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Why marketers cannot afford to ignore eye tracking technology

Why marketers cannot afford to ignore eye tracking technology

Viewers of BBC London and BBC1’s 'Inside Out' last night (November 24, 2009) might have caught a special report on how eye tracking technology is shaping advertising, retail marketing and POS practices.

Eye tracking expert Iain Janes, from the Mail Media Centre, explained the science behind eye tracking, set out how this marketing research technique works, the different technologies used and how the results can be applied to boost campaign and product design and development.

It was a snapshot into an importance science that brands and marketers should be aware of at the very least, if not utilising.

Eye tracking is an innovative research technique that allows researchers to monitor both the conscious and the sub-conscious gaze movements of a respondent; essentially, to work out where someone is looking and what it is about the object of their gaze that has caught their attention.

It is used in many different ways – product design (including cars and mobile phones), store layout, ATM design and the layout and design of a variety of print and web media.

The technique enables the researcher to build up a detailed understanding of what a respondent is looking at, and the order in which they look at different elements of, say a magazine page, TV ad or a supermarket display.

It’s difficult to get this depth of understanding via standard research techniques such as focus groups or customer surveys.

By accessing the ‘mind’s eye’ of consumer cognition, researchers can arrive at precise conclusions and make accurate recommendations to improve the way in which products and services are designed and marketed.

“Although eye-tracking technology has been in existence for over 40 years, it’s only really in the past five years that technical advances have allowed the methodology to move out of the academic research environment into the commercial research arena,” added Janes.

“The latest eye-tracking systems are not only cheaper but also considerably easier to use than the previous solutions found in the lab five or 10 years ago.”

To find out more about eye tracking, click the attachment link below.

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