What Is Banner Blindness? How to Make Sure Your Ads Get Seen

As websites become cluttered with ads, it gets harder for users to find helpful information, and they may quickly lose interest and become banner blind.

But what is banner blindness, you ask?

Learn everything you need to know about banner blindness, how it impacts web visitors, and what you can do about it.

Key Takeaways

  • Banner blindness refers to when visitors to web pages consciously or subconsciously ignore banner ads.
  • When this issue occurs, it affects website owners’ ability to communicate effectively with their audience and convert them, as well as wastes advertising dollars.
  • Several factors contribute to this issue, including the location of banners on web pages, the design of banners, and the frequency with which they are used.
  • Various strategies businesses can use to overcome banner blindness and increase visibility for their products or services include using captivating visuals in banner ads or conducting A/B testing.
  • Designing around banner blindness has numerous benefits associated with it, such as increased visibility for content across all platforms and improved user engagement rates.
what is banner blindness

What Does Banner Blindness Mean?

The term banner blindness refers to when visitors to web pages consciously or subconsciously ignore banner ads. This occurs due to the presence of traditional, repetitive banner ad formats.

Due to the onslaught of ads and content online, internet users have become more adept at filtering out any online feed content they don’t consider relevant. The result is that many people fail to see or click on important elements like advertisements and forms because they’re not consciously aware of them.

Banner blindness is a relatively common issue for businesses that use online advertising to generate banner ad revenue. Not only do some people fail to notice or click on welcome page ads, but banner blindness can also have a negative emotional impact on users by reducing their overall satisfaction with the website experience.

This, in turn, can result in reduced engagement and fewer conversions. Understanding how to minimize banner blindness is crucial for optimizing web design and improving the overall accessibility of a site.

Banner Ads Can Cause People to Overlook Important Content

Jan Panero Benway and David M. Lane initially coined the concept of banner blindness in their 1998 research paper, “Banner Blindness: Web Searchers Often Miss Obvious Links.”

This study demonstrated that website users tend to overlook crucial visual cues on web pages due to over-familiarity with advertisements. They found that people were more likely to remember information when banners weren’t present and that the presence of banners caused some people to overlook important content.

How Does Banner Blindness Affect Online Advertising?

Banner blindness is especially problematic for new businesses trying to establish an online presence or raise brand awareness. It can be difficult for them to get attention if people automatically skip over banner ads.

Also, the effectiveness of most banner ads altogether has declined significantly in recent years due to the growth of ad blockers. Ad blockers prevent ads from loading on web pages and make it difficult for companies to reach their target audience. 

This means that companies that rely heavily on online interactive advertising could be wasting their money if they rely solely on traditional banner ad campaigns.

To combat ad blindness, marketers should focus on creating more engaging and interactive digital advertising campaigns. You should be placing ads to stand out from the rest of the page content and capture the user’s attention.

Interactive elements like short video ads, popup ads, or even graphic ads can also help draw users in and make them more likely to click on video ads or creative ads.

5 Factors That Contribute to Banner Blindness

Banner blindness affects website owners’ ability to communicate effectively with their audience due to the lack of visibility of banners, native ads, and other message-bearing elements.

The following factors contribute to banner blindness:

1. Location of Banners

One factor contributing to banner blindness is the location of banner advertising on web pages.

If a banner is located in an area a user likely won’t notice, such as towards the bottom or side of a page, it has little chance of being seen. Designers should avoid banner ads in these spots in favor of more noticeable locations.

Place your ads at the top of the page or center of the page, where they are more likely to be noticed.

2. Design of Banners

Another factor that can contribute to increased ad blindness is poorly designed ads.

If a banner looks too much like an ad or is difficult to read because of its font size and color scheme, then a user is more likely to ignore it.

Designers should test a different ad style or two to create visually appealing and easily readable banners. Additionally, using eye-catching graphics or animations can draw attention to a banner and help fight banner blindness.

3. Frequency of Banners

Overusing banners is another factor that contributes to increased banner blindness among users. If a web page displays too many ads in rapid succession, it can lead to viewer fatigue and cause users to ignore them altogether.

On that account, marketers should be mindful of the frequency with which they use banners on their websites, as this will impact how often viewers actually notice them.

4. Size of Banner Ads

The size of banners also determines whether or not users will notice them. If a banner is too small, the web visitor may not see it.

With that in mind, designers should use larger banners that are more easily visible to viewers and ensure they are placed in high-visibility areas.

5. Content of Banners

The content of a banner can also influence its visibility. If a banner doesn’t give viewers clear information, users may ignore it or fail to understand its message.

Marketers should ensure their banners are concise but informative enough that website visitors have no trouble understanding them.

Additionally, using well-known brand logos or images can help draw attention to banners and fight banner blindness.

Banner Blindness Contributing Factors

7 Strategies for Overcoming Banner Blindness

Banner blindness can be a real problem for businesses, as it means they’re not getting the visibility they need to reach potential customers.

Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to help overcome banner blindness, including:

1. Use Captivating Visuals

The first way to combat banner blindness is by using captivating visuals in your banner ads. By creating eye-catching visuals, you’ll draw attention from viewers and make them more likely to click through or take some kind of action with your ad.

It’s important to keep in mind that visuals should be relevant and interesting to your target audience. Otherwise, people will just ignore them. Also, consider using videos or animations in addition to static imagery, as these can often be more effective at captivating viewers.

Ultimately, the goal is to create something that stands out and grabs people’s attention.

2. Use Text

Another way to avoid banner blindness is by using text ads. By including short phrases or headlines in your native ads, you can draw attention and make viewers more likely to interact with your ad.

Keep the text brief, interesting, and focused on the message you are trying to convey. Also, try to include call-to-action (CTA) phrases in your text ads that encourage the user to take action.

This will help ensure that viewers engage with your ad and not just gloss over it. You should also make sure to test different phrases and headlines to determine what works best for you.

3. Enhance Ads With Animation

Using animation in your native ads can help draw attention from viewers and make them more likely to interact with the ad.

You can use animations for various purposes, such as introducing a new product, highlighting a feature, or simply drawing attention to the ad. Remember that animations should be used judiciously and kept brief. Otherwise, they can become annoying to viewers.

When done correctly, animation can be an effective way to communicate your message and make a positive impact on viewers.

It’s also a great way to stand out from competitors who may not use animation in their interactive ads. Animated banner ads are memorable and engaging, so take advantage of this powerful tool!

4. Try Different Placements

The placement of your banner ads can have a significant impact on how successful they are. By experimenting with different placements for your banner advertisements, you may find that one location is more effective than another in terms of getting visibility from your target audience.

For example, you may find that placing an ad in the middle of your content works better than putting it at the top or bottom of a page. You may also want to test different ad sizes or creative types to see what works best for your campaign.

When you’re experimenting with placements, make sure that you track the performance of each ad placement so that you can identify which ones are most effective for your business.

This will help you get the most out of your ad budget and maximize the return on investment (ROI).

5. Monitor Results

It’s important to monitor your results and adjust as needed. This means tracking your performance metrics, such as clicks, conversions, and engagement. This can help you determine which tactics work best for your business and make changes to improve your ads’ performance over time.

Additionally, analyze your competitor’s performance to stay ahead of the competition. With this knowledge, you can optimize your campaign and maximize ROI.

6. Conduct A/B Testing

Another strategy to avoid banner blindness is A/B testing. Through A/B testing, you can create two versions of your ad units and compare how well they perform against each other, both for mobile apps and laptop website design.

This way, you can test elements such as visuals, copy, placement, and more to determine which works best with your audience. A/B testing can also help you narrow down which creative elements are the most effective and lead to better results.

Additionally, A/B testing can provide more insight into how users interact with your ad unit so you can optimize for better performance in the future. With this data-driven approach, you’ll be able to create highly effective banner ads that will stand out from the crowd.

7. Focus on Usability Testing

Usability testing is another important tool to combat banner blindness. Website usability tests involve getting actual users to interact with and provide feedback on your ad design.

This allows you to understand what elements will be most effective for a larger audience and make necessary adjustments accordingly.

Additionally, usability testing can help you identify potential ad design issues that could lead to banner blindness. By getting direct feedback from real people, you’ll be able to refine your design and make sure it stands out in the crowd.

The Benefits of Designing Around Banner Blindness

There are numerous benefits associated with designing around banner blindness. 

Better Visibility

One of the most prominent advantages is increased visibility across all platforms.

If your web page or other digital content isn’t designed with banner blindness in mind, it can easily get lost among other similar offerings from competitors.

Grabs Attention

By designing with banner blindness in mind, you can ensure that your content stands out from the crowd and gets noticed by potential customers. Change up your strategy regularly to ensure your banner advertisements stay visible to web visitors.

More Engagement

Another advantage of designing around banner blindness is improved user engagement. Suppose users are encouraged to engage with your content because it’s not presented as a typical advertisement or navigation menu. In that case, they’re more likely to take an interest in what you have to offer.

This will increase customer engagement and satisfaction rates, helping you secure more sales and improve your overall success rate.

Better User Experience 

In addition, designing around banner blindness also helps create a more positive user interaction experience. When most users don’t feel overwhelmed or bombarded with advertisements, they can focus solely on the content that really matters – yours!

This will lead to a better overall experience for them and, in turn, a greater likelihood that they’ll return to your website or digital content.

Banner Blindness Design Benefits

Design for Banner Blindness

Understanding what banner blindness is and how it occurs is just the first step. Now you need to implement some fixes to help ensure your ads get seen and your customers keep converting. 

With your native advertising strategy, it’s important to design with banner blindness in mind by using captivating visuals, text-based banner ads, animation, and strategic ad placements that capture users’ attention.

By taking these measures, businesses can focus on reducing banner blindness and reap the benefits of increased visibility, user engagement, and positive user experience.