Eye tracking research - could it help your business?

Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 11.56.36 For most businesses, an online presence is arguably one of the most important things to have, frequently being the first port of call for customers and stakeholders alike. With this in mind, both start up and established businesses set aside precious budget to ensure their websites are full of relevant information and the latest technical features. All very well but few sites are tested before launch which means they may look good but not be of much practical use. In short, if you’re not converting visits into sales, there is probably a good reason for it.

An interesting product that can help with this is Eye Tracking, offered by North East research agency Other lines of enquiry North, which combines technology that records eye movements with additional interview data to give an insight into screen-based media activity.

As applicable to on-screen advertising and sponsorship campaigns as it is to video and TV, when testing website usability eye tracking data effectively shows how users look at a web page before choosing to click on a particular item or link.

Fiona Raglan, founder of Other lines of enquiry North, explains: “Taking a very basic example, your special offer in the right hand corner may be bright orange and flash because that’s where you want people to look and click, but it might be an icon centre left that is catching attention and distracting customers. If the job in hand is to buy something, that’s potentially a big issue.

“Eye tracking can be helpful when your website really needs to deliver ROI or if you need to test various design layouts. It’s also great for establishing the best placement of online banner ads.

“Numerous outputs and statistics can be generated from this type of research. Visual data includes heat maps, gaze plots and cluster analysis - a great way to display quite complex analysis and also really bring presentations 'to life'. Ultimately, for a small spend at the outset, businesses can save a lot of money in the long run.”

Certainly an interesting concept that can potentially radically change your content layout for the better.

Of course, like other organisations Other lines of enquiry North also offers a direct response service from website users. This involves web visitors being given a job sheet (much like a discussion guide) that asks them to complete various tasks, from finding an item and looking for something complementary to logging in and buying something. As they progress through the workbook, respondents talk through what they are doing as well as any issues via a microphone and their screens are recorded, which helps highlight the things they don’t understand. The process identifies what they like and don’t like – critical when easy navigation is the key to achieving both happy customers and quick sales.

As Fiona says: “Businesses want to understand what people think of their website, why no one has clicked on their promotions or how they can make their products easier to find. This methodology allows companies and brands to improve the online customer journey and delivers some very powerful data, particularly when used with the Eye Tracking service.

“Although we can provide help at any point, businesses most benefit when the research is carried out up front. In this way they get their website right first time, which avoids them having to spend more time and money having to amend things while sales are being lost.”

Research and evaluation are often elements of the marketing process that organisations find it hard to budget for. In fact, both are key to getting the greatest ROI from your spend because they inform activity and ensure it is resonating with your target audiences. Whether you’re a web design agency, in film production or advertising, or an organisation that wants to ensure its online presence is working as hard as it could, what Other lines of enquiry North has to offer is well worth a look.