Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Despite the popular use of animated banner ads on websites, extant research on the effects of web animation has generated mixed results. We argue that it is critical to identify feature-level animation characteristics and examine their individual and combined effects on capturing online consumers’ attention across different task conditions. We identify three key animation features (i.e., motion, lagging, and looming) based on three attention theories and investigate their effects on online consumers’ attention and recall across browsing and searching tasks in three laboratory experiments using an eye tracking machine. Experiment 1 found that both motion and looming (animation features) are effective in attracting online consumers’ attention to animated ads when they are performing a browsing task. However, combining a salient feature (e.g., motion) with another salient feature (e.g., looming) does not improve the original attention attraction effect, suggesting a “banner saturation” effect. Further, we found that online consumers’ attention positively affects their recall performance. In Experiment 2, none of the animation features or their interactions had a significant effect when the subjects were performing a searching task, indicating that task is an important boundary condition when applying attention theories. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 1 in a more realistic context and produced similar results. We conclude the paper by discussing theoretical and practical implications as well as avenues for future research.




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