Eye-Tracking Study: Online Ads Don't Work

Silicon Alley Insider, Friday, August 24, 2007 10:46 AM
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An eye-tracking study from Jakob Nielsen reveals what many marketers have long known: Web users have trained their eyes to move directly towards content, away from ads. As a result, ads need to look more like content, right? Unfortunately you can't really do that on the Web like you can in say, a print magazine. So what are advertisers to do?

Eye-tracking studies don't exist for newspapers or magazines. You can't measure where someone's eye lands. For example, whole sections of a paper are often ignored--sometimes, the paper just sits there. Other times maybe 10 percent of it is read.

There is a lot of talk about the impending death of the print newspaper industry, but what is far more startling is that advertisers still spend $50-plus billion a year on a medium in which only a fraction of the ads are ever seen. At least with Web pages, consumers are (most likely) consuming the content on the page, and even the ads, in some instances.

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