Ever wondered marketeers tracking human eyes for market research? This is exactly what researches do now a days, which is a form of market research technique called “Eye-Tracking”. Eye-Tracking is a tool to accurately measure consumer’s attention and instinctive response of a marketing message. Using this tool, advertisers can actually enhance, design or redesign advertisements. With consumers being exposed to hundreds of advertisements on television, magazines, hoardings and the internet, companies use Eye Tracking technique to monitor the responsiveness of the consumers on their visual marketing campaigns. Eye-Tracking gives solutions to the essential questions in real time by tracking visual behaviour of the consumers in the advertising situation. This gives the researchers valuable benefit of information which traditional data may fail to give. In United States and Europe, companies such as P&G, Unilever, Pepsi Co and Kraft Foods widely use this technique to see if their ads are effective enough.
Now through Eye-Tracking technique, consumers have to move their eyes to closely process a specific object or location in a visual marketing stimulus because the sharpness of the retina of a human eye rapidly falls off from the fovea, which is the central and the most sensitive part of the retina which is directly opposite to the lens. This makes it very interesting to study the eye movements for gathering information. With advanced technology, Eye-Tracking is now being tacked through computerized eye tracking systems which registers the eye movement through infra-red technique and pattern detection. The most advantageous benefit of this software is that the person does not have to wear a helmet which does not impart his vision and lets the person have a natural view of the visual marketing stimuli. This helps the researches get a movement-to-movement measure of the consumer’s eye contact who are being exposed to visual marketing stimuli including T.V commercials, print media, online and mobile marketing, out of home and in-store marketing etc. which helps them study the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns.
Practically speaking, Eye-Tracking is used in market research for identifying what shoppers see and ignore including point-of-sale displays, product categories or print advertisement while shopping for products. It becomes an important criterion in evaluating different options and to understand why certain designs and approaches are not effective in the visual marketing context. It is also used for doing an on-shelf assessment and to test proposed packaging and in-store merchandising before launching a product into the market. This helps the researcher to understand the shopping behaviour and ultimately helping them in their decision making process. Eye-Tracking also helps the researcher to determine what kind of visual marketing messages would work for the consumers and also helps in determining why the marketing messages have failed.
Now, with a new generation of mobile Eye-Tracking glasses being available, makes Eye-Tracking research even more effective and reliable. While there are numerous advantages of Eye-Tracking technique, it fails to provide data on emotions that influence the consumer while shopping. Brand leaders would also love to know the emotional factors of choosing a particular product by the consumer, as this would only help them get a broad picture about the visual merchandising of the product/brand. Also Eye-Tracking is a very expensive technique and many companies may not be able to use this kind of marketing research tool.
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