Emma Cullen
Emma Cullen 24 September 2014
Categories Advertising

5 Tips to Beat Banner Blindness

Banner Blindness is every advertisers nightmare. Learn how to beat it today!

Back in 1997 the term ’banner blindness’ exploded in the world of online advertising after the term was coined by Jackon Nielsson in his study about how users read the web. Nearly 20 years on we are still battling with the problem of banner blindness.


There has even been an increasing presence in companies who are offering eye-tracking tools and ’heat-maps’ that allow us to see how users are reading a website, and in turn see if their banner advertisements are being seen.


Advanced technology like this is effective and revolutionary, but it of course takes time and costs money. However, there are some ways to help stop banner banner blindness, yourself today! 


1. Placement 


The placement of banners on a website is the number one way to decrease banner blindness. In an Infolinks study, it was found that up 156% more visitors saw adverts that were at the top of the webpage as opposed to the bottom of the webpage. Eye-tracking maps have confirmed that users are more likely to see banners that sit ’above the fold’ of the webpage. Confirming that the best place to put a banner is towards the top of the page.


2. Think outside the box


Do you know how many people clicked on the first banner ads that appeared on our browsers in the 90s? The CTR back in the mid-90s was about 44% (compared to today’s 0.1%). Why was the CTR so high? Experts reckon it’s because it was something new that internet users had never seen before. Banner ads have been around for 20 years now and people are used to them (part of the reason why users have become blind to them). Therefore it is more important than every to keep your banner advertisements fresh, exciting and new. 


Thinking outside the box and being innovative when it comes to banner ads can help you beat banner blindness. Several examples of innovative banner designs are all over the web. These include using the background of a whole website as a banner, using welcome pages to display advertisements, and adding elements such as video to banner ads to create impact. 


3. Relevance 


Creating ads that are relevant to the content of the website where it is placed is essential in beating banner blindness. According to a study by Infolinks and, only 2.8% thought that ads on website were relevant!


In short, visitors to websites are not going to click on ads that aren’t relevant to them!


You can make sure that your banners are relevant by firstly publishing your banners on websites that are relevant to your banner content: if you’re selling tools to help graphic designers, you should be publishing your banners on sites that are for graphic designers.


Another was to tackle this problem is by using dynamic content that will allow you to target customers based on their location, for example. 


4. Grab Their Attention


We can now understand how important the placement and location of ads is. However, it mustn’t be forgotten that the design of your banner is also very important too. Banner blindness can also be caused by poor design. 


One good way to beat banner blindness through design is to use faces in your banners. Eyetrackshop have used eye tracking tools and heat maps to show that users will naturally look at banners with faces more than ones without. 


5. Flash v HTML5


Finally, you should make sure that visitors aren’t being blind to your banners because they can’t actually see them. This might be the case if visitors are using a mobile devices to access the internet. If a banner advertisement is not made in HTML5 viewers on mobile devices will not be able to view the ad at all. 


It’s clear to see that there is plenty that you can do in order to avoid banner blindness without having to rely on eye tracking software or heat maps. Try out some of these tips - I’d love to know how it goes. Do you have any tips on beating banner blinds? Let me know in the comments. 

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