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.