Investigating the influence of ads on user search performance, behaviour, and experience during information seeking

Foulds, Olivia and Azzopardi, Leif and Halvey, Martin; (2021) Investigating the influence of ads on user search performance, behaviour, and experience during information seeking. In: CHIIR 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval. CHIIR '21 . ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 107-117. ISBN 9781450380553

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    Abstract

    The phenomenon of banner blindness explains that users can mentally ignore online advertisements (ads). However, eye-tracking studies have shown that users still fixate on ads, and even without direct gaze, ads still fall within a user's peripheral vision, which may negatively overload cognition. It is therefore unknown how blind, banner blindness, truly is, and what other effect ads may have on user's information seeking. To address this gap, a within subjects design experiment was conducted with 37 participants who performed search tasks from the TREC 2017 Common Core News Collection, where 3 search tasks contained various types of ads, and one search task had no ads. Although our results showed that on average, participants retrieved similar amounts of relevant documents regardless of whether ads were present or absent, participants took significantly longer achieving this performance when ads were present. Furthermore, when ads were absent, participants reported less frustration, and not only believed they learned more, but a post-task recall test showed that participants actually did learn up to 38% more. Consequently, our findings suggest that banner blindness is more costly than just mere annoyance, and that the influence of ads on user's information retrieval recall may extend current theories of visual crowding

    ORCID iDs

    Foulds, Olivia, Azzopardi, Leif and Halvey, Martin ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6387-8679;