Banner Blindness – How to Overcome It
Before we start I would like you to watch this video, it only lasts for one minute and if you don’t watch it, you will miss the point about how banner blindness impacts you:
This is a classic experiment that has been performed over and over and the result is astounding. Do you know that 50% of people who watch this video didn’t see the gorilla? Why is that?
What is banner blindness?
Have you ever not noticed something, even though you have looked it for ages? Can’t see the woods through the trees is another way of it. In other words, banner blindness is a phenomenon sometimes called selective inattention, where you are overloaded with visual and other stimuli, making it easy to overlook things that are in reality, clearly visible.
A person who is overloaded with stimuli finds it impossible to focus on everything at the same time, so will miss important or obvious information.
Banner blindness on your website
Just because you can clearly see your calls-to-actions or offers on your web pages, does not mean that your visitors see them as well, particularly if your site is offering too much visual stimuli. We have all seen web pages that are cluttered with ads and banners and eventually you either become immune to the ads or simply click away from the site.
The answer to increasing your success is not to fill your site with large flashing ads, but to have fewer ads with less competition on your page, ones that do not cause your visitor to suffer from banner blindness and are relevant to your visitor’s needs.
So the answer clearly isn’t to make your graphics bigger or brighter, it is much more subtle than that:
- A point of differentiation: You need your banners to stand out on your web page and one of the best ways to achieve this is to make the colour of the call-to-action contrast well against the background colour of the page. You can include patterns and animation as well, but there is a fine line between highlighting a banner and annoying your visitors. The take home message is to craft your banner, so that it contrasts with the background colour and so that the text within the banner, also contrasts with the colour of the banner.The example below shows how the background and text colours of the banner contrast well with the page, making the message clear, but not visually overloading visitors.
- Pick the right placement: Just because you have a well-crafted banner does not mean that visitors will notice it; banner blindness can be a difficult problem to overcome. So placement is a large factor in having your banner noticed by visitors and there are certain spots on your webpage that people tend to ignore.Visitors tend to pay less attention to the header and footer areas and the side bars, so placing your banner in the middle of your content will definitely catch their eye. Of course, you need to make sure that the banner is placed in a suitable spot, not in the middle of a sentence or a logical paragraph.
- Forget the textbox: If you place information in a textbox, it is because you believe that it will stand out and be noticed by your visitors. Sometimes however, the opposite is true and because of banner blindness, visitors will ignore your message.So the point here is to increase engagement with your visitors by not always placing important information in a banner format, but highlight it in the text.One common fault is placing testimonials in text boxes in the sidebar, where they are more often than not, ignored.
So the key to overcoming banner blindness is to gain your visitor’s attention, capture their interest and encourage them to click on your banner with an effective call-to-action.
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.