Eye-Tracking Heatmaps Track Where Consumers are Looking

Eye-Tracking Heatmaps Track Where Consumers are Looking

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UNITED STATES - Catching and holding a customer's eye is a marketer's chief goal, and now with new technology by the company Sticky, we are able to measure exactly what draws a customer's attention with more precision than ever before. When a consumer looks at a product's packaging or at an ad, Sticky's technology is able to track the path of their gaze, measure how long a customer looks at what part of the image, and record the order in which they looked at each part. As Business Insider showed, this is displayed visually for the marketer in a heatmap, that same tried and true technology baseball managers have been using for the last decade to break down a hitter's swing before game day.

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Highlight the Product

What can these heatmaps teach us? Take a look at this one breaking down a customer's thought process when looking at a packaged meat product.

Eye-Tracking Heatmaps Track Where Consumers are LookingAs Business Insider noted, before anything else, the customer's gaze is immediately drawn to the product itself. This underscores the importance of the old marketing maxim that the product, not the packaging should be center stage. Customers want to know what they're going to buy and visually imagine it as part of the dinner they'll be preparing for their families later that night.

Price Is Key

0.6 seconds after examining the product, the customer's eye moves over to the product's label, where the price of the item is prominently displayed. Especially in this time of tight budgets, price is key to consumers. This is further supported in another heatmap showing where customers look when choosing which type of milk to buy.

Eye-Tracking Heatmaps Track Where Consumers are LookingTheir focus is largely on the price, scanning from item to item to see where to get the best deal.

Left of Center

Another interesting lesson we can learn from these heatmaps can be taken from the image featuring what consumers look at when entering into a store.

Eye-Tracking Heatmaps Track Where Consumers are LookingIt reveals that customers focus the majority of their attention on products located just slightly left of center in a store's display. Products located in these spots received substantially more attention than their counterparts, an important insight for marketers considering that they often only have seconds to catch a customer's attention before they're already well away to another aisle.

Joe Maddon and his assistant coaches with the Tampa Bay Rays have been using heat maps for years to help dissect opposing pitchers and hitters to give their players the leg up on game day. As Business Insider notes, thanks to Sticky and companies like it, these same techniques are now increasingly available to retail marketers looking to hit a home run with their latest cherry packages or celery snack packs. They promise to be a valuable tool, giving us important insights as to how to best tell a product's story and create a strong and lasting connection with the customer.