News Content and Advertising Effectiveness: Evidence from an Eye-Tracking Experiment
50 Pages Posted: 4 May 2021 Last revised: 22 Feb 2022
Date Written: April 29, 2021
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: Suggested Citation