Inskin study: Only 12% of served display ads ever get looked at

Standard display formats such as mid page unit (MPU) are 27% more likely to be looked at when shown after a high-impact format within a browsing session, as compared to other standard display formats. Dubbed the "amplification effect", the attention boost also shows that users who have been exposed to high-impact formats looked at the subsequent standard display ads for 39% longer. Similarly, the percentage of those standard display ads looked at for one second or longer, increased by 140%.

This was according to research by advertising technology company Inskin Media and Lumen Research, which carried out 3,160 eye tracking experiments in collaboration with Mindshare UK. The research noted that attention to display advertising is "extremely scarce", with data from Lumen showing that only 12% of served display ads ever get looked at, and only 4% looked at for a second or more.

When prompted, 50% of users were able to recall the advertised brand after one to two seconds of visual engagement, as compared to 35% after zero to one second. The research found that brand recall is strongly linked to business KPIs, such as improved brand perceptions and purchase intent, especially for non and lapsed customers. The study, which factored in exposure frequency to avoid overestimating amplification effects, also showed that these effects weaken over time, with incremental attention decaying if not stimulated again by an amplifying format.

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Inskin Media's head of insight, Dominic Tillson, said there is an "ever-increasing amount" of evidence that links visual attention to relevant business KPIs, from brand metrics to sales.

"We have long known that certain high-impact formats can perform very well on critical measures like attention, but until now we didn’t know how they can be used strategically to make standard ads work harder for brand advertisers. This study is a big step in making this a reality," he said.

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