Attention, Recall, and Purchase: Experimental Evidence on Online News and Advertising

50 Pages Posted: 4 May 2021 Last revised: 7 Dec 2021

See all articles by Tommaso M. Valletti

Tommaso M. Valletti

Imperial College Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Andre Veiga

Imperial College London

Andrey Simonov

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Date Written: April 29, 2021

Abstract

Does online news content facilitate display advertising effectiveness? We conduct an experiment in which subjects read various online news articles and are shown ads for brands next to these articles. Using novel non-intrusive eye-tracking technology, we measure the attention that each individual pays to each article and ad. Then, respondents choose between cash or vouchers for the brands advertised. We show how news articles that capture more of readers’ attention increase the amount of attention readers pay to ads on the page, which in turn increases ad recall and purchase probability. The type of news content – “hard” versus “soft” news, or news that matches the reader’s political preferences – influences advertising effectiveness through changing readers’ attention to news content, but does not detectably impact ad effectiveness beyond that. We discuss implications of such attention spillovers from content to ads and the resulting increase in ad effectiveness for firms’ investments in captivating “hard” news content.

Keywords: Online Advertising, Online News, Experiments, Attention, E-commerce

JEL Classification: M37, C91, L86

Suggested Citation

Valletti, Tommaso M. and Veiga, Andre and Simonov, Andrey, Attention, Recall, and Purchase: Experimental Evidence on Online News and Advertising (April 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3836531 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3836531

Tommaso M. Valletti

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Andre Veiga (Contact Author)

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Andrey Simonov

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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