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Mobile advertisers have milliseconds to connect with audience: Fairfax eye-tracking study

Technology & Data

Mobile advertisers have milliseconds to connect with audience: Fairfax eye-tracking study


Online and mobile advertisers have milliseconds to connect with their audience.

A new study by Fairfax has revealed advertisers have millisecond to connect with their audience.

The ‘Eye Tracking Research Study’ analysed visual behaviour of SMH.com.au readers across desktop and smartphone to determine the advertising creative and native content that draws  the most attention of digital audiences.

Key findings reveal advertisers have milliseconds to engage with consumers, the best creative is clear and simple, and size does matter but position is king.

Flight Centre ads attracted the most attention due to clear, simple messaging and strong branding, as shown here, with the positioning on smh.com.au shown and the eye-tracking performance results.

flight centre image recogntition


Guidelines to maximising ad attention in the study results include:

  • use contrasting colour or brand colour affiliation,
  • be concise – keep messaging simple and succinct,
  • be clear – fewer elements avoid clutter,
  • prominently use logo and other brand symbols,
  • every frame should communicate on its own as consumers only glance at your ad for a moment,
  • synchronise ads across digital screens and with offline creative – frequency drives higher ad recall, and
  • use targeting – there’s higher ad recall for those in targeted audiences.


Native advertising also emerged as key to engaging consumers – if the content is relevant.

Text within native content enjoyed a high share of viewing time for SMH. For ‘Brand Discover’, SMH’s native content articles, 52% of share of viewing time was taken up by ‘text’, followed by ‘other’ (19%), video (13%) and pictures (10%), with the remaining 15% divided up between logo, headline and footer.


Related: The importance of authentic empathy when connecting with consumers »

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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