How to make sure your advertising is going to be successful?

Find out how eye tracking can tell you if the advertising is going to be successful before investing your budget and time into the overall campaign.

The expenditure on advertising is expected to grow by 8.0% in 2022, with spending on online video and social media ads to grow 15% annually to 2024, according to Zenith. The increase in spending, however, does not necessarily increase sales, as spending the budget effectively in such a competitive field can be challenging for brands. Marketers need to keep alert to advertising fatigue and the competitive attention economy to prevent a loss of interest from targeted audiences as that will lead to a dropping click-through rate (CTR) and negligible return on investment (ROI).

Trying new advertising formats

Traditional banners on websites are usually displayed in similar formats and locations, thus leading to “banner blindness” – that is, users can easily recognize advertising while scanning the page and ignore it without even looking at it. One alternative to get the customer’s attention is the pop-up ad as it appears either while users are reading an article or switching to another page, making it almost impossible for the customer to ignore the ad. However, the outcome of pop-up ads is ambivalent. One study shows that forced exposure and interruption can lead to users' feelings of intrusiveness and annoyance. For example, the banner inserted between two paragraphs below illustrates how advertising might damage the customer experience since it interrupts the flow of the article.  

The placement of an ad banner influences how your brand is perceived by customers. (Source: TechCrunch+

The study also indicates that the possibility of negative responses from users can be eliminated by decreasing interruption, adding value to the ad, and increasing its relevance. In summary, a good ad has the power to attract attention and engage users, creating a positive experience for the customer and improving the relationship between customer and brand. In conclusion, being interrupted won’t be a big deal if the content is worth it.

Now you know that a good ad has the impact of minimizing the disturbance it causes to customers, but how do you make sure that the ad is good? Customers’ interaction with ads is not an exact science and finding out if your audience is attracted to your ad can be laborious. They can totally ignore the ad while scrolling down a webpage or click on the ad by accident, and their response to an ad is not always aligned with the advertisers’ purpose. The “banner blindness” can still be present even when the format and location are right. So how shall we pre-evaluate the effectiveness of an ad before investing money and time in it?

Eye tracking: seeing through customers’ eyes

Eye tracking is an excellent methodology to help you make sure your advertising is going to be successful before publishing it. This approach enables you to identify customers’ fixation points, visibility problems, and difficulties of comprehension, allowing you to adjust the ad to get the best possible ROI from your audience. With eye tracking data, you will know for how long the ad holds customers’ attention, if the product is being seen and if the advertisement is easy to understand. By conducting an eye tracking study, you can get the metrics such as duration time and first time to fixation. To find out more about what different eye tracking metrics can tell you, you can read the article “Main metrics in eye tracking”.

Banner blindness: viewability and attention

Adopting a new advertising format can lead to an ambivalent outcome, as forcing your audience to pay attention to your ad might result in a negative response. That is why viewability as a metric might be ineffective. Viewability shows marketers the chances of an ad being seen by customers, but it does not show if the ad is seen. Therefore, high viewability rates do not lead to high attention and advertisers might be paying for ads based on high rates of viewability, but low rates of attention.

This is the conclusion of several eye tracking studies conducted by MediaAnalyzer Advertising Research GmbH and Oculid. They found that there is no positive correlation between viewability and attention. On the contrary, the result shows that foot banners, which were considered with the highest viewability, received the least engagement. Thus, the investment based on viewability is ineffective.

When it comes to attention measurement, eye tracking metrics can tell which ad and which elements are more attention-grabbing, ensuring the consumer will be involved by the message or product the ad aims to convey. To make a more effective investment, doing an eye tracking test before releasing a campaign is an effort that pays off.

A case study of advertising on social media

According to Zenith, expenditure on social media is estimated to grow at an average rate of 15.1% a year between 2021 and 2024. Also, social media plays a key role in increasing online sales, which makes social media advertising an essential element of a successful marketing campaign.

Many businesses use social media advertising to attract customers to their brand or drive more traffic to their product page. But how do customers engage with the ads on social media? This study conducted using Oculid’s platform tested Puma’s advertising to measure the attention on the product.

Source: Oculid

The result shows that customers were more attracted to the rings and bracelets instead of the sneakers, even though the product for sale occupies most of the space and is placed in the center of the image. Eye tracking metrics were able to show what element stands out in the picture and what is ignored in the advertising. In this case, the brand could choose a picture that drew more attention to the sneakers.

Eye tracking for email marketing

Eye tracking can also be an effective methodology to test other types of advertising, such as banners on websites, newsletters, in-app ads, flyers, and much more. For email marketing, for example, eye tracking has proven to be a successful approach to analyzing reading patterns and discovering the right structure for the information in the email.

Data obtained through eye tracking studies has shown that, when reading a newsletter, customers usually use a certain type of reading pattern based on their intention and the page content. For example, reading in an F-shaped pattern is used to quickly scan through the content; and reading in a commitment pattern indicates that readers are more motivated in reading it in detail. Eye tracking can help to test which text scanning patterns users have adopted and which one can be used in the newsletter for better engagement and more attention to the elements that matter.

Use eye tracking to identify newsletters’ reading patterns. (Source: Brett Jordan/Unsplash)


There are more and more advertisements in the market nowadays everywhere we look: on our phones, on public transport, on the streets, on our emails, whether we are working, studying, commuting, or simply relaxing. If brands want to invest in advertising effectively it is essential to test the audience beforehand using methodologies proven to provide actionable data.  Eye tracking can help you to identify a non-effective advertisement earlier on for saving budget and time, and to improve the formats and design on various advertising platforms.

Don’t guess, test!


July 26, 2022

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