Eye tracking is not a new development at all and is, in short, an eye activity measurement. In a research context, the application of eye tracking includes tracking the line of sight, how the pupil responds to different stimuli, and for how long the eye concentrates in one place, i.e. at a specific stimulus. You wouldn't believe the insight from examining respondent eye behaviour that can be gained-not always a conscious decision.
Modern eye trackers are available in two forms: remote (screen-based or desktop) tracking remote activity and head-mounted (mobile) tracking close-range activity.
· Mounted below or placed near a screen or computer
· In front of the eye tracker, the respondent sits
· Recommended for examining any screen-based stimulation content, including photographs, videos and websites, offline stimuli (magazines, books, etc.) and other small visuals (small shelf tests, etc.) in laboratory settings.
· Fixed to lightweight pieces of eye glass
· The respondent is able to freely walk about,
· Recommended for any real-life or simulated environments (usability tests, product testing, etc.) to observe artifacts and task results.
There are benefits and drawbacks of all forms of eye tracking systems (e.g. delivery, atmosphere and the ability to monitor random results), but they are ultimately available for the use of eye movement tracking for market analysis purposes.
Application of Eye Tracking Technology in Digital Research
The gateway through which we decide what we want to pay attention to is our eyes. A very important skill for any brand's marketing department is to unlock both the conscious and unconscious habits of consumer and future customer interest.
For different purposes, market researchers use eye tracking technology through a range of triggers (websites, packaging, advertisements, and many more) and scenarios, such as the actions of an in-store shopper. The use of eye tracking technology allows the researcher to see literally into the participant 's eyes and what either caught their interest in any given situation and/or what was overlooked. In turn, this data can be analysed to identify patterns between participants (whatever form it can take) to predict the performance of the stimuli. Studies involving some form of visual use of this technology may be applied to scope.
If the researcher did not use eye tracking technology, the researcher relies on participants' conscious memory to provide a reliable account when asking a participant to explain their feelings towards a piece of stimuli, in what order they perceived it, how long they lingered over those fields, etc.
The researcher has the physical data from real-time experience with eye tracking technology, not only making the study more accurate, but also more comprehensive.
A consideration here, too, is virtual reality. It has the ability to save time and money for both corporations and researchers. Virtual reality allows the participant to be immersed in a situation where their world (360 degrees) is dictated by what is seen on their headset, so you can virtually take them there instead of the participant walking physically into a store to experience it.
Fove, a company founded in 2014 in San Francisco, has created a headset that incorporates virtual reality and eye tracking. This currently has a powerful application in the gaming industry, where eye gestures are used to monitor elements of the game. However, the possibilities for such a technique in market research are endless as this technology evolves and other businesses join and build their position within the market.
Adding Value to Digital Research
In response to stimuli, observing the visual path of participants will detect patterns of both similarities and differences in participant behaviour. It can be used to see what was seen and when and what was missed, offering an overall view of how the person saw the stimulus or experience.
Eye tracking technology can provide the researcher with physical awareness of what is enticing and attention grabbing and what is less likely to cause a reaction or behaviour in the sense of a market research project where stimuli are reviewed or an event has been studied. A good tool for researchers is to be able to show proof like this.
In the sense of business implementation, businesses in the production of their marketing campaigns, website designs, in-store layouts and displays may use the knowledge from virtual reality and/or eye tracking technologies. The list is endless.
Eye tracking technology has a lot to offer market research and as virtual reality's capacity and popularity increases, I think the combined use of these technologies will also be for both business and pleasure.