This study provides important data for my research. While adding another dimension to the creation of an effective banner advertisement- credibility- it is able to focus on multiple sources from which credibility can arise. Therefore, advertisers must be wary of not only how they present their advertisement, but also where the advertisement is seen and how it fits into the bigger picture of what a consumer is already searching for. Conveying credibility is imperative, and that can stretch anywhere from having accurate data to placing the advertisement in the right context. As consumers become increasingly accustomed to a world tailored to their every second wants and needs, it is imperative to capture their attention, and this research provides yet another means of doing that. Click-through rates are deemed an inaccurate measure of credibility, forcing advertisers to search for other methods to measure their success.
Some important implications to take away from these experiments have to do with the locale of banner advertisements- specific sites they are located on and pertain to. Regarding my thesis, the authors stress the idea that sometime incongruency is needed to attract consumers’ initial attention, although the incongruency operates on a fine line. The environment in which these advertisements are placed are extremely relevant to its success. Another avenue, which I had not really considered to explore before reading this study is the effect that the banner advertisement can have on the host site. Can there be a symbiotic relationship that exists between the two? And in that case, can that maybe be a revenue source that the banner advertisement company can take advantage of? In these results, there is a hint that banner advertisement color may play a role and the authors suggest that further research should take place in this area. Specifically, I think that eye tracking devices would be useful to see how different color schemes are attended to and viewed.
In this article, the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) tool is introduced and is used to measure the efficiency of banner advertisements. On a technical level, DEA converts “multiple inputs and outputs into a single measure of performance, which is generally referred to as relative efficiency.” An input variable is advertisement related, such as incentives, emotional appeal, and specific graphic elements. The three output variables observed are click-through-rate (CTR), attitude towards the ad, and recall. The DEA produces “an efficiency frontier that represents the optimal levels of output for given levels of input.” The author stresses that DEA can be a “useful tool for pre-testing advertisements” as well as comparing individual advertisements. The authors found an inefficient advertisement in one banner that had “3 colors and a message length of 6 words. It had no interactivity, animation, incentive, or emotions.” Using the DEA tool, the advertisement could achieve efficiency with “ higher CTR scores, higher attitude scores, and higher recall scores.” Therefore, the advertiser could take this output information and manipulate the banner design as well as reconfigure the placement of the ad to improve these specific aspects. Inputs also have the ability to direct advertisers to evoke more of an emotional appeal or improve the graphics in hopes of elevating efficiency.
Primarily, this study is able to show that banner advertisements are important. They are important enough to catch the attention of an analysis tool, and have someone adapt it to internet advertisements in hopes of increasing their efficiency. While specific characteristics do not seem to be involved (e.g. Change the color of the banner from brown to blue), the tool’s ability to focus on a certain element of an advertisement is unmatched. In addition, the banner advertisements examined in this study lay the groundwork for identifying characteristics of effective and ineffective advertisements. One of the appeals of this tool is that it provides actual numerical information and data. Instead of creating banner advertisements from scratch with seemingly sophisticated graphics, advertisers are able to justify their decisions with a proven efficiency tool.
These experiments support the idea that people intentionally avoid looking in locations where they expect banners and imply that banners degrade visual search and are quickly forgotten. This seemingly contradicts my thesis because if people do not see the banner advertisements, how can they be made effective. However, this information provides insight on how to improve their effectiveness: don’t “habituate viewers to predictable banner locations.” Additionally, the primary task of the web user strongly interacts with the attention getting capacity of the banners. Therefore it is important to make the content of the ad relevant. These findings are a cry for help from the world of personalization and targeting. It goes without saying that if a person is looking up cheap flight deals, and a banner pops up with a cheap flight to their destination, they are more likely to click on that ad than say, an ad about gardening. Although targeting delves into a whole other sector of effective banner advertising, the underlying theme is that the banners should contain content relevant to the web user. This supports the part of my research regarding content, and how it should playing a much larger role than say graphics and design on an advertisement.
