Can we control where we look? It's a difficult question to answer, but our biology can sometimes work in favor of technology developers who have begun collaborating with professionals in the world of marketing and advertising. It's unlikely you've ever attempted to keep track of where your eye wanders as you navigate the search results page of Yahoo or Google. However, there are certainly a number of companies interested in eye-tracking software that can accurately measure the effectiveness of specific images, designs and other content in catching your attention.
While the majority of the development of eye-tracking software has occurred in the video gaming industry, there is a huge potential for the technology in mapping out marketing strategies. One question that many people likely have is: How does it work? First, it should be established that not all computing devices come equipped with the technology necessary to track your eye movements.
Looking to the Gaming Industry As you'd imagine, first generation iPods will not help you here. However, technology manufacturers like Danish startup The Eye Tribe are working toward creating gaming platforms and applications that are controlled through the movement of our eyeballs. TechCrunch indicated the company has recently unveiled a USB accessory that can be attached to Windows-based devices, including tablets, laptops and PCs. As it stands, this technology is geared toward gaming developers and is largely voluntary for users. The $99 Eye Tracker allows software-makers to incorporate the technology into their own products without a lot of trouble. CEO Sune Alstrup Johansen told the tech website the company has plans to deliver the technology to consumers in the future as more gaming software is developed with eye-tracking in mind.
How can this Translate to Advertising? Although the recent release of the iPhone 5S/5C has taken center stage in the general tech world, Google Glass still represents a giant leap forward in computing and mobile technology. The U.K.-based newspaper Daily Mail reported companies may be on the verge of paying Google to track the ocular movement of Glass owners as they walk down the street and navigate the Internet, hands free. In fact, the Gaze Tracking System has already been patented, which allows businesses to keep track of where users look and how long they view a particular part of the screen. Here's how businesses could collaborate with Google to utilize this technology:
- As someone wearing Google Glass views a particular website and their gaze falls upon a specific image or text, Google could be prompted to show that person an ad that correlates to whatever they're viewing.
- Imagine that an individual walking down the street stops to stare at particular clothing item or food product. Google provides them with a list of neighborhood restaurants or boutiques accompanied by an exclusive offer.
Small Data Creating Big Data In fact, Search Engine Journal highlighted the benefit of eye-tracking technology for e-commerce. Marketers often put a premium on conversion rate, and our eyes are apparently naturally drawn to media, according to the SEO website. As a result, websites that are largely text-based are losing out to those that incorporate video and robust pictures. While expensive, eye-tracking software built into a website can provide a company with a vast amount of information.
- Faces are attractive: We are biologically drawn to watch each other's facial expressions to get nonverbal cues and, in spite of the fact that ads are generally stagnant, our eyes still respond to the direction in which someone is looking in an ad.
- When left is right: SEJ reported website visitors look at the left side of the screen 69 percent of the time. Consequently, Web designers and marketers should collaborate on what content is placed on the left portion of their sites.
As technology crosses barriers, businesses can benefit from these innovations to improve their bottom lines and return on investment.