Banner Ads vs. Native Ads for Effectiveness

By ShareThrough, Special for  USDR.

Sharethrough, the leading native advertising automation company, today announced the results of a year-long study it commissioned from Nielsen to determine how consumers visually process mobile ads. Marking the first time neuroscience has been used to study native mobile ads, the research found that, similarly to editorial posts, native advertisements appearing on mobile websites appear to receive twice as much visual focus as banners on mobile devices, even though both formats were placed in-feed. The study also found that among native ads, the majority of explicit visual focus was on the ad’s text rather than the thumbnail and offers new insights on how specific language can impact brand associations. The full study on the value of mobile native ads’ impressions can be downloaded  here.

Unlike survey-based measurement, which evaluates a consumer’s conscious reactions to ads, neuroscience taps into the brain’s subconscious. Neuroscientists believe the subconscious is the motivating force behind many of our actions, including which brands we buy  from.

Using a combination of EEG data—measurements of neural activity in the brain—and eye tracking, Nielsen quantified where and how the participants’ focus was being  directed.

Key findings from the study  include:

  • Native Ads Appear to Receive Twice As Much Visual Focus as Banners. Across native ads and banners, the participants’ eye gaze appeared to be consistently more concentrated on the native ad, even though both formats were placed in-feed.
  • Banner ads receive little to no visual focus on the text. Banners are processed in the peripheral field of vision as is common for images. This type of processing occurs much faster than textual processing and can hinder reading taglines.
  • Native Ads Are Being Read. Among native ads, the majority of explicit visual focus was on the ad’s text rather than the thumbnail. The same was true for editorial posts.
  • Native Ad Headlines Can Be Optimized to Trigger Associations. Words from an associative network similar to words included in the headline can result in a higher message resonance lift and can subconsciously influence brand perception.

“As the industry moves toward 100 percent viewability and mobile advertising continues to skyrocket, it’s important we understand what consumers actually ‘see’ when advertising appears on mobile sites,” said Dan Greenberg, Sharethrough CEO. “What better way to understand what goes on in the consumer’s mind than neuroscience? The study proves that not only are consumers seeing native ads, they’re paying much more visual attention to them and in fact, reading their content. The findings also provide meaningful guidance on the art of constructing native ads, providing the industry with science-backed guidelines for how to best organize, display and write text for native  ads.”

To see the full study, please visit

About the  Study

The Sharethrough-commissioned study conducted by Nielsen was comprised of five separate research projects conducted fromFebruary 2014 to February 2015 using the proprietary Nielsen EEG Methodology and Eye-Tracking Solution. Study participants were shown a video simulating the experience of scrolling through an editorial feed and delivered mock native ads and in-feed banner ads. Ads that were tested were from five top tier brands including Boeing, and brands in the CPG, QSR, health and beauty  categories.

About  Sharethrough
Sharethrough is a leading advertising automation company with a platform for the real-time buying, selling and management of native in-feed advertising. The company’s flagship product, Sharethrough For Publishers (SFP), is the complete native supply side platform, powering directly sold campaigns and third-party content across a publisher’s entire suite of properties. The Sharethrough Exchange (STX), the world’s largest in-feed advertising exchange, is used by brand advertisers to promote all forms of content within the feeds of Sharethrough’s publisher partners. Founded in 2008, the company is headquartered in San Francisco with global offices in New York,Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Detroit and London. Learn more at

SOURCE  Sharethrough

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.