Say Says 'Clean' Web Pages Better Than Ones Cluttered With Ads, Proves It With IPG Lab Test

In a not so surprising finding, SAY Media this morning released results of research conducted with the IPG Media Lab indicating that “clean Web pages” have a more positive impact on advertiser and site perception when compared with Web pages that are “cluttered” with advertising messages. The finding is consistent with a number of advertising and media research studies conducted for a variety of media in the past.

The study’s authors cited comScore data showing that the average time spent by users on a Web page “is steadily decreasing,” and currently averages 40 seconds per page.

“Clutter is killing digital media,” stated SAY Media President Troy Young, noting: “Publishers keep adding more and more ads, because yield is becoming so low, and ads aren’t in view long enough to really drive results, leading to incredibly cluttered Web pages.”

The study with the IPG Media Lab involved four brands representing different categories, including ACE, Macy’s, Microsoft and Purina. The research utilized a combination of eye-tracking technology to measure where and how long users looked at elements of a Web page, and survey research asking users about their perceptions. The study found that users spent twice as much time with ads on so-called “clean pages,” and that other key metrics, including ad recall, also rose.



Specifically, the eye-tracking data found that 100% of respondents viewed ads on the clean pages, while 76% viewed ads on cluttered pages featuring ads from multiple advertisers. The study also found that only 89% of users looked at ads on pages featuring multiple ads from the same advertiser.

Among those who actually saw the ads, the ones on the clean pages were viewed for an average of 6.4 seconds, while the ones on cluttered pages were viewed for an average of 3.2 seconds.

Among those respondents who said they believed the site was uncluttered, they spent more than 13 seconds looking at the ad -- four times more than time spent in a cluttered environment.

The research also indicated that uncluttered ad pages improve user perception of the site’s publisher and felt more positive about their site experience.

“The amount of attention on a Web page is relatively fixed and clean ads are garnering more attention than those on cluttered pages. Higher attention to ads is the gateway to better brand and engagement performance,” stated Brian Monahan, former managing partner of the IPG Media Lab, and current managing partner of Interpublic’s Magna Global Intelligence unit.



3 comments about "Say Says 'Clean' Web Pages Better Than Ones Cluttered With Ads, Proves It With IPG Lab Test".
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  1. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, June 7, 2012 at 12:08 p.m.

    BS... as a long time media guy (radio, TV and now16 years on the web -, I have heard this argument/observation forever (well at least since 1964).

    As a publisher I would love to offer advertisers "clean" "uncluttered" web pages, but we're in business to try and make a profit and the CPM's advertisers are willing to pay today are so low that unless we aggregate (lots of ads) we can't generate a profit, so unless we hit the lottery or start to spend other people's money the perceived clutter will remain...

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with lots of ad choices on a page IF THE ADS ARE RELEVANT for the viewer.

    Over the past 16 years I have found that advertiser CPM's reflected their (or their agency's) misconception that the web is more like broadcasting rather than the more analogous direct mail.

    If and when advertisers honestly want to advertise on a clean less cluttered site they will then direct their ad agencies to reach out to editorial web publishers and seriously discuss the possibility of exclusive sponsorships instead of spending their digital budgets with pay per click networks (talk about clutter).

    Have a nice day!

  2. David Koder from D Koder Marketing, June 7, 2012 at 11:18 p.m.

    when you visit Ace Hardware do the employees start throwing pitch forks, wheel barrels and grills at you when you walk through the front door or have you gone to Macy's and they started throwing women's clothing at you even though you're a guy? The retailers are actually cutting their own throats on profitability with the ads on their home-pages. Think about it...if I have $400 to spend on a grill and a ad on the homepage shows me a grill that is $150...I just saved myself some money. This goes for all the retailers that put ads all over the homepage. Yes, we all want to be profitable, but your virtual store needs to reflect your masonry store and vise versa. Customers come to your store, they know what they are looking for and if they don't, they ask a worker or they type it into the search bar on your website. The businesses homepage should not be cluttered of ads; is your store front?

  3. Marielle Hanke from Cloud Nine Media, June 8, 2012 at 7:33 a.m.

    Bob, I totally understand your point and having worked for AdSense, I know the dilemma publishers are facing. More ads = more profit. But, no matter how relevant the ads are, if there are too many on the site your loosing your users, hence advertisers interest, hence profit. It's a very thin line, but I personally would always decide in favor of less, more relevant ads and am sure this attitude will lead to more profit in the end.

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