Understanding Your Customer’s Attention
- Are your marketing materials effective?
- Can Eye Tracking help your design better ads?
When potential customers or clients look at your web pages, advertisements, or commercials, what do they see? The layout, design, colors, fonts, images and text can influence their buying decisions.
- Where do they look first?
- How do they scan your materials?
- What do they return to for a closer inspection?
- What holds their interest?
Eye tracking technology can help you answer all those questions so you can improve your designs.
The instant your web page, product label or advertisement becomes visible, the viewer’s eyes begin taking it in. Much of how the eye sees things is controlled unconsciously. Research shows that about 50% of the human brain is involved in visual processing. That’s no surprise, since seeing danger and food is essential for survival.
Research has demonstrated that an ad or a website has only a few seconds to create a good impression. Eye tracking studies can help designers understand whether a design is effective in capturing attention and holding it.
Advantages of Guiding Designs with Eye Tracking
Eye tracking studies work with wearable devices like specially equipped eyeglasses to track eye and head movements while subjects view a display, ad, product label or commercial. The data records where the eye looks, how long it gazes in that direction and tracks how subjects scan what they see. Some eye tracking devices also monitor the size of the subjects’ pupils.
Typically, the data is presented as a “heat map” which displays gaze location and duration as colors on a representation of the viewed object.
- Affordable – The hardware and software are inexpensive. Many marketing companies apply this technology.
- Unobtrusive – Current eye-tracking hardware worn by study subjects is often like regular eyeglasses. Lightweight wiring connects it to data collection devices. It is less distracting to subjects.
- Easy data interpretation – The data “heat maps” generated by most eye tracking software provide a clear visual representation of gaze locations paths, along with the duration of gaze.
- Easy data analysis – These studies provide a clear depiction of where and how long subjects look at material. Data can be compared from two or more different design layouts. When combined with pupil size data it can provide some information on emotional responses.
- Combined with other testing methods – It is common to conduct eye tracking studies simultaneously with EEG data collection, facial analysis and biometric data collection like galvanic skin response (GSR), heart rate, and respiration measurements.
Disadvantages of Eye Tracking Market Research
While eye tracking studies are popular, they have limitations. Although they can monitor how an individuals view a specific visual display or advertisement, they offer very limited information about what that means in terms of emotional response or decision-making. They are best used for comparing design concepts and layouts. Where a subject looks, the sequence of scanning the material, and how long the gaze remains on individual elements are useful data, but may not be definitive.
- Unnatural settings – Despite the relatively unobtrusive equipment, subjects are still in an artificial environment. That can make results more difficult to interpret. If additional data is collected with other devices, distraction can be an issue.
- Subject selection – As with all Neuromarketing studies, subjects are unlikely to be actual consumers or customers. Careful selection of subjects who reflect customer demographics can improve the quality of date collected.
- Lack of direct assessment of emotional response – Unless additional measurements are taken, such as pupil size, eye tracking measures only what attracts the subject’s attention and how long the eye lingers on design elements.
Understanding the Your Customers’ Attention
Neuromarketing researchers at many universities have conducted extensive eye-tracking studies. Many of these have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Based on those studies, website and ad designers can access a wealth of information about capturing and holding customers’ attention.
Before investing in eye-tracking devices, data analysis software and doing your own studies, it is worthwhile to review existing studies to avoid duplicating that research. A consultation with a Neuromarketing expert can reveal what has already been learned from eye tracking research. The savings in time and expense could be significant.