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Display Advertising is Dead(ish)

Posted on 3.16.2015

Do those banner ads even work? A new report from audience measurement company Nielsen and native ad company ShareThrough suggests that the display ad format is both ineffective and annoying to users.

Nielsen and ShareThrough leveraged neuroscience and eye-tracking technology to understand how readers process different types of online ads, and found that native ads, which blend into site design and offer related cotnent, were more engaging than traditional display ads.

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The side-by-side images below show a composite of where readers focus their attention when looking at two Web pages on a tablet for 15 seconds—one with native ads (like the advertising here on Quartz) and one with display ads. From the right image, with a display banner ad at the bottom of the page, it’s apparent that people ignored it. On the left image, the native ad was not set apart, and viewers’ eyes passed over it along with the website’s own content. Overall, ShareThrough found that people on tablets spent twice as much time focusing on native ads compared with banner ads.

The joint Nielsen/Sharethrough study confirms other reports of display's dwindling clickthrough rates.


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