Monday, April 20, 2009

Sexually-enticing banner ads may boost CTR

A recent banner ad for a legitimate online dating service appears to promise salacious images of local singles. As visible in the accompanying ad, the banner features a visual of an attractive woman on her back looking suggestively at he viewer. Simply click to see more. positions itself as an "online relationship service" that offers a safer and more secure matchmaking experience. The company promises to prosecute married members or convicted criminals. In addition, boasts proprietary software designed to enhance matchmaking success. However, none of these features are promoted recent online ads. What is the selling point?: The opportunity to look at sexy women in your town.

A 2004 article in Nature Neurosicence adds credence to's approach. The researchers found with the help of MRI that men are much more "interested in and responsive to visual sexually arousing stimuli than are women." The researchers attribute the response to men's highly activated amygdala response. In short, visual stimuli plays a large role in men's sexual behavior.

Safety? Proprietary research? All fine, but the allure of "appetitive and biologically salient stimuli" is sure to boost click-through-rates in this and similar banner ads for dating services.

Hamann, Stephan, Rebecca Herman, Carla Nolan, and Kim Wallen (2004). Men and women differ in amygdala response to visual sexual stimuli, Nature Neuroscience, 7, 411-416.

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