February 23, 2024

What Happens When You Look at an Advertisement?

Whether watching TV, listening to the radio or searching the internet, you are bombarded with advertisements. Some are subtle and unobtrusive while others are quite blatant. Regardless of how they are presented, it is important to know when you look at an advertisement because this information can help marketers plan and create more effective ads.

For example, if an ad evokes a positive emotional response, it can have the effect of making you want to buy the product. Advertisers can use the ad's setting, music and storyline to create this type of reaction in you by presenting the product in a unique way. This is a form of subliminal advertising.

Other types of advertisements are designed to elicit a specific cognitive or behavioral response. This can be achieved by providing a particular type of information in the advertisement, such as pricing or product quality. Alternatively, the advertisement can try to persuade you to buy the product by stating the benefits it will provide in your life, such as increased self-esteem or social status.

Research involving eye movements has been conducted to determine what areas of the ad viewers look at first and how much time they spend looking at those sections. One study by Rayner et al. (2001) found that viewers who rated the ads for effectiveness or how much they liked them tended to move their eyes to the text section of the advertisement first. Likewise, Radach et al. (2003) found that viewers spend more time looking at ads with pictures that are not directly related to the purported product than they do on explicit ads.

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