At Miratech, we conducted the very first statistical study on ad visibility.
Web advertising attracts attention, and static ads are twice as effective as animated ads.
We used eye tracking technology to study the behavior of a representative sample of French users.
Participants were asked to navigate freely on sites such as lemonde.fr, jeuxvideo.com, allocine.fr and lequipe.fr, which are rich in content and advertising. A total of 1,746 ads were studied on 411 visited pages.
We tracked the dwell time and the number of gazes for each ad, as well as the time spent on each page during navigation.
The results were surprising!
We found that users spent 6.58% of their time looking at ads, which was much more than we expected.
In other words, for every 10 minutes of navigation, a user spends an average of 40 seconds on ads!
This is even more surprising when you consider the commonly held belief that web advertising on the internet doesn’t work well. Our study proves that even when the ads aren’t clicked on, they still register!
Content influences effectiveness
Content type has a strong influence on how well an ad performs: the simpler the ad is, the more it is looked at.
For example, plain text ads (typical Google ads) are viewed twice as much as ads that contain an image:
Average viewing time for plain text ads compared with ads that contain an image
Example from the l’Equipe website:
We also found that, static ads are twice as effective as animated ads:
This result illustrates a paradox: the more an advertiser tries to increase the visibility of an ad, the more the user ignores it!
Here is a classic example from the lemonde.fr website:
The plain text ad works much better than the animated one!
Different formats have different degrees of effectiveness
For the purposes of the study, we grouped the different types of ads into three very general categories:
- Wallpaper ads (replaces the background of a website or page)
- Horizontal banner ads (rectangular blocks that generally take up a significant part of the page)
- Square ad boxes (a broad category that includes all square format ads)
The best-performing advertising format is the wallpaper ad. Horizontal banner ads come second, followed by square ad boxes:
Example from allocine.fr:
Position influences effectiveness
The effectiveness of an ad varies according to its position on the page. Unsurprisingly, the higher the ad is placed on the page, the more it is looked at.
Time spent looking at square ad boxes, in relation to their position on the page.
Interesting finding: there is no significant difference in effectiveness between an ad positioned on the right of a page and one placed on the left.
Miratech conducted the first statistical study on ad visibility.
The study revealed the following major points:
- Web users spend 6.58% of their time looking at ads. This is a considerable amount of time.
- Simple ads perform better than flashy ads: plain text ads are more effective than image-based ads, and static ads are more effective than animated ads.
- Wallpaper ads are the most effective format.
- Ads placed high on the page attract more attention than ads lower down on the page. Positioning to the right or left doesn’t influence viewing.
Our next study will examine how content such as text, images, animation and graphics influences ad effectiveness. You’ll finally have all the information you need to make your web ads profitable.