Why Are Users Banner-Blind? The Impact of Navigation Style on the Perception of Web Banners


  • Magnus Pagendarm Center for Media Research, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin
  • Heike Schaumburg Center for Media Research, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin


It has been observed that contradictory results have been found regarding the perception of banner advertisements on the Internet. While some studies found that recall and recognition scores for banners were at a satisfactory level, others observed that banners are almost generally overlooked. In this study, it is argued that the opposing results might be explained by differences in navigation style (aimless browsing versus goal directed searching). To test this hypothesis, 32 subjects were presented with a Web site containing a number of banners ads. Half the subjects were asked to search for specific information, while the other half was instructed just to explore the site as they wished. In a subsequent recall and recognition test, subjects from the aimless browsing group performed significantly better than subjects from the information search group. Results are discussed with regard to the supposed underlying processes of perception and information processing.