Memory for Web Advertisements: Exploring Effects of Animation, Position, and Product Involvement
Student Researcher

Nokon Heo (PhD Student)

Faculty supervisor

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar

For a complete report of this research, see:

Heo, N., & Sundar, S. S. (2001, May). Memory for Web advertisements: Exploring effects of animation, position, and product involvement. Paper presented to the Mass Communication Division at the 51st annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Washington, DC.


Increasingly, today's Web advertisers rely on animation for their banner ads to grab online users' attention. And, the sheer amount of banner ads in commercial Web sites raises a concern for ad clutter on the Web. This makes the position as an important consideration for Web advertising. Typical products advertised on the Web are such high involving products as automobiles, credit cards, computers, and telecommunication products. Recent research examining the effectiveness of Web advertising indicates that execution features of Web advertising can be effective in generating cognitive responses in Web users. The study investigates the direct and combination effects of three execution features - one structural feature (animation), one formal feature (position), and one content feature (product involvement) ­ upon online users' memory for Web advertisements.


Based on prior research on effects of animation, position, and involvement, the following hypotheses were proposed:

H1: Animated ads will result in better recognition memory than static ads.

H2: Animated ads will result in poorer recall memory than static ads.

H3: Memory for online news content will be poorer when the news is accompanied by animated ads rather than static ads.

H4: Ads positioned near the top of a news page will result in better memory than those near the bottom of a page.

H5: Ad products perceived as high involving will be remembered better than ad products perceived as low involving.

H6: Animated ads will be remembered better than static ads if they feature a low involving product as opposed to a high involving product.


Fifty-seven male and female undergraduate students read 8 separate news stories on the Web and asked to fill out a questionnaire about their memory of the banner advertisements and news stories. Each news story was accompanied by a banner ad positioned either at the top or bottom, either animated or static, or either featured a high or low involving product.


H1 & H2: Not supported. No recall and recognition memory difference was found between animated and static ads.

H3: Not supported. Animation had no effects on news memory.

H4: Not supported. Bottom ads were recalled more than top ads.

H5: Supported. High involving products were recognized more than low involving products.

H6: Not supported. No interaction between animation and product involvement was found.

In addition to main effects and two-way interactions, data analyses revealed several three-way interactions of animation, position, and involvement upon ad recall and story memory.


No animation effects on memory can be interpreted in terms of "Why not moving effects" for static ads. Animation viewed in isolation will not reveal the whole story. The findings suggest that other variables such as position and involvement interact with it. Therefore, a multi-measure approach to investigating animation effects can present a fuller picture. In addition, control of visual and textual information may be needed to fully examine animation and position effects.

For more details regarding the study contact

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar by e-mail at or by telephone at (814) 865-2173

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Media Effects Research Lab at College of Communications, Penn State University