Stay Ahead of 'Eye-Tracking Blindness'

Is poorly planned ad-placement causing end-user eyeballs to pass right by your on-page advertising?

If the results of recent study titled, Beating Banner Blindness: What the Online Advertising Industry Can D0 to Make Display Matter Again, is any indication, ad-placement is a very big deal.
The study, which was conducted late last year, used eye-tracking software connected to webcams to heat track where end-user eyes fell when viewing on-page advertising.
Its main finding, that most people tend to ignore banner advertising, won’t come as a surprise to most affiliates. While deciphering what doesn’t work is relatively easy, EyeTrackShop’s big achievement is narrowing in what does actually work.
Here are a few of their finding that can help fight the fatigue of eye-tracking blindness.
Go Native
One of the biggest takeaways from the study is that while traditional banner ads tend to be overlooked native advertising actually does pretty well.
This isn’t too surprising, given the fact that most people go to websites for content, not banner advertising. What is surprising is that end-users spend a whopping 4000% more time on content areas than on banner ad areas.
The lesson here is that, “right hand read,” may be a pretty good advertising position in a print publication, but that’s not how it works online. Shifting resources from banner to native advertising can really make a big difference.
Above the Fold
One value that print advertising and online advertising share is that above-the-fold advertising is prime real estate. The study found that ads on the upper half of webpage get viewed by 156% more people than ads on the bottom half of the page.
This is, as old SEO hands will tell you, a real trap. Google regularly doles out online spankings to websites that top load advertising above-the-fold.  In short, this is a powerful tool that requires a light touch.
Go Crazy
We’ve all got an idea of what a web page should look like and that’s why placing advertising in non-traditional positions can seriously increase its visibility by as much as 50%.
This is another technique that you might want to use in small doses. Most web users have a limited tolerance for extreme design, so don’t go too crazy with out-of-the-box ad placement.
End-users are on your page for a reason (hopefully) and that’s why relevance is another major factor in preventing eye-tracking blindness and keeping your advertising – well- relevant.
The study’s authors say that even little-known brands can out-compete big-time players if their ads are placed on relevant content.
You’ve probably noticed that the results of the eye-tracking study fall in lock-step with the guidelines Google’s been pushing for quite some time (relevance, top-heavy, etc…). That’s definitely not a coincidence.
For a more thorough examination of the study, complete with some pretty sweet infographics, check out this posting on