While it would not be accurate to generalize this data to all banner advertisements, the authors do say, “these results also suggest that the effectiveness of banner ad campaigns for online gaming (as measured by CTR) is governed by the same principles of artistic execution as those found in other, non-gambling-related sectors of the internet.” The inability of click-through rates to assess other effects such as emotion (which an ad evokes) or memory (of a particular brand on an ad) seems to be magnified in this study, for it is heavily based around the already faulty click through rates. Specifically, the finding that the brand logo is an ineffective characteristic in attracting a direct response seemed troubling at first because brands and logos play a major role in eliciting credibility. However, credibility can still be present, even if it is not evidenced by a click through (possibly a limitation of this study)
When you think of an advertisement that might draw your attention, one would think of something colorful, shiny, and maybe incorporating some sort of movement. While this might be valuable for attracting initial attention, this study shows that the actual content of an advertisement / what is said is what leads to people remembering and possibly, in turn, affecting purchasing behavior. Additionally, frequency of a message is shown to affect unaided advertisement recall, brand recognition and awareness. While the statistics might show that people are avoiding or intentionally ignoring these banner advertisements, there are effective ways to reduce this occurrence. Therefore, advertisers and marketers should rethink their strategies of attracting people by focusing on a less obnoxious advertisement; maybe one that is not blinking and one that a consumer has seen over and over and gotten used to and stored some sort of image in their head about a brand.
This study is helpful because not only does it show that banner advertising can be effective but it suggests practical ways to accomplish this. The effectiveness of banner advertising has many elements, from developing a successful advertisement to accurately measuring the effects, which fits right in with my thesis. The setup of this study was able to highlight the weaknesses of click through and suggest alternatives. A limitation within this study is that only a technology product was used, making it hard to convince, say, clothing companies, that a curiosity based advertisement would be effective. However, being able to evoke an emotion out of the consumer makes the method more relevant to and adaptable across other products.
While banner advertisements can play a positive role in the world of advertising and marketing, as evidenced by this article, it is important not to generalize this to all banner advertisements. Part of my focus is to provide examples of how banner advertisements can, in fact, be effective. The data from this article certainly suggests that if the creation and promotion of banner advertisements are executed correctly, they can be a useful tool to marketers, providing a crucial starting point for further research of my project. Additionally, the use of click-through as a measure of advertising effectiveness is poor (to say the least), and I will continue to look for suggestions (in my other sources) to see how to more accurately measure effectiveness.
Clemons, Eric. "Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet." [Weblog Entry.] TechCrunch. 22 Mar 2009. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/22/why-advertising-is-failing-on-the-internet/). 8 Apr 2009.
Professor Clemons holds a strong viewpoint: “the expected drop in internet advertising revenues this year was neither unpredictable nor unpredicted, nor was it caused solely by the general recession and the decline in retail sales.” He places a lot of the blame of the advertising decline on the mere fact that consumers know how to get what they want. The three main reasons he provides for advertising’s imminent failure are: “1. Consumers do not trust advertising, 2. Consumers do not want to view advertising, 3. Consumers do not need advertising.” He proceeds to unravel these statements, arguing that “messages are observed by potential customers who are performing other activities.” Presently, there are only a “few examples of website symbiosis, where community content on one site adds considerable value for another.”
The argument made by Professor Clemons further complicates my argument. He basically says outright that advertising on the internet is destined for failure. Throughout his blog, he constantly refers to the messages as the problem and how they are “not trusted, not wanted, and not needed.” This does provide a little window of hope for my argument; if banner advertisements could be trusted, then maybe they might have an impact on internet behavior. One way of doing this might be to restrict the vast amounts that are allowed on a particular page. Yes, frequency of a particular advertisement is helpful, but if people are bombarded with various advertisements, they will tend to tune them all out, even the ones that might in fact appeal to them. In addition to decreasing the number of banner advertisements, I think it would be extremely effective to have certain banner advertisements for certain sites. Therefore, you bypass the step of intriguing the consumer, for they are already on that particular website because they have an interest in its content. Therefore, it is up to the content of the banner advertisement to further intrigue the consumer.
This research builds upen previous studies of behavioral and cognitive ad avoidance by adding affective ad avoidance. An example of a measurement of affective avoidance would be an survey item saying, “I hate banner ads” (Appendix); i.e. a consumer’s emotional reaction. Delving into the world of consumers’ train of thought is able to provide a richer insight to my topic. One of the interesting things in this study is that while the results all point to how and why advertisements on the internet are ineffective, Cho and Cheon be sure to discuss how advertisers can use this data to their advantage, effectively remodeling their advertisements. For example, to reduce perceived goal impediment which was found to be the most significant factor affecting avoidance, internet advertisers might “utilize text-links displayed with keyword search results.”