Eye Tracking Study: Newsforce Sponsored Content Units on Major Newspaper Sites


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Enquiro completed an eye tracking study for Newsforce to determine the user response and attitudes toward Sponsored Content (company news announcements and content) placed within ad units on premium news sites. Results were very positive, with eye engagement showing Newsforce "storyboard" ad units garnering 3x-12x more eye attraction than traditional banner or text link ads. Users said they understood the content was sponsored, and many expressed a positive intent to read press releases and other company news. An interesting byproduct of the study is the overall eye movements and user engagement with various news page layouts and article scanning.

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  • Eye Tracking Study: Newsforce Sponsored Content Units on Major Newspaper Sites

    1. 1. Newsforce Prepared by Krista Brown – Research Analyst Richard Tobin – Director of Research (former) Paid Placement Press Release Engagement
    2. 2. <ul><li>Principal Author </li></ul><ul><li>Krista Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Research Analyst </li></ul><ul><li>Contributing Writer and Consultant </li></ul><ul><li>Richard Tobin </li></ul><ul><li>Director of Research (former) </li></ul><ul><li>Data Analysts </li></ul><ul><li>Rich Deakin </li></ul><ul><li>Project Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Lisa McTaggart </li></ul><ul><li>Research Analyst </li></ul><ul><li>Krista Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Research Analyst </li></ul>2
    3. 3. Table of Contents <ul><li>Key Objectives 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Executive Summary 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Newsforce Advertisement - Why is Newsforce an effective communication channel? 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Newsforce Landing Page - Why is Newsforce an effective channeling opportunity? 16 </li></ul><ul><li>Appendix 23 </li></ul>3
    4. 4. Key Objectives <ul><li>To show whether Newsforce headline units work or not and, if so, how and why is that the case. </li></ul><ul><li>To demonstrate that users engage actively in the landing page content causing them to be more likely to use the social buttons or to verbally refer others to the Newsforce website. </li></ul>4
    5. 5. Executive Summary <ul><li>Newsforce headline units out perform the competing ad blocks on the page. Not only are they more engaging than ad blocks, but they do not pull user engagement away from the page content. </li></ul><ul><li>Users enjoyed the content and layout of the Newsforce landing pages finding them highly engaging and relevant. So much so that they were more likely than the average user to use the social buttons or verbally refer a friend to this site. </li></ul>5
    6. 6. Newsforce Paid Placement PR Network Why is Newsforce an effective communication channel?
    7. 7. Key Findings <ul><li>The fact that the display and content for Newsforce headline units do not look like advertising causes users to pay more attention to them. As such, users have a higher awareness of the Newsforce headline units as well as a higher inclination to click on the content looking for interesting information. </li></ul><ul><li>Newsforce headline units attract a high level of user gaze time and fixations. At the same time, they do not pull user attention away from the page content. </li></ul>7
    8. 8. User Fixations and Gaze Time Lift LA Times Chicago Tribune Newsforce over Display Ads 1440% 193%
    9. 9. User Fixations and Gaze Time 8 * There was 0% engagement with the display ads on this page. Lift USA Today Newsforce over Display Ads - * Newsforce over Adwords 305%
    10. 10. User Fixations and Gaze Time <ul><li>Newsforce sponsored press releases attract significantly more relative gaze time and fixations than competing sponsored blocks. As shown in the previous slide, there is a significant difference in terms of the amount of attention spent on each headline unit. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Average lift of Newsforce over display ads = 816% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lift of Newsforce over Adwords = 305% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Because of its “content like” appearance (in that, it does not look like advertising) the Newsforce headline unit pulls attention away from competing ad blocks. The Newsforce headline units are the most effective forms of advertising in terms of user appeal and content relevancy. </li></ul>9
    11. 11. Article Heatmaps <ul><li>Even though the Newsforce headline units drew a lot of attention they were not a distraction – users were still highly engaged with the content on the page. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though the Ad Words ad block is placed before it, the Newsforce headline unit still received the most attention. So, it is not positioning, but content that puts the Newsforce headline units ahead of the rest. </li></ul>USA Today 11 60% user engagement 20% user engagement
    12. 12. Article Page Heatmaps LA Times Chicago Herald Tribune USA Today 12
    13. 13. Ad Recall <ul><li>Users were very aware of the presence of the Newsforce headline units on the page with a 60%-80% user engagement. </li></ul><ul><li>Users are more naturally inclined to ignore something they think looks like an ad – whereas, the Newsforce headline units were not seen as a traditional ad and received higher fixations and a higher recall. </li></ul>13
