The “Eyes” Have It!

Stephen Yagielowicz
As the online marketspace continues to tighten, website operators and other e-marketers are seeking out new solutions and deploying constant refinements in order to acquire, and maintain, a competitive advantage.

One of these solutions is the use of eyetracking studies on targeted demographic groups while surfing a specified website, ad or email.

The premise is simple: surfers don’t necessarily look where you want them to – or expect they will. This can keep them from seeing – and clicking on – your ads or other links; and the only way you can really tell what and where the problem is, is by studying their eye movements as they glance across the page.

Sure, most marketers already measure their creative’s effectiveness by monitoring its conversion rates, but this tells only part of the story: You might, for example, be trying to tweak your sales text to give it a better “pitch” in hopes of improving conversions; but an eye-movement analysis might reveal that surfers aren’t even reading it… Eye-movement analysis would show you where to move your pitch to make it pull dramatically better.

Check out what the folks at Eyetools are doing: according to their website, “Clients typically use our data to guide the redesign of their website (or shopping cart, or email campaign, or landing pages) to make sure that what they want people to be reading on their website is, in fact, read. Clients also use our data to understand why their click-throughs are low, and how they can be improved.”

Eyetools does this by generating heatmaps that show what parts of the page are actually “seen” and read or acted upon. You can see a practical application of the results of this testing by checking out its Google study, which is of interest to all adult webmasters.

While I haven’t made use of this system, I think it represents a fabulous example of the convergence of technology and marketing, and is simply a brilliant way to find an edge. Eyetools’ findings on Google and other programs of interest make the detailed case studies a good investment for those into paid placement.