The purpose of this paper is to study the possible influence of congruity on the way ad banners are watched and remembered in online newspapers.
The effects of the thematic connection between banner subject and article content are examined at the level of gaze behaviour using eye tracking technology, while questionnaires are exploited to assess both free and helped recall. Two “kinds of reading” are also considered, namely “imposed” (where the tester has to read a specific article) and “free” (where the tester can choose the article's topic from a set).
Results indicate that congruity matters for the way banners are looked at, although it seems to have a limited influence on memory. Moreover, the kind of reading is significant in a few cases.
The design of ad banners for web content is very critical, due to the so‐called “banner blindness” phenomenon. At the same time, ad banners are crucial for online newspapers, which rely on them as the main source of revenues. Understanding the potential of congruity is therefore an essential point.
Results to date obtained from previous research about congruity between online content and ad banners are contrasting, and further investigations are thus necessary. Moreover, in the context of online newspapers, congruity has been considered in extremely few cases and, to the best of the authors' knowledge, without using eye tracking technology. The outcomes of this study can be exploited to drive further research in the field.
Porta, M., Ravarelli, A. and Spaghi, F. (2013), "Online newspapers and ad banners: an eye tracking study on the effects of congruity", Online Information Review, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 405-423. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-01-2012-0001
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