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Effects of Banner Blindness on Digital Banking

With the expansion of easily accessible and convenient digital banking services  - such as mobile and tablet banking, as well as online banking for personal computer platforms - bank customers are getting reluctant to visit bank branches, and prefer to conduct their daily banking activities online. As customers are spending less time in branches, banks have to sell more products online using digital banking channels to compensate for the reduction in sales acquired through branches.

However, the use of banner advertisements in digital channels to sell products might not give banks the desired results, due to a phenomenon called banner blindness. The term is a quite self-explanatory: users consciously or subconsciously tend to ignore parts of a website that resemble banner advertisements. The reason is obvious: users are bombarded with excessive amounts of advertising on websites, and eventually develop ignorance towards visual advertisements. Banner blindness can be so powerful that users tend to ignore any content resembling a banner advertisement, even if it is not an advertisement.

Banner blindness is a problem that needs to be carefully addressed, if banks want to grab the attention of users to sell products online.

To combat banner blindness, many websites and digital banking sites use tools that trick or force users to look at advertisements, such as pop-up messages, advertisement covering what the user is trying to see, or automatically playing sounds. Obviously, these advertisement techniques can frustrate users, and will result the reduction of digital banking usage. Frustrated customers also tend to transfer their negative feelings towards the advertiser; therefore using these tools should be avoided. For instance a user may develop negative feelings towards a bank if he/she is regularly confronted with an annoying pop-up advertisement placed on a website, which displays the banks offer.

Instead of tricking or forcing users to look at advertisements, banks should carefully design their online marketing banners and must involve usability experts in the design process. It has been proven that certain design elements and images - such as human faces and eyes – attract user attention, and this technique can be utilized to gain customers attention towards digital banking advertisements. The smallest difference in design can have a huge impact on click-through rates, therefore banks should use A/B testing with marketing messages - directing traffic between two or more versions of the same marketing offer, and measuring the success of each, using mouse tracking software or counting click-through rates.

Banks also need to make sure not to spam their customers with advertisements, and instead deliver fewer, but relevant and personalized messages to their customers. Banks can use data mining together with campaign management tools to efficiently segment their customers, and deliver relevant messages on digital banking channels. Personal financial management applications can also be very helpful in providing valuable customer insight that can be utilized to segment and personalize marketing and sales campaigns.

Apart from banners, banks should also use interactive tools to deliver marketing messages and educate customers about products, such as quizzes, calculators, questionnaires, customer feedback forms and online chat tools. These tools are more successful in gaining the customer’s attention than traditional banners, and will also help banks understand the customer’s financial needs, pains and goals. Banks should position their messages as smart tips or expert advice rather than advertisements, personalized based on the customer insight collected using these interactive tools.

As people tend to pay more attention to their peer’s opinions and advice than advertisements, banks should motivate their customers to recommend the bank’s products to their friends and family, and reward their customers for doing so. Digital Channels integrated with social media can be a great tool for banks to launch and run such recommendation and incentive programs. Digital banking applications should also provide satisfied customers with the facility to share messages and reviews on social media, especially at the end of a successful sales process or customer interaction.

By integrating these methods as part of the digital banking offering, banks can successfully gain their customer’s attention and turn digital banking into a revenue generating channel.


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