Consumer Perception of Online Advertising - The Effects of Animation, Ad Characteristics, Repetition and Task Relevancy on Attention and Memory

Jarmo Kuisma

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Prior advertising research on advertising perception models has mainly focused on effects that occur after consumers have been exposed to advertising stimuli. Little research has examined how consumers are exposed to advertising and the quality of visual attention during advertising exposure. This doctoral dissertation examines how consumers allocate their visual attention to online ads and how consumers memorize ads in different viewing conditions. More precisely, the dissertation focuses on how ad format and location, animation, repetition, abrupt onsets, and task relevancy affect attention to ads and memory performance. The thesis employs theories of cognitive psychology, visual marketing and consumer behavior, advertising persuasion models and computer science and applies experimental methodologies such as eye tracking besides consumers' self-reported measures. The thesis consists of four essays. Essay 1 introduces a review of relevant theory and eye tracking methodology for online advertising research. The next three essays present experimental studies. Essay 2 investigates the effects of ad format and animation on attention and memory. Essay 3 examines the effects of repetition of ads on memory. Essay 4 investigates how animation, ad format and abrupt onsets of ads affect reading performance, and how online ads are perceived during free browsing compared to an instructed reading task. Our findings indicate that attention and memory for ads were significantly affected by consumers' intentions, ad characteristics and web page contents. Consumers are more likely to be attracted by ads when browsing web sites freely without a special task. Ad characteristics, such as animation and ad format interact and influence differently on attention and memory performance for ads depending on the ad's location on a page and the surrounding page content. The thesis also tested the effects of repetition of ads as a potential strategy to improve memory for ads. A significant positive effect was found already at rather low levels of repetition. Moreover, we also tested consumers' attention to abrupt onsets of ads. We registered a significant increase of attention to abrupt onsets of ads as compared with permanent ads especially during free browsing of web pages. This thesis increases our knowledge of the role and type of ad exposure on consumers' attention by evaluating the effectiveness of advertising exposure in dynamic online environment. This research is also the first attempt to evaluate the applicability of the primary eye tracking measures for online advertising. For advertisers, media traders and graphic designers this research proposes new strategies about how to adjust ad format and placement, animation and repetition to break through advertising clutter and reduce consumers' ad avoidance to develop stronger brand awareness and preferences.
Translated title of the contributionConsumer Perception of Online Advertising - The Effects of Animation, Ad Characteristics, Repetition and Task Relevancy on Attention and Memory
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Schwob, Alexandre, Supervising Professor
  • Uusitalo, Liisa, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6429-1
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6430-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • online advertising
  • animation
  • attention
  • eye tracking
  • ad format
  • memory
  • repetition
  • abrupt onsets
  • goal-orientation

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