What is eye tracking? Definition, use and software

What is eye tracking? Definition, use and software

L’eye tracking, literally “eye tracking”, is also known as gauze tracking, for “gaze tracking”. Eye tracking means in French the technique of oculometry. This technique is based on the principle that sight is a very strained sense, which triggers an intellectual process of acquiring and processing information.

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The eye captures the image, transforms it into a nervous message for the brain which interprets it. Based on this interpretation, the individual feels emotions, makes decisions and performs actions. Illustration: the motorist’s eye captures the image of a red light, the message passes to the brain which deduces that the motorist must stop; the motorist presses the brake pedal.

Observing the visual elements on which attention is focused, as well as the course of the gaze on a scene, makes it possible to understand the cognitive functioning of the individual and to anticipate his reactions. This is the challenge of eye tracking: recording eye movement to find out how the individual interacts with his visual environment. The technique of eye tracking is applicable in marketing, to study consumer behavior and influence it.

Concretely: a tester is faced with a set of visual elements such as advertising posters, websites or even supermarket shelves. The eye tracker records the movement of his eyes and transcribes it on a screen. The screen displays a map that highlights the areas where the gaze has lingered, as well as the path followed by the gaze. The observer thus visualizes the elements which catch the eye, and those which are neglected. On this basis, it is possible to review the layout of all or the appearance of the elements, so as to focus on the most important, for a better marketing impact and an optimized user experience.

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What is eye tracking used for?

Eye tracking is a pillar of neuromarketing, which allows you to understand what catches the consumer’s spontaneous attention. However, the points of attention of the gaze influence decision-making on the one hand, and are the priority entry points for information on the other. Eye tracking therefore allows:

  • To improve the marketing strategy by pushing the key elements of corporate communication.
  • Improve the customer experience by highlighting the information they are looking for as a priority.

In practice, this is used to measure the course followed by the gaze and the fixation time of each visual element.

The uses of eye tracking in traditional marketing

Eye tracking is used in many areas, including marketing and user experience. Illustrations:

  • Merchandising : the point of sale uses the results of eye tracking to organize its shelves in such a way as to highlight its promotions and optimize the customer experience. Example: the eye tracker records priority attention on the yellow labels, and a longer fixation time on the shelves located at a height of 1m60; to push a product, the store places the product at this height and the label in yellow; to improve user comfort, the store has basic everyday products at this location.
  • Packaging: the results of eye tracking reveal the elements of the packaging that attract the eye the most and for the longest time. Put into practice: the brand wants to catch the eye with new packaging; on the basis of the A / B testing technique, the brand shows the consumer 3 different packaging; the results make it possible to decide which packaging attracts the most attention.
  • Posters and flyers: the results of eye tracking show the path taken by the gaze and display the fixation time of the different elements of the visual. Practices: if the brand wants to highlight a low price, the graphic designer positions the price at the location where the eye is first; If the brand finds that the information about free delivery is not seen by the consumer, the graphic designer strategically reposition and rework the appearance of this information.

Eye tracking for digital marketing

The technique of eye tracking has developed at the same time as the uses of digital technology. Professionals use it to study consumer behavior towards the interface of a website or mobile application. Based on the results, the developer is able to propose optimal navigation ergonomics and suggest the navigation path to be taken. In doing so, the company improves the user experience, and therefore customer satisfaction, while serving its business interests.

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  • The company wants to encourage the prospect to read the product characteristics before going to the contact page for a free trial. Based on the eye tracking results, the developer designs the website menu so that the prospect goes first to the “Product characteristics” page, second to the “Contact” page.
  • The company notes on the results of eye tracking that the eye is not attracted to the “Buy” button. The developer repositioned the button and revised its appearance in order to increase its attractiveness, to increase sales.
  • The restaurant owner notices that the Internet user takes a long time to focus on practical information concerning his opening hours and telephone number. To facilitate access to information, the web developer is repositioning and reviewing the design of the practical information insert.
  • Often, a company’s legal notices are at the bottom of the page in small print. This is because eye tracking makes it possible to see that positioned in this way, this element is less visible. However, this is an element rarely necessary for the prospect, mentioned in accordance with legal obligations.

As with the pages of a website or a mobile application, eye tracking is used for e-mails and newsletters. These digital marketing visuals contain a lot of text, and eye tracking offers the opportunity to record the areas most visible to the reader. Therefore, it is possible to determine the most strategic locations to insert a call-to-action button or major information.

Eye tracking equipment

Two tools are necessary for eye tracking: a sensor and software. The tester is equipped with the sensor, and the observer sees the results displayed by the software. The eye tracking session, for relevant results, is carried out with a representative panel of consumers. The session should not be too long, to avoid eye fatigue which skews the results.

Eye tracking sensors

There are 2 types of sensors:

  • The fixed system: the image is displayed on the screen of a computer equipped with an infrared camera. The infrared light directed towards the tester’s eye records his eye movements: the areas looked at and the areas not looked at, the length of attention on each item and the path of the gaze.
  • The mobile system: the tester is equipped with a pair of glasses equipped with a camera, which records eye movements when the tester views the image. This system is suitable for point-of-sale eye tracking, for example.
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Eye tracking software

It is the software that transcribes the results. The software displays several types of cards:

  • The heat map highlights the most viewed areas. The hot spots, in red, are the ones that got the most attention. Cold areas, in blue, are items that are overlooked or briefly looked at. The gradual color palette that appears allows you to establish a hierarchy.
  • The path map retraces the path of the gaze throughout the session, to see the order of discovery of the different elements from the first to the last. The route is signposted or numbered.
  • The blackout card shows the completely ignored areas, thus making it possible to see what the consumer does not see in the image.

The interpretation of these maps makes it possible to know the behavior of the consumer vis-à-vis advertising or the web content displayed.

Examples of eye tracking software

The Tobii Pro Lab software collects and analyzes the results provided by the sensors designed by the Tobii Pro company, of the “glasses” or “bar” type. In particular, the platform displays, in the form of numbering of visual elements, the path followed by the gaze during the eye tracking session.

IMotions software is a comprehensive behavior analysis solution. In addition to eye tracking, the software analyzes, for example, facial expressions to enrich the results.

The GazeRecorder software uses a “webcam” type sensor to collect the information to be analyzed. The results of the eye tracking are displayed on a heat map, with a color palette from orange to green to prioritize the elements according to their visibility.

To take it a step further, download this free and ready-to-use template.Establish the different stages of the customer journey then put in place actions to continuously improve the experience.7 customer journey models HubSpot Community

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