What is Eye Tracking?

Wouldn’t it be great to know what immediately attracts the attention of a reader to an email or website. Whether the layout and design is drawing attention to the correct places in the mail, or important information is being missed because of bad placement. Eye tracking is a technology used to see where viewers look when visiting a website or reading an email, what attracts their attention, and how long it takes them to find important details.

The Technology Behind Eye Tracking

There are two different types of eye tracking devices:

  1. Stationary, remote eye trackers.
  2. Head-mounted, mobile eye trackers.

These devices use near-infrared technology and a high-resolution camera to track the movement of the user’s eyes. The near-infrared light is directed towards the pupil which causes visible reflections in the cornea. A camera integrated in the device then tracks these reflections.

The Benefits of Eye Tracking

Businesses are always looking for effective marketing strategies to help turn prospective contacts into leads, then into buying customers. Email has proven itself to be the best digital marketing tool, with an ROI of 3800% – DMA National Client Email Report 2015. A number of invaluable insights have been found from eye tracking, which we can apply to our marketing mailers.

A good value proposition draws attention: Subscribers are attracted to information that explains how they profit from a product or service, and why they should take further action. By making the value proposition the heading of an email, subscribers immediately get a sense of whether they are interested or not.

Eyes automatically focus on CTAs: The Call To Action (CTA) button is an important aspect of the mailer. Statistics by LookTracker have proven that a CTA works much better than hyperlinked text. This is because a button stands out better than text. It can have varying designs, sizes, colour, and more.

Use the Inverted Pyramid Design: Research by LookTracker revealed that the inverted pyramid design worked best for drawing attention to a particular area on a mailer. The design places a wide eye-catching headline, draws attention down to smaller but informative text in the middle and finally towards a CTA as the end point of the pyramid.

Note how subscribers read content: Kissmetrics and Nielsen Norman Group have proven that a majority of web users spend their time viewing the left half of a page. They also found that readers create an “F” reading pattern, reading the first content horizontally then down the page to the next horizontal content and continuing all the way down. This did not change when they read on different screen sizes such as a desktop or a mobile device. This means the first two paragraphs are the most important pieces of your text. If it does not hook the reader in, they will barely read further.

Be careful of text length: Longer paragraphs negatively affect the number of clicks a CTA gets. Most people quickly scan the text for keywords or skip to the end, losing interest if nothing stands out. If your text is too long readers won’t bother clicking your CTA, if they even get that far. Long text should be broken into shorter paragraphs and interspersed with images.

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Be aware of text formatting: A short summary written in large font is noticed earlier than any other text. The downside is that it might distract readers from the text. Also note that centred text has been proven to be difficult for readers to focus on. Rather keep the text aligned to the left. Framed text also draws the reader’s attention better than floating text.

Use images effectively: Researchers from EDISONDA Studio and unbounce.com found that our attention is strongly drawn to faces. Test subjects focused more on faces than they did on the products presented by the models in the images. Another study by Kissmetrics also showed that we follow the gaze of the person in an image, which is useful for CTAs or any important information.

  • Readers are also more likely to remember the image of a product than a face, even if the product is shown without any context.
  • Headers with numbers get more attention than the same information in written form, for example ‘50%’ works better than ‘half price’.
  • Logos and images placed on the left or middle draw more attention that those placed on the right.
Take Advantage of These Insights

There are a large number of studies dedicated to eye-tracking trends and online human behaviour. The information gained is invaluable when it comes to creating effective marketing campaigns, and building websites. Although the list above isn’t comprehensive, the knowledge gained gives you the upper hand for your next amazing campaign.