Apple wants to help advertisers overcome ‘banner blindness’

Apple has been granted a patent (number 20170221106) for “interaction-aware advertising for minimizing banner blindness.” The goal of the invention is to make digital ads more noticeable.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that advertisers generally configure their digital advertisements to be displayed along with media content accessed by the user. The digital advertisement is typically presented as a display banner at a fixed position in the screen of the user's device, to allow the user to view the advertisement as he or she accesses media content from the device. 

However, display advertising using fixed, or static, position banners is prone to “banner blindness,” which overtime reduces its effectiveness and efficacy for conversion. Banner blindness is used to describe a common phenomenon, where users consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information when they browse through content. This phenomenon is also present in the context of display banner advertising on mobile devices. 

In the patent filing, Apple says that current banner technologies have significant limitations, and, in many cases, are ineffective, particularly in the mobile context.  The company wants to change this.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “First, the system concurrently displays, via a graphical user interface, an advertisement and application content. Next, the system detects a user interaction with the application content. Based on the user interaction, the system then locks the advertisement within a viewable area of display for concurrent display at the graphical user interface with a portion of the application content, wherein the advertisement is configured to remain locked until an unlocking event is detected.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.