Uncluttered Web Pages Make Ads Work Better, According to New Research From SAY Media and IPG Media Lab

Study shows ads on Clean Web pages are more useful, trusted and effective

SAY Media today announced new research showing that Clean Web pages have a more positive impact on advertiser and site perception compared to cluttered multi-ad environments. According to comScore, the average time spent on a page of a website is steadily decreasing, with users spending only 40 seconds on a single page, making it imperative for brands to be smarter about advertising.  SAY conducted the research in partnership with IPG Media Lab and worked with four major brands across multiple industries: ACE, Macy’s, Microsoft and Purina.
“Clutter is killing digital media,” said Troy Young, president, SAY Media.  “Publishers keep adding more and more ads, because yield is becoming so low, and ads aren’t in view long enough to really drive results, leading to incredibly cluttered Web pages. SAY is eliminating clutter with Clean layouts and premium ad environments that are working better for brands and offering a better experience for the consumer.”
These new findings, using both eye-tracking technology and survey research, uncovered that consumers spend twice as long with ads on Clean pages, which feature one brand ad. Clean sites also deliver higher ad recall and improved brand metrics than cluttered, multi-ad environments.
Key findings:

  • Clean Enhances Ad and Site Perception: Sites with an uncluttered ad layout were perceived as more useful, more trusted and better than similar sites. Likewise, ads on these sites were seen as more engaging and positively adding to the overall site experience.
  • Ads Are Always Seen in a Clean Setting: Based on eye-tracking data, the study found that 100 percent of respondents viewed the ads on Clean pages. Only 76 percent viewed ads on cluttered, multi-advertiser pages and 89 percent on sites with multiple ads for the same advertiser with complete share of voice. Content remained consistent across all test pages.
  • Time Spent With Ads Increased on Clean Sites: Those who saw ads in a clean environment spent 6.4 seconds with the ad, compared to 3.2 seconds on cluttered pages. More specifically, those who believed the site was uncluttered spent more than 13 seconds looking at the ad, four times more than time spent in a cluttered environment.
  • Less Clutter Means Higher Ad Recall: Both aided and unaided ad recall was highest in a clean environment compared to a cluttered multi-ad page and a page with 100 percent share of voice.
  • Improved Brand Metrics: With only one ad exposure, there was an increase in key message association for two advertisers on a Clean page vs. in a cluttered environment.  More importantly, one advertiser saw a significant lift in purchase intent.

“In a fully mediated world, consumers have many more choices competing for their attention,” said Brian Monahan, IPG Media Lab. “The amount of attention on a Web page is relatively fixed and Clean ads are garnering more attention than those on cluttered pages. Higher attention to ads is the gateway to better brand and engagement performance.”
“Remodelista embodies both beautiful and sensible design," said Julie Carlson, editor-in-chief of Remodelista. "With SAY and its dedication to Clean advertising, we have been able to build a more elegant and streamlined experience for our users that complements the Remodelista brand. Along with our recent redesign, we can better balance great content with relevant brand advertisers, without cluttering each page.”
This study, conducted by IPG Media Lab in partnership with SAY Media included 3,200 Internetrepresentative survey respondents who were exposed to one of four sites and one of four advertising environments (16 cells with 200 respondents per cell).  Eye-tracking data was collected using GazeHawk’s proprietary technology among a subset of 200 respondents.
About SAY Media
SAY Media is a digital publishing company that creates amazing media brands. Through its technology platform and media services, SAY enables its portfolio of independent content creators to build passionate communities around key consumer interest areas such as Style, Living, Food and Tech. The company provides simple and accountable ways for the world’s top brands to engage with these passionate audiences, at scale, with a reach of more than 400 million people around the world. SAY Media is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices across North America, in the UK and Australia. For more information visit www.saymedia.com.
About the Clean Campaign
SAY launched its Clean Campaign initiative in 2011 to make digital content work better for advertisers, publishers and consumers. By removing clutter and creating a premium spotlight ad environment, SAY is improving the Web and rolling out Clean redesigns across its portfolio of Web properties.