Saturday, March 26, 2005

Invisible ads

I was reading Seths post here (one of my favourite bloggers) which led me to the piece here on searchenginewatch, about how research shows that people have attuned themselves to reading webpages in a manner as to ignore the ads placed on it. Those who have watched video cassette recordings of Bollywood movies of the 80s would recall how we were attuned to ignore the crawly ads at the bottom of the screen.

When I was a kid, it took me a long time to realise the existence of the Page 2 of a newspaper. For me, Page 3 was always Page 2. I had tuned myself to not see the left side of page 3 at all since it was filled with letters to the editor, classifieds and the things I was never interested in. It was only when I tried to locate an article which continued on page 3 that I realised that page 3 was actually "my page 2".

Similarly, I rarely read the ads from my own newspaper. I usually notice the ads when, say, a fellow traveller reads it; when it is at a distance. Otherwise, my eyes scan just the news. Even if I read an ad ( scan through an ad rapidly), I read it only if it holds my interest in the first few seconds.

Assuming that my behaviour is not irrational, its worth a thought for those who place ads in crowded spaces in newspapers or webpages.

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