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what is banner blindness or banner poisoning

As online advertising expands, marketers are increasing the ways in which they advertise to potential clients. Today more than ever, consumers are exposed to thousands of ads a day. When online, one cannot help but come across several hundred ads on a typical browsing day. What happens is that people begin to become “blind” to these ads. We have been overexposed to banner ads online and have become disillusioned by the ads that we encounter when browsing. In addition, we also have learned to filter out those ads that seem less credible or pop ups which might accidentally detract us from the site we are trying to reach, so we are essentially “poisoned” by these types of ads because they teach us to become mistrustful of the ads that do catch their attention.

Think about it. You’re looking to buy a pair of shoes on one of your favorite shopping sites. You are distracted by a flashing interactive ad that has a cartoon monkey waving a banana at you that invites you to invest in his company. Would you leave your site and change your browsing agenda, in order to look at this site? More importantly, would you trust the credibility of this site based on this image? Probably not.

Despite all of these fancy flash based video ads, only 11% of consumers say they are likely to click on them. Consumers are also less likely to trust an ad that has an image attached to it. Just because a marketer can get someone’s attention does not mean that they can gain a user’s trust. What is interesting is that 25% of users are more likely to click on simple texts ads and trust in
what they are promoting. If browsers are increasingly distrustful of these types of ads and are ignoring interactive ads, marketers might want to try to simplify their ads in order to reach their audience more effectively.
banner blindness banner poisoning


Heatmaps from eyetracking studies: The areas where users looked the most are colored red; the yellow areas indicate fewer views, followed by the least-viewed blue areas. Gray areas didn’t attract any fixations. Green boxes were drawn on top of the images after the study to highlight the advertisements.


The more effective your ad is, the more likely your company will be successful in their marketing campaign. Check out these tips on how to make your banner ad more effective.