Why Are Users Banner-Blind?

Journal of Digital information article on banner ad recognition.

It has been observed that contradictory results have been found regarding the perception of banner advertisements on the Internet. While some studies found that recall and recognition scores for banners were at a satisfactory level, others observed that banners are almost generally overlooked. In this study, it is argued that the opposing results might be explained by differences in navigation style (aimless browsing versus goal directed searching).

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It seems that people who are browsing aimlessly are more susceptible to perceiving a Web banner, because the banners' color contrast or animation trigger an orientation reaction that is followed by a bottom-up process of information processing. Subjects who search for information, on the other hand, seem to apply cognitive schemata that suppress a deeper processing of Web banners.

thanks WebWord