Eye tracking obviously offers insights that can not be obtained by other means. There are already numerous established standard methodologies within market research using eye tracking, for example methodologies for testing print ads, packages and shelf configurations. As mentioned, these methodologies provide valuable information that would otherwise not be possible or very hard to obtain. Furthermore current standard in eye tracking offers reliability and objectivity. Therefore eye tracking has definately earned it’s place on the palette of methodologies that can and should be considered for marketing research.
Usability is probably the most widely known applications of eye tracking. This methodology does not only offer value for optimization of websites by removing obstacles for users: evaluate the process of finding key information and buying buttons on websites. Eye tracking based usability in website testing is furthermore relevant for marketing research: test if and how banner advertisements on webpages are noticed.
As a marketing research organisation you might have decided to offer existing and future clients something extra on top of standard, well known methodologies. End-clients may have shown interest in neuromarketing, however for the average marketing research company neuroscience based methodologies like EEG measurement and brainscannings are simply out of reach – these methods are not only for experts they also require a large investment in equipment, education and time.
Furthermore results are hard to interpret and none the less – communicate to end clients. Although eye tracking does not answer the same questions as these aforementioned neuromarketing technologies, it does give insights into both subconscious and conscious processes in the brain and at the same time eye tracking results are often very easy to understand: how many respondents looked at what elements at what time? End-clients have the benefit of transparency, they themselves do not necessarily have to be experts in eye tracking to appreciate the conclusions of an eye tracking study.
Not only can eye tracking deliver an objective measure of advertisement effectiveness (or other problems), the results and visualizations (heatmaps, AOIs etc.) of such studies can help sparkle discussions that serve to share knowledge and promote creativity within the end-clients team.
An organisation can chose to apply eye tracking as a standard methodology. For example all new packaging designs should undergo the same eye tracking evaluation in pre-testing. Doing this, long term benefits can be obtained which will maximize ROI on the investment already committed to eye tracking hardware, software and time spent integrating this into the organisation. Standardization is usually implemented by means of using a well defined methodology consistent over time combined with a database where results are stored. A so called benchmark database is an excellent tool for adding value to new data using legacy data. Furthermore having a benchmark database of eye tracking data can easily be a strong differentiation parameter for a marketing research company.