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If you watch Eye Tracking Study output for pages with adverts on them, you'll find that people don't always spend much time looking at the ads. Additionally, even if their eyes rest on the adverts they tend to ignore the content. It's as if our brains, once they've seen the ad, manage to censor it, so that it doesn't register consciously. Obviously; that's lead to a bit of an advertising arms race let's some ads doing more and more to try and grab your attention, either by flashing and blinking or by making outlandish statements, about how much money you just won for being the national 10,000th visitor, or by using hooks, like the one weird trick ads for everything from reducing your waistline to saving on your mortgage and insurance.
Even sneakier is the sponsored content style ad, which is formatted to be more like a group of news articles. The reason that these ads frustrate your visitors is because they take them off task, they have the impression of being part of the site, and it's not until people click through on them that they realize they have been duped. Nobody feels good about being duped and the person they blame is you, the site creator, rather than the ad provider. And the thing is people still manage to ignore most of these ads. The ones they can't ignore just frustrate them; that's the real danger. If people get frustrated when they come to your site, then it's going to reduce the likelihood they'll return, so what's the answer? Well, rather than trying new tactics takes to get people to look at the ads by making them bigger, brighter, flashier or more of a tease, just make sure that they are relevant.
That means make sure that advertisements are for goods that relate to the same interests as the site content. Sure, the relevant ads might not be offering the same returns as the generic flashy ads. What you might find is that for however much they lose in revenue per click, they make up for a number of actual clicks. Of course, this means that you need an ad serving engine that allows you to do very specific targeting, you might need to experiment with a couple of different services before you find one that will meet your needs. You might also need to specify ad types not to show on your site, in order keep things relevant.
When you give your visits as relevant adverse, you're actually doing them a favor. Most people now grudgingly understand that they are getting free access to your content and return for being shown adverts. They are more likely to look favorably on your site if the ad content at least corresponds to the site's content.
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