Ad Clutter Reduces Effectiveness, Degrades Brands

December 12, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Retail & E-Commerce | Women | Youth & Gen X

Nearly 30% of online adults will immediately leave a website if they perceive it to be cluttered with ads, and more than 75% of those who remain on cluttered sites pay less attention to the ads there, according to a survey from Burst Media.


The survey of 4,000 web users, which was undertaken to better understand consumer perceptions relating to ad clutter, found that cluttered sites not only annoy the audience, they diminish ad effectiveness and ultimately do a disservice to the publisher, the advertiser and the visitor, Burst Media said.

Two Ads is Enough

Though respondents accept that advertising will appear on websites, the majority (52.6%), say they have low tolerance for any more than two advertising units per page. Another 27.3% say they will tolerate only a single ad per web page, and slightly more than one-quarter (25.3%) will tolerate just two ads per page.

Clutter Hurts Advertiser Reputation

The survey also found that ad clutter has a negative impact on consumers’ perceptions of an advertiser’s products and services:


  • One out of two (52.4%) respondents has a less favorable opinion of an advertiser when their advertising appears on a cluttered web page they perceive as cluttered.
  • One-half (56.4%) of women claim clutter negatively impacts their opinion of an advertiser, versus 48.3% of men.
  • Women also are more likely than men to abandon a site that appears cluttered. (32.1% vs 27.5% of men).

Tolerance Falls as Age Rises

Ad clutter’s negative impact on respondents’ opinions increases with age, Burst Media found. Less than half (46.8%) of respondents 18-24 years were impacted negatively by clutter, but nearly two-thirds (63.2%) of respondents age 55+ were unfavorably impacted.

“One of the main obstacles to getting consumers’ attention online is ad clutter,” said Chuck Moran, VP of Marketing for Burst Media. “It is critical for advertisers to ensure their messages are being placed in a high quality content environment to receive the maximum exposure they deserve, and to preserve their brand’s reputation.”

Burst Media defines ad clutter as the overcrowding of a web page with advertising units to the point of degrading the web users’ experience.


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