    14. 14. Perception of Headline Units <ul><li>When asked 85% of users readily identified the Newsforce headline units as unique sponsored content. </li></ul><ul><li>What’s more, the “sponsored content” tag received a significant portion (70-80%) of the total population’s fixations on the article pages. </li></ul>14
    15. 15. <ul><li>There is a big benefit to having a featured or sponsored press release on a publishing site since users are inclined to click on it if they find it relevant. Newsforce can take advantage of this by providing appealing and relevant content in its sponsored messaging - it draws a lot of attention, and with effective content, it can draw plenty of click conversions as well. </li></ul>Would You Click on Press Releases to See More Information of Interest to You? 14
    16. 16. Newsforce Landing Page Why is Newsforce an effective channeling opportunity?
    17. 17. Key Findings <ul><li>Overall, users were very satisfied with the look and feel, usability and function of the Newsforce landing pages. Having had a good experience on a site they found easy to use, relevant and engaging, users said they were more likely to refer friends to this site. </li></ul><ul><li>The social buttons are a good way to encourage return visitors and help develop new ones by referral. A bit more focus could be placed on these calls to action to encourage the use of the social buttons. </li></ul>16
    18. 18. Rank the Landing Page <ul><li>Users spent an average of 70.5 seconds engaging with the landing page. </li></ul><ul><li>The landing page was given a rating of 4.48 (on a 6 point scale) for overall appeal and usability. </li></ul>17
    19. 19. Content Relative Fixations and Gaze Time <ul><li>Users spent no less than 66% of their time engaging with the content on the landing page – a good sign that they find the content interesting and relevant. </li></ul>18
    20. 20. Landing Page Heatmaps <ul><li>Approximately 4% of all North American internet users use social buttons.* </li></ul><ul><li>To encourage their use and make them easier to use, the social buttons would benefit from some sort of call to action (i.e. a mouse over saying “If you enjoyed this article, why not bookmark the site for later?” or “If you enjoyed the content of this web site, why not refer it to a friend?”) </li></ul><ul><li>The MS article generated the most interest in terms of content and social button engagement because of its topical interest. </li></ul>MS Content 2.8% relative gaze time and fixation * TechCrunch; Miniwatts Marketing Group 19
    21. 21. Landing Page Heatmaps Apnea Content Weight-loss Content MS Content 2
    22. 22. Site Referral <ul><li>User satisfaction with the landing pages is very evident by their willingness to share this site with friends – users would not put their name on a referral to a site if they did not have confidence in its interest, relevancy and usability. </li></ul><ul><li>The social buttons present a good opportunity to develop a loyal fan base as well as encourage those returnees to refer others. </li></ul>% Yes 22
    23. 23. Appendix
    24. 24. About Enquiro Research <ul><li>Research plays a key role in understanding how people use search engines, navigate websites and engage </li></ul><ul><li>with advertising. It allows us to glimpse inside the mind of the consumer at the time they're interacting </li></ul><ul><li>online, enabling us to improve the website user experience. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Enquiro Research is a division of Enquiro, one of North America’s leading search marketing firms.  Enquiro </li></ul><ul><li>helps its clients maximize their online presence through balanced marketing solutions, with several of these </li></ul><ul><li>clients being amongst the world’s top brands.  Its strategies are based on industry research and expertise in </li></ul><ul><li>usability, and natural and sponsored search.  Enquiro has also authored eye tracking studies which have given </li></ul><ul><li>marketers a greater understanding of user interaction with the major search engines and defined “Google’s </li></ul><ul><li>Golden Triangle.” </li></ul>24
    25. 25. Eye Tracking 101 What is Eye Tracking? At Enquiro Research, we use an eye tracker to track and record eye movement on a screen in real time. The eye tracker is non-intrusive and uses high resolution sensors that are calibrated to each participant before the study. The eye tracker measures each point of gaze from the eye and displays data as a colored heatmap.   What is a Heatmap? A heatmap is a visual representation of points of gaze and of eye movement. Points of gaze are displayed by dots of color. Multiple dots become circular color patches. Centralized color equals longer gaze time. When many heatmaps are amalgamated they can show common patterns of eye movement and level of engagement to parts of the SERP or webpage. 25
    26. 26. Reading a Heatmap <ul><li>This aggregate heatmap of Enquiro’s webpage shows eye tracking of a number of participants (usually, between 15 and 25). </li></ul><ul><li>The colorations of a heatmap indicate the level of user engagement with the page: </li></ul><ul><li> Red - 80% to 100% user engagement </li></ul><ul><li> Orange - 60% to 80% user engagement </li></ul><ul><li> Yellow - 40% to 60% user engagement </li></ul><ul><li> Green - 20% to 40% user engagement </li></ul><ul><li> Tan - 0% to 20% user engagement </li></ul>26
    27. 27. Demographics Out of 60 participants 27
    28. 28. Demographics Out of 60 participants 28
    29. 29. Demographics Out of 60 participants 29
    30. 30. Index of Webpages Tested <ul><li>Publisher Pages </li></ul><ul><li>USA Today </li></ul><ul><li>LA Times </li></ul><ul><li>Chicago Tribune </li></ul><ul><li>Landing Pages </li></ul><ul><li>Apnea Article </li></ul><ul><li>MS Article </li></ul><ul><li>Weight-loss Article </li></ul>