Jakob Nielsen condemns banner ads

Nobody looks at banner ads – or at least that is what “global usability guru” Jakob Nielsen seems to be saying, as reported in NMA yesterday (no link to the article because it is DRM protected).

To be precise he is drumming up interest in a his next report that is due out this autumn and said:

“The eye tracking study will show how little site visitors look at ads….. The fact is that very little of the eye looks at banner ads. It’s actually a lot less than people realise.”

There are a lot of people who would argue against this (and maybe most of them sell banners on their sites…), but this is something I’ve felt to be true for a while. Speaking personally – I just don’t see the ads on most websites, and I suspect most of us are the same.

You can get the counter view from Max in his post The banner is back! where he points out that the bidding war between Microsoft and Google for Doubleclick suggests that someone at least has a bit of faith in the poor old banner ad. The announcement today that Microsoft is acquiring aQuantive points in the same direction.

So I’m a bit out on a limb with this. But then fortune favours the brave, doesn’t it? Or at least that is the thought I will take with me into the weekend.

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  • “no link to the article because it is DRM protected” – so much for usability.

  • “no link to the article because it is DRM protected” – so much for usability.

  • I suspect its not much different with print media.

    The one thing I have heard a lot more of recently is that its impossible to build up brand awareness via classified ppc ads

  • I suspect its not much different with print media.

    The one thing I have heard a lot more of recently is that its impossible to build up brand awareness via classified ppc ads