VWO Logo
Request Demo

Banner Blindness

Online advertising is an essential component for businesses to reach their target audience. However, as the quantity of advertisements hitting users on multiple platforms grows, a problem known as “banner blindness” has evolved. 

Banner blindness refers to internet consumers’ tendency to ignore or miss banner advertisements, making them useless. 

Banner blindness poses significant challenges for businesses that heavily rely on online advertising. Users have honed their ability to filter out annoying or irrelevant banner ads, resulting in lower click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates. This issue is caused by consumers’ demand for seamless surfing experiences as well as their capacity to recognize and remove advertising pieces swiftly.

According to banner blindness studies, only 14% of individuals remember the last ad they saw, implying that 86% of web users are ad blind.

However, because banner ads are a necessary part of online advertising, deleting them is not an option. Furthermore, they continue to earn significant money for brands and are likely to do so for many years to come.

Understanding the factors behind banner blindness: a cognitive perspective

Banner blindness can be attributed to the influence of cognitive schemata. Don Norman, the co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, explains that when online consumers visit a new website, they rely on their stored mental frameworks to guide their attention toward areas where they expect to find the desired information. This reliance on cognitive schemata can lead to overlooking traditional ad positions, such as the right side of a web page, due to users’ cognitive state of mind.

The concept of banner blindness has become even more apparent with the advent of heatmaps, which provide valuable insights into user behavior analysis to help identify specific elements, including banner ads, that are frequently overlooked due to users’ cognitive schemata.

Recognizing the causes of banner blindness, such as the dominance of cognitive schemata, enables advertisers and designers to adopt effective strategies to overcome this phenomenon. By understanding users’ cognitive tendencies and utilizing heatmap analysis, they can optimize ad placements and design techniques to capture users’ attention more successfully and mitigate the impact of banner blindness.

Challenges faced by businesses

Businesses spend a lot of time and money to create attractive commercials, but they sometimes go unnoticed or fail to captivate the target demographic. This results in wasted ad expenditure and a lower return on investment (ROI).

Banner blindness causes a variety of problems for businesses, including:

  1. Ad fatigue – When users are bombarded with advertisements, their interest, and engagement suffer.
  1. Ad irrelevance – Ads that are irrelevant to the user’s interests or needs are more likely to be disregarded.
  1. Ad blockers – The growing use of ad-blocking software reduces the appearance of banner adverts.
  1. Banner ad blindness – Users’ instinctive tendencies of disregarding banner advertising have made it harder for businesses to attract their attention.

Creative strategies to combat banner blindness

Businesses must understand their target audience’s behavior and preferences to overcome banner blindness. Companies can design customized strategies to engage users effectively by performing extensive research and gaining user feedback. Consider the following creative approaches:

Test all ad placements and formats

Experiment with different placements and formats (for example, regular display vs. native vs. video) to see what works best for your visitors. Running tests with each new ad campaign allows you to track and measure your outcomes. 

VWO’s A/B testing tool allows businesses to experiment with different ad formats to identify the most effective combinations. By continuously optimizing ad elements, businesses can find the best strategies to combat banner blindness and achieve higher conversion rates. To know more, take an all-inclusive free trial with VWO

An example of native advertising  

Do you notice that the top few search results on Google are actually paid-for placements? These are examples of contextual native adverts that appear in search results.

Avoid any form of interruptive advertising

87% of marketers feel that video content has helped them improve visitors, according to Wyzowl’s 2022 State of Video Marketing report. While this is beneficial to marketers, it does not translate well to digital advertising.

Animated and video ads are invasive and interruptive to the user’s Web experience. While improving the ad experience may not prevent customers from using ad blockers on your website, it may reduce banner blindness in non-blocked traffic.

Maximizing mobile advertising

It is crucial to optimize your online presence for mobile devices to engage with the younger, smartphone-savvy audience. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Utilize video in your mobile banner ads: Incorporating video content into your mobile banner ads can capture the attention of users and deliver your message effectively in a visually engaging way.
  1. Include a ‘Call Now’ button: Adding a prominent ‘Call Now’ button in your ads can encourage immediate interaction and conversions, enabling users to contact your business directly from their mobile devices.
  1. Ensure mobile-friendliness of your website: It is essential to have a mobile-friendly website that provides a seamless browsing experience on smaller screens. You can test your site to identify areas that need improvement and optimize it for optimal display and usability on mobile devices.

Relevance of content

According to recent studies, while innovative and eye-catching advertisements are vital for drawing attention, they may not be adequate to boost ad recognition. On the other hand, Ads related to the content of the platform on which they are posted yield greater recognition rates. Businesses can use advertisements to deliver additional information (great for banners or popunders), an interactive activity related to the content of an article (for example, a quiz on the web page’s theme or a support chatbox on an e-commerce website), and so on.

Harnessing the power of interactive advertising

Interactive ads have emerged as a compelling approach to engage users and drive higher levels of interaction. Explore various forms of interactive advertisements to captivate your audience:

  1. Playable ads: These ads provide users with an interactive experience, allowing them to engage with a mini-game or demo of your product or service. By immersing users in an interactive environment, playable ads generate curiosity and encourage active participation.
  1. Interactive video ads: These ads enable users to interact with the video content by incorporating interactive elements, such as clickable hotspots, quizzes, or personalized choices. By involving users in the storytelling process, interactive video ads enhance engagement and make the ad experience more memorable.

One exemplary example of an interactive ads campaign is Honda’s initiative.


In a digital landscape crowded with banner ads, overcoming banner blindness requires creativity and strategic thinking. Businesses must adapt their approaches to engage users effectively and deliver a seamless ad experience. From interactive ads that immerse users in captivating experiences to mobile-optimized strategies that resonate with smartphone-savvy consumers, the possibilities are endless. 

By embracing these creative strategies, businesses can navigate the challenges of banner blindness, stand out from the crowd, and forge meaningful connections that drive higher engagement and ROI. The future of online advertising lies in finding new ways to capture attention, inspire curiosity, and deliver value, and with creative thinking, businesses can turn banner blindness into an opportunity for success.