The Real Reason No One Sees Online Ads

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h1 Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Here's a sobering statistic: The average time spent on a Web page is steadily decreasing, with users spending only 40 seconds on a single page. Even worse for publishers and advertisers, 31 percent of ads are never even seen. That's why last September we launched the Clean Campaign, our commitment to making the digital content experience better for everyone by cutting clutter and focusing on the content consumers care about. Messy Web pages create a chaotic experience that’s frustrating for everyone involved, including readers, publishers, and advertisers.

We felt it was imperative to find a way to not just understand the impact of cluttered pages, but also to help brands get smarter about advertising. It's why our media sites are embracing cleaner designs with only one large premium ad on each page, delivering a better content experience for readers – and advertisers. Like this. And this. And this.

The Clean Campaign was based on three tenets: a clear editorial vision, a well-designed content experience, and premium advertising to complement the content. We felt confident that cutting the clutter and allowing consumers to focus on the content they cared about would immediately improve advertiser and site perception, but we wanted to prove it, so we partnered with IPG Media Lab to research just how much of a difference Clean Web pages make.

The findings, using both eye-tracking technology and survey results, prove the power of Clean is very real indeed.

Some highlights:

Consumers always see the ads. Based on the eye-tracking data, 100 percent of respondents viewed the ad on Clean pages, compared to 76 percent on cluttered, multi-ad pages.

They hang around longer. Consumers spend twice as long with ads on Clean pages.

They remember it. Both aided and unaided ad recall was highest in a clean environment.

They click more. There was an increase in key message association for two advertisers on a Clean page versus a cluttered environment. More importantly, one advertiser saw a significant lift in purchase intent.

They feel better about the whole experience. Sites with uncluttered ad layouts were perceived as more useful, more trusted, and better than similar sites with cluttered pages.

In short, ads on Clean sites get noticed. They're remembered. And they resonate with consumers. Everyone wins.

Read more about our research findings on Clean ads here and download the whitepaper here.