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Is there any research on how the kind and amount of display advertisement affects UX and or usability of the site?

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    I know Nielsen has done quite extensive test of this. Quite a while ago though. Here is a link to a summary of a study m performed in 2004. I guess most of it still apply. nngroup.com/articles/most-hated-advertising-techniques – Babossa Feb 19 '14 at 9:48
  • Thanks - I've found this study as well, it doesn't really answer the questions though – Phil Feb 19 '14 at 11:58
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    Are you referring to UX/usability for the ads themselves? Or the impact they make on the page they're viewed on? – cimmanon Feb 19 '14 at 19:38
  • I'm interested in the UX impact on the page, not the ads. Updated the Question to clarify. Thanks – Phil Feb 20 '14 at 16:20
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I recommend looking at this smashing magazine article which states that while loud ads are usually ignored by users due to Banner blindness text based and static ads are generally better received. To quote the article

The state of online ad delivery methods leaves much to be desired. The only universally well-received options are static text-based ads and static banner advertisements. Banner ads are good because they’re usually discrete, but they’re also bad because readers usually ignore them. This well-documented phenomenon is known as banner blindness. Web usability professional Jakob Neilsen confirms that “Users almost never look at anything that looks like an advertisement.”

I also found this interesting study which states that text based ads are the most effective way to avoid banner blindness.To quote the article

According to a recent survey by a leading market research firm, it was found that 25% of web site visitors are more likely to click on a text-only ad when they visit a web site, a preference that beat out every other ad format.

I also recommend looking at this interesting article which did heat map studies of sites having banners to see the best positioning and see which are the areas banner blindness was the most prevalent.

The study showed that if it looks like banner ad or an add,users are more likely to ignore it but if its well integrated into the site and seems like part of the site it might have greater success.

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To quote the article

With two of the sites when users had a specific task in mind, the main banners were ignored – even the animated one. This could suggest that the central real estate of many websites is ‘wasted’, dead space, because users don’t perceive the messages or offers promoted there.

However, the ASOS central banner managed to capture participants’ attention better. In comparing task-based and free-roam behaviour, we could see that the users’ pattern of perception was not as strongly influenced by the task as on the other homepages.

What does the ASOS banner have that the others don’t? Our interpretation:

  • The ASOS central banner doesn’t look like a banner. It’s much more integrated into the page than the others we tested. The Kiwibank and RaboDirect banners clearly carry the brand style, but could be seen as less connected to the rest of the homepage design.
  • The ASOS banner not only advertises the current sales theme, but provides access to the main sections of the website (shop for women and shop for men). It has some practical value and is in effect a key part of the navigation.
  • The RaboDirect banner is merely a ‘welcome’ – we often see users skip over introductions and welcomes ( ‘Blah, blah, blah blindness’). The Kiwibank message may be relevant to the users, but it takes some interpretation: ‘What is free?’ Conversely, the text of the ASOS banner is integrated in the image and its message is simple – ‘It’s spring season’ – no further interpretation is needed. Plus, the message is likely to be relevant to a large group of users.
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