Banners Rocket Fuel Advertising

Online ads featuring men are four times more effective than ads with women

By Shandah Graham, Intern

May 5, 2015 | 3 min read

Consumers are four times more likely to respond positively to online ads featuring men than they are women, according to a new study.

Online banners featuring men average 102 per cent higher conversion rates than those without a person in them compared to 25 per cent for women, revealed a Rocket Fuel study of 38,151 banner ads across 2,184 marketing initiatives over six months. Ads that feature both men and women together underperform, claimed the study, with a 15 per cent lower conversion rate.

The entertainment industry has the greatest gender bias. Some 41 per cent of adverts for entertainment products ranging from films to theatre productions featured male celebrities whilst only 8 per cent of adverts featured female celebrities. The adverts with male celebrities had a 670 per cent higher conversion rate than ads featuring female celebrities.

Altogether, ads featuring humans averaged 4 per cent higher conversions than those that didn’t feature a person of either gender.

Other key findings from the report included:

  • Red backgrounds had 31% higher conversion rates than average.
  • Grey backrounds had 8% lower conversion rates than average.
  • Product images have 6% higher conversion rates than those without.
  • Animated ads have a 7% higher conversion rate.
  • 6-9 second animations have the highest rate of conversion 138%.
  • A logo placed in the lower left corner have 81% higher conversion rates than those with a logo placed anywhere else.
  • Ads that include offers have on average a 98% higher conversion rate than those that don’t.

“Some might look at the data and conclude that it over-prescribes creative opportunities,” said Eric Porres, Rocket Fuel CMO. “But we think the opposite is true. The data illuminates what has worked well in the past, but it doesn’t limit the discovery of what might work in the future. One of the best benefits of programmatic is that it enables affordable and fast real-world testing of literally any idea or hypothesis you can imagine. It opens possibilities—it doesn’t close them.”

Banners Rocket Fuel Advertising

More from Banners

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +