The success rates of ‘loud’ or overly flashy display advertisements on websites pale in comparison to their more refined counterparts, according to new research.

While advertisers continue to stress the importance of standing out among a catalogue of content, fresh research shows that less may actually be more when it comes to attracting the attention of web browsers.


Researchers working on behalf of Adblock Plus – a widely used browser extension that filters out some of the more intrusive examples of online advertising – analysed the eye movements of 1,200 people in North America and Europe to discover where their interest could most commonly be found.

The study used heatmap technology provided by media technology firm Sticky to pinpoint their line of vision, which was said to be with decluttered elements of the page.

Indeed, according to the readings, flashy animated adverts on cluttered pages perform 36% poorer than static placements on much cleaner layouts when it comes to ad recall.

Bad reputation

The general perception of the brand also took a heavy hit when they resorted to using loud adverts. The reputation of companies using static ads was found to be 76% more positive in comparison to those with flashy placements.

Loud adverts are also 200% more likely to be considered “dated” by browsers, while static ads are 300% more likely to be considered “easy to understand”.

According to Till Faida, co-founder and CEO of Adblock Plus, the readings should serve as a warning to publishers that look to attract attention with flashy page layouts.

“We’ve championed simpler, better ads for nearly two years,” commented Faida. “These research results provide clear proof that respectful online ads outperform sites that are cluttered and tacky.”