That's it, the users have finally caught on to us. Our old sly tricks can no longer outsmart the users of today. 86% of consumers today are sufferers of what we're beginning to call 'banner blindness'. This is a trend describing human's tendency to ignore advertisements on the web and on mobile devices. As of lately, this is an increasingly large struggle for the advertising industry, brands, and publishers who are all competing to win the user's attention. Take a look at the site you're on now, most of us have become completely accustomed to tuning out these advertisements completely.

In the Digital Age, we're evolving to be able to cope with the copious amounts of ads we're pounced with everyday so our brain begins to numb them out as a coping mechanism. What can we take away from the research on banner blindness, to captivate our user's attention in effective ways? There's a lot of viable solutions to work around this phenomenon and make your content stick out. Rehabilitate your users out of this banner blindness and help them to see your message again with clarity.

Break the rules and innovate

If you're sick of not seeing an ROI in your advertising and marketing efforts, it's time to think outside of the box. Creative and innovative ideas are what fuel all of the great inventions of today. Your creative ideas don't have to be complicated and complex however, the greatest ideas are so simple you're surprised you hadn't come up with it yourself.

For example, lets say you need to come up with a creative solution to knowing the unique differences and characteristics of the individuals in your target audience, which can help you maximize conversions in e-commerce. We're all a bit selfish, we're most likely to tune in and pay attention to the things that pertain and are most relevant to ourselves. Some neat new platforms in the likes of Commerce Sciences may help in tackling this problem, by taking advantage of this insight in the e-commerce field and create real-time offers for customers based on a lot of in-depth dimensions. By using behavioral targeting, you're able to direct 'price conscious' users to the right places on the site i.e. the clearance section while steering a completely different user, the 'loyal customer' to the new styles available and trending this week.

Another example of a company who has created a specific solution to a need is TROPHiT. They're working with your applications to provide incentives for users to come back and use the app. If a user has been inactive on your app for an extended period of time, their platform aims to coerce them back into the game by offering them value. Something for free like unlimited power ups to help them accomplish the level they're stuck on instead of paying three dollars for it in the in-app purchase.

Users appreciate free stuff, this is the insight that TROPHiT used to innovate their simple approach to attracting the user's attention. Once you've managed to gain a large amount of users, it's just as important that your maintain them. Retention is an extremely important metric in the gaming industry and they're capitalizing on this. If you can think innovatively about an insight within your industry, you can maximize your profits. An insight for ecommerce sites for example is that every shopper is different.

Personal messages speak to the user like a friend would, someone that knows them well. If you can build this sort of personal relationship with your customers you can expect long lasting retention from them in the future.

Be Alternative

When it comes to the placement of your ads you have to study the facts. Use analytics to see which ads are reaching the bulk of your heavy users, and which ones are hardly getting touched at all. Perhaps, you need to come up with a more alternative style to reach your hard-hitting fans. Your same placements you've recycled time and time again might have worked for you in the past, but now users are looking for a different way to get in touch with the brands they love.

Any place you can find on the web that's relevant to your target audience and gets a fair amount of reach- you can make use of tools like Alexa and OpenSiteExplorer to see the page authority and estimated traffic. See if you can't come up with some sort of collaboration to make the experience for the viewer less full-on walking into an ad zone, but more of an alternative way of inducing the users to interact with your brand in a more subtle way. Examples of this alternative placement in action could be employing a homepage skin.

By taking something extremely relevant to the site, and placing it as a backdrop or skin for the entire page you're subliminally influencing the minds of your users while complimenting the content on the site. You can use a tool like browsersize to help you optimize the size for optimal user experience. Instead of prodding users to click here, click now, they're subconsciously being influenced by your brand the entire time they're surfing the relevant page. For instance with this Gamespot skin promoting The Watchers 2 video game, the skin becomes more a part of the user experience and less like a sales pitch.

If you're innovative and alternative you can come up with a long list of ideas that can attract that certain insight that all users in your target audience can relate to. User experience is key to not only obtaining the attention but also maintaining this attention through the long run.

Banner blindness doesn't have to mean the be all end all of advertising as we know it. We do however need to change the way we do things, and the way we think about things in order to attract the attention of those we really want. With innovative and alternative solutions we can cure this banner blindness, and with relevant and a moderated amount of advertisements we can prevent it from striking again.

Published on: Dec 16, 2014