Text advertising blindness: the new banner blindness?

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Owens, Justin W.
Chaparro, Barbara S.
Palmer, Evan M.

Justin W. Owens, Barbara S. Chaparro, Evan M. Palmer; Text Advertising Blindness: The New Banner Blindness?; Journal of Usability Studies Volume 6, Issue 3, May 2011, pp. 172 - 197


Banner blindness, the phenomenon of website users actively ignoring web banners, was first reported in the late 1990s. This study expands the banner blindness concept to text advertising blindness and examines the effects of search type and advertisement location on the degree of blindness. Performance and eye-tracking analyses show that users tend to miss information in text ads on the right side of the page more often than in text ads at the top of the page. Search type (exact or semantic) was also found to affect performance and eye-tracking measures. Participant search strategies differed depending on search type and whether the top area of the page was perceived to be advertising or relevant content. These results show that text ad blindness occurs, significantly affects search performance on web pages, and is more prevalent on the right side of the page than the top.

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