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BizReport : Advertising : March 11, 2015


Neuroscience taps subconscious to prove native ads better than banner ads

A year-long neuro-scientific study by Nielsen, commissioned by native advertising automation firm Sharethrough, provides scientific proof that native advertising on mobile websites receives twice as much visual focus than banner ads.

by Helen Leggatt

Using neuroscience to tap into the brain's subconscious, as opposed to survey-based measurements that involves a person's conscious reactions, Nielsen was able to quantify where mobile users' focus was being directed to compare native advertising and banner ads on mobile.

The results were highly in favor of native advertising's effectiveness over banner ads and adds fuel to the 'banner blindness' findings of previous eye-tracking studies.

Specifically, native ads were found to receive twice as much visual focus as banners. Banner ads were "processed in the peripheral field of vision as is common for images", a process that can hinder reading taglines as very little to no focus is on text.

However, the focus on native ads was on the text rather than the thumbnail, indicating native ads are being read. This means that native ad headlines can be optimized to "trigger associations". For example, "words from an associative network similar to words included in the headline can result in a higher message resonance lift and can subconsciously influence brand perception".

"As the industry moves toward 100 percent viewability and mobile advertising continues to skyrocket, it's important we understand what consumers actually 'see' when advertising appears on mobile sites," said Dan Greenberg, Sharethrough CEO. "What better way to understand what goes on in the consumer's mind than neuroscience? The study proves that not only are consumers seeing native ads, they're paying much more visual attention to them and in fact, reading their content. The findings also provide meaningful guidance on the art of constructing native ads, providing the industry with science-backed guidelines for how to best organize, display and write text for native ads."






Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, banner ads, mobile, native advertising, research








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  • Dane Smolinski

    I think this says a lot, an awful lot about the quality of banners, not the idea of banners. Better banners work better. We've seen that with Abstract Banners from Airpush and there are other examples too (not many, but some). I take this example to mean that banners shouldn't be dumped, they should be improved. I still believe its the best ad format for mobile, even though video and other formats are popular and statistically engage better. Long term, there's still big potential for banners as long as they are done right.





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