"Prime" Advertising Space: Measuring Implict Memory Online
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In marketing literature, click-through-rates are generally employed to measure the success of banner advertisements online. This measure has led to the banner blindness hypothesis, which posits that internet users ignore banner advertisements. However, this measurement does not take into account the consumer action which may result from memory for advertised brands. This study illustrates that although there may not be explicit memory for these advertisements, consumers can be primed for advertised brands. This study includes two experiments, the first of which employs standard measures of memory in order to determine explicit recall (PR) and implicit memory (priming effects) for information included on banner ads under varying levels of attention during an encoding phase involving website viewing. The results of experiment 1 demonstrated that, there is explicit memory for banner ads when browsers attention is directed towards their presence. These results were in disparity with previous studies. However, there is no explicit memory for unattended advertisements. Additionally, there was a high measure of implicit memory throughout both attention conditions. These results are constant with mainstream memory literature and previous findings in the marketing domain (Yoo, 2008; Yang et al 2004). The second experiment measures two long-term effects of implicit memory which can produce familiarity for advertised brands: ‘the false fame effect’ and ‘the mere exposure effect’. It was demonstrated that there was long term familiarity for brand names. Therefore, this paper will argue that, in light of a wealth of marketing research which demonstrates that consumer action is driven by familiarity, the current measure of banner advertisement effectiveness is inadequate. The implications of these results for the processing of online advertisements are discussed. Key Words: Banner Advertisements, Memory, Implicit, Explicit, Familiarity, Memory Measures, False Fame, Mere Exposure, Attention, Banner Blindness.