What is Banner Blindness?

S. Gonzales

Banner blindness is an Internet phenomenon characterized by website visitors ignoring website banners. Some web analysts theorize that banner blindness is a result of website visitors purposely or subconsciously deciding that the information presented in advertisement banners is inconsequential. As such, website visitors assume that important content is delivered only through text. Given the prevalence of the phenomenon, website advertisers are always looking for ways to increase the chances that their advertisement banners will be read, their brands will be recognized and their links will be clicked.

Web users users value text and hyperlinks more than graphics and flashy images.
Web users users value text and hyperlinks more than graphics and flashy images.

It's been noted in studies that website visitors tend to view websites in an F-pattern, scanning the top, bottom and then center of a website for pertinent information. Banner blindness is especially likely to occur when advertisements are brightly colored or when they flash, because these advertisements can impair visitors' F-pattern eye movements. Website visitors interpret this type of advertisement as a distraction and simply train their eyes on text instead.

Banner blindness is important to web advertisers because it gives insight into website visitors' viewing habits. Web marketers have to take banner blindness into account when formulating advertising campaigns for their products, or they might lose potential prospects. If a web marketer understands that users value text and hyperlinks more than graphics and flashy images, he or she can begin to formulate a campaign that will be better received on the Internet.

Despite visitors' reluctance to view banners, web advertisers can employ a few tricks to draw prospects' attention. When creating a banner, text should be made prominent and easy to read against a background of contrasting color. Advertisers can increase the likelihood that their banners will be read by making sure that banners display content that is relevant to the website. Banners shouldn't look like banners if they want to be noticed; website visitors have been known to ignore content because it is displayed in a way that is characteristic of a banner's design. Website owners also can try to place the banner in an atypical place, because website visitors ignore areas where banners are commonly displayed.

If website owners are having trouble getting their advertisements read and clicked on, they might consider hiring an Internet marketing firm to help. An Internet marketing firm can experiment with banner design and placement and determine the best areas to place advertisements on a website. Taking advantage of these types of services can increase advertisement revenue and make a website more profitable.

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