Gaze tracking has quickly become a popular tool for market researchers, advertisers, and customer engagement specialists. Rarely applied in live environments, it’s mostly used in testing and research to precisely assess consumer reactions to products, websites, ads, store layouts, and the overall customer experience.
What is it?
Gaze tracking monitors an individual’s eye activity — including eye movements, point of gaze, pupil dilation, and blinking — using eye tracking devices. This data can then be analyzed to discover how that person responds to visual information like a website or a product ad, including what they focus on, ignore, or return to.
It’s enabling marketers, advertisers, customer experience designers, and product developers to precisely understand how customers react and respond to everything from store layouts to visual advertisements — helping them drive higher customer engagement.
What’s in for you?
With a wide range of applications, gaze tracking can be a useful tool — especially for research into consumer behavior. It can be used to drive sales growth.
In physical stores, being able to see what draws people’s attention and what they ignore can take the guesswork out of everything from packaging design to store layouts.
It can also give greater detail into user experiences on websites and mobile applications. You can see the pages and visual information that customers are most drawn to, how long they spend looking there, what they ignore, and where you may be losing engagement. That enables you to optimize the experience in the right areas to increase engagement and sales.
What are the trade offs?
Gaze tracking can’t be used in isolation. It can see where people are looking, but it can’t provide insight into why. Nor can it tell you whether a certain visual stimulus — for instance, a big, flashing banner — will actually stay in the mind of the user.
Specialized eye-tracking equipment is also expensive, and screen-based eye trackers require laboratory conditions and specialist expertise. These conditions can cause false results, as the person whose gaze is being tracked may not behave as they would under natural conditions.
How is it being used?
In recent years, gaze-tracking technology has significantly advanced. Now, it’s being used by large enterprises for consumer behavior and market research.
For example, GlaxoSmithKline recently launched a “consumer sensory lab”, which uses eye-tracking technology to test products. Designed to look and feel like a real store, the Shopper Science Lab analyzes real customers as they browse and shop. That enables GSK to understand how customers interact with products, the packaging they are drawn to, and how they navigate the store — all informing future product development.