There was a video I showed on this blog the other week. It involved two basketball teams, and asked you to carefully watch and count the number of times the white team passed the ball. Once it was finished, it then asked if you’d noticed the moon-walking bear in the video.
Moon-walking bear??!!?? Of course I, and several other people I tried this with, had completely missed it. I replayed to video to be sure, and there it was – a moon-walking bear making his way through most of the entire scene.
One of the fundamentals of online design is that users will NOT read, see, or hear everything. And if you focus their attention on something specific, the most obvious things may be missed – even if they’re flashing red neon signs in 72 point text. That’s why when designing online, you should
- Repeat your message in several ways (banner, main point, menu item, secondary pages).
- Focus on the main message and keep the rest of the presentation simple and non-distracting.
- Be creative, be edgy – do something that breaks out from the crowd so the “see” your message.
I’ve known this for website design for a while. But now I realize it applies to copy (text content) as well. A user of Google Search who finds your site in their results, may think you are relevant to the exact words they typed in, even if your site specifically says you are not! A post in Search Marketing Standard blog by Kevin Gold has a great example.
Website Visitors Read Your Copy, Right? Wrong! After optimizing pay-per-click campaigns for the past seven years I now fully believe that visitors clicking from a paid search ad simply don’t read. Further, I question their skimming and scanning comprehension. I theorize that paid search visitors emotionally motivated by relevant ad copy plow into a landing page with tunnel-vision seeking only to take the offer …
The example he gives, is advertising a product on the Extreme Home Makeover show, getting tons of web traffic from it, and having over 25% of the visitors telling them why they should be on the show – it was a product advertisement, it had nothing to do with the show, and stated that fact at every step when these users were filling in their forms!
And another quarter of the respondents were small business owners seeking leads in the home makeover market – from a product advertiser!
Kevin’s summary says it well…
… Strong ad copy is great but watch for what you attract. And never assume that people are ever reading your copy, subheads or even skimming/scanning your page elements. Know your market, analyze and optimize.
Strong emotional ad copy can cause people to focus on just that, and ignore everything else, in any campaign, but with online is especially an issue to consider.