An eye-tracking study by Lumen asked 300 panellists to browse a range of newsbrand and non-newsbrand sites and found that only 20% of ‘viewable’ digital ads were actually seen by the participants.
Newsbrands, however, far outperformed other sites on this metric: 24% of viewable ads were actually viewed on these compared to just 13% on other sites.
Not only that, but ads on newsbrands sites were noticed in roughly half the time required by other sites, while dwell time was almost twice as long.
The study put forward reasons as to why this was so, including the fact that newsbrands’ sites tend to be less cluttered – an approach of “fewer, better ads” concentrates attention on the advertising present.
Newsbrands also favour more central and “in-feed” units that fit into readers’ natural gaze patterns, so avoiding the “banner blindness” that typically afflicts ads to the side of content.
Further, context can dramatically increase the attention given to accompanying advertising. When ads for Beats and Samsung were next to the same content on the Culture and Technology pages of a major newsbrand, the Beats ads got far more aggregate attention on the Culture page, while Samsung more aggregate attention on the Technology page.
“This work shows that the attention we know newsbrands command in print translates to their digital offerings,” said Mike Follett, managing director at Lumen, presenting the findings at a Newsworks event.
“With so much content competing for our eyeballs in the digital landscape, as well as advertisers’ concerns over measurability and transparency, newsbrands are providing an engaging online context for advertisers to reach consumers,” he added.
Data sourced from Lumen Research, Newsworks; additional content by WARC staff