Eye tracking technology is relatively easy to understand. It measures exactly where the eye is looking, and this information can then be used to analyse what you’ve looked at, when you looked at it and how long you looked. The technology can also be used to interact with a computer, for example the mouse pointer or double clicks.
Eye tracking is often used in the media industry to measure awareness and responses to advertisements, both printed and digital.
“Eye tracking is used by consumer companies in market research, but just as often by major companies in their development work on new products and packaging,” explains Ali Farokhian, continuing:
“Sweden’s a small market for us. People are more inclined to use eye tracking in analyses in Japan and the USA, and to some degree in the UK.” Consumers are more heterogeneous now than ever before.
“It’s becoming more and more difficult to understand how different consumer groups behave and thing, while at the same time companies have high demands for a positive ROI on each activity. This means that result and effect are a must - in all communication initiatives,” says Ali Farokhian. What companies want to access is peoples’ objective, natural responses.
To which shapes are we attracted? What do we look at?
“They want to access the reptilian complex. You don’t reach it via traditional market research surveys, which require us to verbalise our behaviour,” he explains. We humans also tend to want to depict things as being a bit better than they are.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in an innovation process, eye tracking is ideal in both the creative part and in production or in the evaluation phase. Ideally at all stages. So you get the full benefit of it,” explains Ali Farokhian.
Tests in any environment at all
And as the technology is now mobile, you’re not tied to a computer workstation to perform the measurements. With a pair of glasses with an integrated eye tracker, you can conduct tests in any environment at all.
“The most common kind is in-store tests – what attracts people most on the shelf.” But the technology is also used in research and product development.
Can you trick an eye tracker?
“You can trick anything ... but when you’re conducting studies you don’t reveal the purpose, nor do you provide too much information. So I’d say no, you can’t.” Eye tracking is ideal for measuring online presence.
“Because no one’s looking to find out the click rate. You want proof that the campaign is having an effect.”
“And I’d say that eye tracking is the only method that can measure whether or not your advert is generating an effect online.”
“But,” says Ali Farokhian, “it’s always important to supplement an eye tracking test with more sources, interviews for example. Because you don’t always know why people are looking at a certain place in your message. It might just as well be because people hate your advert.”
“Eye tracking is an extra variable that brings you one step closer to the truth,” he says.