Simplicity makes online advertising effective

A new research suggests simplicity beats cleverness when it comes to an effective online ad. With only a millisecond to capture viewers’ attention, an ad must be basic and straightforward. A clever and visually complex ad has lesser impact on viewers.

Ads exposed for a fairly long time will give the viewer enough time to comprehend and understand it. But online advertising is often just about 100 milliseconds to 5 seconds long; thus the need to keep it brief but concise.

A study was conducted with about 1,360 subjects exposed to 50 different advertisements. The experiment recorded and observed the participants reaction to a 100 milliseconds, 500 milliseconds, 2 seconds, 5 seconds and 30 seconds ad.

The study divided the ads into three categories: upfront ad, mystery ads, and false front ads. The ads will be presented in different ways for different time limits depending on their category. What the study concludes is essential to online ads.

Upfront ads present the product in a typical, straightforward manner. An example of this ad is showing a photo of the product. The subjects in the study viewed upfront ads positively in all the time spans, and they understood its message clearly.

Mystery ads require the viewer to decipher its message due to its visual complexity. Unlike upfront ads, mystery ads were not viewed positively at initial glance. But the longer that the subjects watch the ad the more the warm up to the idea that it tries to convey.

False front ads are ads which use an eye-catching image but sell an entirely different product. This kind of ad usually takes the form of news articles or a headshot of an attractive model, which will initially spur interest because of its simplicity. However, the longer that the subjects watch the ad their views shift given the time they had to reorient themselves with the ad’s correct interpretation.

In conclusion, viewers hate being duped. The clearer the ad is the better; the easier to understand. Simplicity is not stifling creativity, it just means considering when to use which kind of category for an advertisement to be effective.