Simplicity Is Key to Effective Online Advertising

Simplicity Is Key to Effective Online Advertising

OnlineAdsTashatuvangoIf you want to get the most out of your online ads, focus on simplicity, not cleverness, new research suggests.

In today’s hectic and cluttered online environment, advertisers have milliseconds to get viewers to see and comprehend their ad. That’s why basic and straightforward ads make a bigger impact than those that are clever and visually complex, according to a study recently accepted by the Journal of Marketing Research.

For the study, researchers tested reactions to ads over periods as short as 100 milliseconds, which is less than a full glance. The authors divided the ads into three categories: upfront ads, which present a product in a straightforward, expected and typical way; mystery ads, whose visual complexity requires work on the part of the viewer to decipher; and “false front” ads, which use a clear image of one thing to sell something else.

The study’s authors found that upfront ads, such as a photo of a bottle of orange soda to sell orange soda, were understood and received positively by viewers in those 100 milliseconds. In addition, the participants continued to view these ads positively over 5, 10 and 30 seconds.

“But for online banner ads, for example, advertisers should realize that they’ll have only a tenth of a second of a viewer’s attention, if that,” Wedel said. “And so they should stick to the basics: What’s the product? And what’s the brand?”