot, the Solve Media platform shows them a simple logo, a brand message in quotes, and an input box. Users type in the brand message as authentication. Advertisers pay only for messages that have been both read and typed correctly. Engagement rates for TYPE-Ins have exceeded 40%, the company reports - compared with rates of 1% or less for typical online display ads.

Toyota, Microsoft, Universal Pictures, AOL, Tribune, and Meredith Publishing are already using the system.  Toyota's ads, for example, will be going live this week with a message that asks Web users to type in the phrase "a million dollars an hour" - the amount Toyota spends on safety. (via the Wall Street Journal).  Solve charges a fee of about 25 cents to 50 cents for each form that is filled out using a Type-In ad, the Journal reports. The company splits its fees 50-50 with the websites where the ads are placed.

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