Eye tracking is a method of collecting data on visual behavioral habits without requiring any self-reporting. It tracks where the viewer’s eye goes on a page in order to determine qualities like the type of information they view, what draws their attention, what distracts form their attention, what order the individuals viewed the ad, and so on. Many companies have started looking toward eye tracking as a data collection method with the hope to learn more about their products.
Strengths of This Type of Data Collection
Eye tracking has several benefits that make it useful for many types of companies. Some of these benefits include:
- “Unnoticed” Data
The brain processes far more information than the viewer necessarily realizes. That’s one of the goals of branding. It’s not always important that the individual gets to know your brand. What’s important is that their brain recognizes it so that they can see it fondly. That’s what eye tracking will tell you in a way that few other data collection methods can – where the eye goes, what it sees, what order, what draws attention, etc. All of this may not even be noticed by anyone in the sample, but it’s all important for product research and satisfaction.
- Complete Accuracy
Eye tracking data also cannot be prone to inaccuracies, because – provided you’re using working tools – there’s no judgment calls by the machine. The machine knows exactly where you’re looking, and marks it accordingly. Few other styles of research are 100% accurate. While not all of the information you receive means anything, you can at least guarantee the accuracy of that information.
- Easy Follow Up Data
When your goal is to get the eye to go to a specific point on a page, or to view products in a specific order, etc., the effects of the changes you make can be seen immediately. Changing someone’s mind or what they’ve predetermined about your product can take a lot of time. Changing where someone is looking when they see a page can be seen immediately after the change is made. This means that you can immediately find if your changes had an effect – something that almost no other data collection technique can claim.
It’s easy to see why eye tracking is a popular form of data collection. There are weaknesses that make it less valuable when used independently of other research techniques, but as a complementary piece it can be very interesting.