Back in 2009 I wrote my final dissertation for my masters degree at Reims Management School (now called Neoma Business School). I studied the effect of memorization of ads in an unconventional way: I compared the unconscious memorization of contextual sponsored links and web banner ads.

Preconscious and unconscious memorization are based on the idea of banner blindness: when browsing the web, people have the tendency to concentrate on their search purpose and are blind to advertisement. Does that blindness render ad placement useless? Is there an invisible effect of ads? Can ads be memorized even if people do not see them?

I used Arnaud Pêtre’s method to:

  1. confirm that ads are matter-of-factly memorized unconsciously
  2. prove sponsored links are also memorized
  3. compare these memorizations

Pêtre’s method consists in presenting a degraded image to the subject and determine at which degradation level the subject is able to recognize certain parts of the image shown.

 Degradation level 6100118_web_advertisement_compared_efficiency_preconscious_memorization_behavioral_approach 100118_web_advertisement_compared_efficiency_preconscious_memorization_behavioral_approach2

Degradation level 9
100118_web_advertisement_compared_efficiency_preconscious_memorization_behavioral_approach3 100118_web_advertisement_compared_efficiency_preconscious_memorization_behavioral_approach4

My conclusions show that :

  1. yes, ads are memorized whether they are links or regular banners
  2. banners are better memorized than links thanks to their visual elements

This presentation was given for the « Trophée Syntec des mémoires » for the best research dissertation (which I didn’t win).

To further learn about my study you can download this Quick PDF summary and in french here.

Image: Will Fenstermaker, Mashable