Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ad Blindness


For those who don't follow these subjects, "ad blindness" refers to your ability to "tune out" advertising. This has been a subject of considerable study for websites, and a recent eyetracking study shows that people are becoming extremely good at tuning out ads.

Speaking for myself, since Google changed the ads it serves above the listings from being presented with a pink or blue background to a pale yellow background, such that they better match the search results, I sometimes overlook the top result on a search that returns no ads.

Here's an example of the ad layout:

The first listing on this page is sufficiently similar to an ad that I bypassed it in favor of the (out-of-date) second:

It will be interesting to see if this trend will lead to more hideous popups and popunders (ads in new browser windows), interstitials (ads you must wait through or click past to get to the content), ads disguised as editorial content, obnoxious in-your-face ads, or something clever and innovative. (I'm not betting on innovation.)

1 comment:

  1. I sometimes use my wife's notebook computer, and noticed today that at certain screen angles the background color behind the top block of ads disappears, and the sponsored links can look exactly like that Georgia Code link. That helps explain why I am "ad blind" to the listing even though the background color does not appear.

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