Are Unclicked Ads Wasted? Enduring Effects of Banner and Pop-Up Ad Exposures on Brand Memory and Attitudes

By Chatterjee, Patrali | Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, February 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Are Unclicked Ads Wasted? Enduring Effects of Banner and Pop-Up Ad Exposures on Brand Memory and Attitudes


Chatterjee, Patrali, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research


ABSTRACT

Do creative ad executions like large ad sizes and intrusive ad formats that enhance communication outcomes and clickthroughs immediately after ad exposure persist over time? In examining this question, we focus on the role of advertisement size (large vs. small) and ad exposure format (intrusive vs. voluntary) on immediate and delayed brand recall, ad recognition and brand attitude in web-based media. Voluntary exposure ad formats like banners and text ads are more likely to be cognitively avoided since it is an automatic, subconscious process that occurs in parallel with the browsing activity and does not require any behavioral action by the consumer. Intrusive ad formats like pop-ups that interrupt browsing activity and demand immediate response are more likely to be physically avoided by closing them. Prior research on preattentive processing and endurance of implicit/ explicit memory and memory for subgoals supports our findings that gains from using intrusive ads accrue when ad sizes are small and negative impact of intrusiveness decay over time.

Keywords: advertising effectiveness, ad avoidance, banner ads, memory, pop-up ads

1. Introduction

Research on effectiveness of ad exposure has largely focused on memory and behavioral (clickthrough) outcomes measured immediately after exposure to target ad(s). In such situations, the ad is very salient, memory traces of the ad are very accessible, and impact on communication outcomes and attitudinal measures are strong [Chattopadhyay & Nedungadi 1992]. In reality, there is generally a delay between ad exposure and product search, choice or purchase, hence ad-evoked memory outcomes and attitudes must endure over time if they are to influence behavior. The need to generate memorable ad exposures is especially acute in for websites and e-retailers due to low switching costs compared to their offline counterparts [Mu & Galletta 2007]. Prior research indicates that attitude persistence, memory for the ad, its context and communication outcomes persist when ads are elaborately and systematically processed under high message involvement. However, most ad processing is under low-involvement conditions [MacInnis et al.1991] and ad avoidance is the norm rather than an exception. Therefore, examining how ad-evoked attitudes and communication outcomes persist over time under low involvement and ad avoidance is an important research goal.

Published research in television advertising has extensively studied the impact of ad processing on memory and attitude persistence. While researchers have investigated persistence of communication outcomes under low involvement for television advertising, the impact of cognitive or physical (zipping or zapping) ad avoidance on long-term impact of ad exposure has been largely unexplored. This issue takes on additional importance in the web medium where ads differ in how they are delivered (co-exist with or interrupt browsing) and ad avoidance is the default action compared to television viewing where consumer need to take action in order to zap or zip ads. Little is known about the persistence of memory-based communication outcomes and attitudes generated by ads in the web medium. Specifically, advertisers want to know if consumers who don't click when exposed to their online ad will recognize or recall the ad or the advertised brand in future and visit the advertiser's web site directly when the product category need arises. Can these memory-based post-impression conversions (or view-throughs) be attributed to earlier ad exposures? This can provide an alternative justification for continued ad placements at the media vehicle despite low clickthrough rates observed immediately after ad exposure.

This research investigates immediate and delayed consequences of ad exposure in the web medium as a function of ad exposure format (voluntary vs. intrusive) and the size of ad stimulus (large or small). In the next section we discuss prior research on impact of cognitive and physical ad avoidance on communication outcomes. …

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