Do the banner ads on websites have any effect on you?

You may not even realize it, but the more frequently you’re exposed to a brand on those banners, the more your positive feelings for it can grow.

Via Ars Technica:

The research concludes that repeated exposure to a product via banner ads generates a positive feeling towards that product. The good news for consumers is that a critical reevaluation of the product can make these positive feelings vanish.

There is a long history of experiments that show that repeated exposure to a stimulus that’s barely perceptible can enhance a person’s feelings towards what’s otherwise a neutral object. These feelings can include a liking or more subjective things such as “fame, truth, duration, loudness, stimulus brightness and darkness.” The authors hypothesized that banner ads should work well as such a stimulus, given that “most viewers pay minimal attention to banner ads.”


Afterwards, when asked about their negative feelings towards the brand, the number of exposures made absolutely no difference. In contrast, those students asked about their positive feelings towards the brand saw those feelings increase in a linear fashion based on the number of exposures. In fact, the authors noted that the positive vibes still appeared to be going up after 20 exposures, leading them to wonder where this effect might start leveling off.

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