This is a continuation of a preview post. Go back to the beginning here.

What are the steps of an eye tracking study?

The Study

For the results of the eye tracking study to be valid, the study itself must be performed using a rigorous research methodology. What this means is that the study should be performed in a scientific manner. This is often a point of confusion as some people claim that eye tracking is not a science but rather qualitative and subjective. This is both true and false. It is true that eye tracking data can be analyzed in a qualitative way. The analysts can draw subjective inferences from the eye tracking data. However, the validity of these interferences depends upon the validity of the data upon which they are founded. In order for the data to be valid, it must be collected in a scientific fashion. Failure to do so will not only lead to validity problems with the data but will seriously undermine the validity of any inferences drawn from the data.

The Analysis

At its most basic level, eye tracking data reduces to a series of point of regard coordinates. For screen-based test media, this can be a data file containing time-stamped screen coordinates of the panelist’s eye gaze. This data needs to be analyzed to gain useful insights from the study. What can be done? Well, there are many useful eye tracking metrics. For instance, it is possible to track every glance panelists make on the product as and when it appears on the screen. To do this, the product visuals are tracked within the advertisement and are intersected with the test subjects’ point of regard coordinates. This will allow the analyst to quantify the panelist’s focus of attention on the product and monitor their level of attention over time. Basically, if a metric involves viewer’s focus on attention to media visuals, it can be measured.

The Interpretation

Provided the eye tracking data has been collected in a valid way and processed so as to produce useful information, the eye-tracking analyst will provide you with a rigorous set of data and metrics relating to the viewer’s engagement with the advertisement and highlight potential problem areas. The eye tracking data will be complemented with panelist self-reported data. Respondents will be questioned about problem areas within the media and their overall level of recall of branding information will be assessed. Where retention of key marketing messages is wanting, the analyst will review the respondents’ eye tracking data to try to discover what went wrong.

The Benefits

Consider the benefits of running eye tracking studies against prospective marketing campaigns before they are launched. The visual behavior analysis could identify problems with a campaign which could be corrected before the campaign begins. This has the potential to make campaigns more effective and allow you to avoid the situation where viewers are watching your advertisement with little idea of what you are trying to sell.

Also published on Medium.