In a recent neuro-scientific study by Neuro Spark, using Galvanic Skin Response, Electroencephalography, Eye Tracking and Micro-Facial Expression Encoding, the results showed that banner advertising on web sites are not particularly effective.
When you are reading an article that interests you, and slowly scrolling down the page, your focus is on the article. A colourful ad with a strong image may get a split second of visual attention, but not so much cognitive attention. If the banner ad is made to look like an article, it gets double the attention (0.8 seconds instead of 0.4 seconds). When you’re in an information gathering mindframe on a particular subject, your brain is ignoring anything other than more information. Think about the last time you read a really interesting article on a web page, did you really take in the other stuff around it?
In one study with participants looking at an online store having been given some money to shop with, a banner ad to promote a particular product only had a 4% increase in Brand Lift above the products on the page not highlighted with a banner ad. A product video, however, gained 27% Brand Lift. The same study showed double the Purchase Intent when using a brand video over digital ads.
This recent research is great news, as it backs up what I’ve been preaching for a while now to clients and anyone that listens. When people are online, particularly on a social media platform, they are not necessarily in the buying frame of mind, but they are looking to be entertained, inspired and educated. The old school approach of hard sell advertising is dying everywhere, and certainly has less relevance in a digital environment. Further to that, more and more people are installing ad blockers, so many banner ads on sites are not even visible. And then there’s the fact that more and more people are consuming content on a mobile device.
“People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to!”