Study: Time Spent With Display Ads Boosts Searches

Eyeblaster ad

Consumers who "dwell," or linger on ads, are more likely to convert from lookers into buyers. They not only increase the time spent with the creative piece, but conduct more brand-related searches on engines and continually return to the company's Web site, according to a recent study.

Research from Eyeblaster, Microsoft Advertising and comScore provide evidence for the effectiveness of dwelling on an ad as an engagement metric. Additional analysis by Eyeblaster suggests an impact beyond branding. Ads with a high dwell rate are more likely to have a higher conversion rate too, compared with ads with a low dwell rate. Campaigns with ads that produce a low dwell rate increased site traffic by 10%, compared with those with a high dwell rate at 17%.

Dwell is divided into two metrics: dwell rate and average dwell time. Dwell rate measures the proportion of impressions that were intentionally engaged with by touch, interaction or click. Average dwell time measures the duration of a dwell in seconds for consumers who engage with ads. In both cases, any unintentional time lasting less than one second is excluded.



Samples came from about 800 rich media campaigns that were served by Eyeblaster exclusively on Microsoft Advertising sites between January 2009 and June 2009. The campaigns were ranked by total dwell scores. To ensure a distinct difference between high and low dwell, the study analyzed campaigns that fell in the top and bottom 10% of the scale.

The results of the study indicate consumers who were exposed to campaigns that typically get people to linger longer are more likely to search for brand-related keywords as compared to users who were exposed to campaigns with a low dwell times. The research found that consumers who were exposed to campaigns with low dwell times increased brand related keyword searches by 12%, while consumers exposed to campaigns with high dwell times increased brand-related keyword search by 39%. This suggests that campaigns with high dwell times are three times more effective at driving search than campaigns with low dwell times.

While research by Eyeblaster, Microsoft Advertising and comScore shows the advertising effect of Dwell, Eyeblaster Research has found evidence that Dwell works beyond branding. In fact, there is a link between a higher Dwell Rate and a higher Conversion Rate, according to the company.

Eyeblaster Research analyzed the results of more than 13,000 ads and 13 billion rich media impressions served between Q1 2009 and Q4 2009. Ads were divided into buckets according to their Dwell Rate, and for each bucket calculated the average conversion rate.

The findings suggest that interactive ads that attract users to touch and play with them generate interest, and ultimately a higher conversion rate. On average, a higher dwell rate yields a higher conversion rate. But the conversion rate is only one measurement to validate dwell. Since the aim is not to generate conversions, but measure branding effectiveness.

Marketers striving to increase the time consumers spend on a display ad should place the creative pieces around editorial content that require thorough reading, the research suggests. Place ads where people spend time on the Web page. The longer consumers spend on the publisher's Web site and with the content, the higher their dwell rate becomes.

Consider instant messaging. Consumers tend to spend about eight minutes with the ads presented. During some of that time, however, the messenger window is covered by the browser or other programs, but when consumers are actively chatting, they are exposed to the ads for a longer duration.

Marketers can combine video in the ad, and make the ads more assertive and visible. Video ads perform better than ads without video. On average, adding video to ads increases the dwell rate by 29%, compared with banners without video. Video also nearly doubles the dwell time, compared to ads without video. These results are similar across ad formats, verticals and ad sizes.


2 comments about "Study: Time Spent With Display Ads Boosts Searches".
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  1. Anthony Giallourakis from, LLC, May 8, 2010 at 4:11 a.m.

    This article and the data that it presents demonstrate why advergames are the future of brand and content advertising and marketing. Humans need to interact; it is part of who we are. Using interactive gaming as a way to draw attention and then capture ones imagination lengthens both exposure to and familiarity with a targeted audience.

    The better the relationship between the advergame and impression it makes on a player, the better the results for the sponsor. Sometimes the game play has to do most of the heavy lifting, while the relevance of the game to the brand is almost meaningless. In other instances, the quality of the game play experience is less important yielding to the brand wrapper it is created for.
    In-game advertising is a net sum zero game, and ad-per-play models face the problem of disassociation between the message and the method. Advergames on the other hand are both scalable. They are also sufficiently relevant to the sponsors’ objective to more than justify the investment. Almost any advergame developer’s web site has the date and statistics to support this articles conclusion.

    If "Time spent with display ads boosts searches" the real question agencies and advertisers should be asking is; "Is the relationship between time spent and search frequency liner or geometric?"
    If it turns out that the evidence supports the latter conclusion, then the upside for the advergames marketplace is also geometric from this point into the future. I suspect that this is the case.

    The real opportunities for advergames isn't so much with which delivery platforms are used or what types of game play are selected, it is in how it filters down to local commerce. When higher quality advergames start to be offered by hand to individuals like samples of teriyaki chicken on a tasting plate in a mall food court, these advergame driven destination and location based interactive relationships with customers and clients are going to become a new dominate force in the digital economic ecosystem.

    This process of the inclusion of localization into the advergames opportunity is only limited by the ability of the developer community to scale up to handle the demand in an economically rewarding way for all.
    Our young tech savvy work force will seize this opportunity. Their desire to create interactive gaming content, their ability to do so with a high level of quality, and their propensity to work for lower mass market wages all set the stage for a generational shift from top down dominance in today's advergames industry to one of horizontal construct.

    Just as Sinon convinced the Trojans to bring in the horse left behind by the Greeks, so too will the interactive advergames of the future deliver branding with engagements times and impact that are game changing for everyone. Sinon was just a foot soldier but he was also the key player in the fall of Troy.

  2. Eric Porres from MeetingScience, July 6, 2010 at 3:34 p.m.

    This is a good start, but the focus of results on conversion rates and searches as a proxy for brand effectiveness is misleading. By comparison, Lotame released a whitepaper that shows the cross-correlation of brand metrics as they relate to CTR, interaction rate, and InView Time Spent (our flavor of Dwell Time). Dwell Time is most highly correlated with Ad Recall, followed by viewership intent (for movies and TV shows), and only slightly correlated with awareness and purchase intent. For a full copy of the free whitepaper, please visit:

    Eric L. Porres
    Chief Marketing Officer
    Lotame Solutions, Inc.

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