Reading Time: 2 mins approx.
The title is a little misleading, let me clarify that first. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t remember ever clicking on an ad. I would call myself an experienced internet user. I have been online for more than half my life and I have seen many ads during that time but never been intrigued enough to actually click on one. I fit the persona of millions of internet users and the trend of not clicking on ads are surely seen around the world. The only ad I would want to watch is the super bowl commercials, maybe the Cadbury and Imperial blue ads.
But if you look at the balance sheets of Google and Facebook, they got billions pouring in through their ad services. How would that be the case when there are users like me? My brain has been well seasoned to understand an ad and to treat it as noise and ignored. And for the cases when it really attracts my attention it gets me to stare at it for five seconds and then I move on with it. Through years of training, my mind has been conditioned to identify what looks like an ad and what doesn’t.
The case of ignoring ads has a name, banner blindness where the users have trained their mind to strategically avoid what looks like an ad. Setting aside the UX hat and putting on a marketer’s how would you try to avoid banner blindness?
Well, one way out of that would be to present ads in such a way that they would resemble the actual content in the website. All our social media giants have tried and tested that idea, the way I see it, ads should keep on evolving and never give our minds time to catch up and set prejudice of what looks like an ad.
As a UX designer, you should be wary of banner blindness too, having your content placed at locations where ads are usually placed or when content might look like an ad, users might ignore it.
Banner blindness is one part of the answer to the question in the title and another would be poorly targeted ads. Amazon does it best, at the end of the month they show me that diapers are at a discount, and I am not married nor have kids.
Do you click on ads? Do you pay attention to the ads on a website? Feel free to drop your thoughts below. Until then, peace.
Disclaimer: Promotions ran on its own website doesn’t count as an ad here, I clicked on many of them for offers and discounts.
In the meantime, enjoy this. 🙂