9 Simple Yet Effective Tips to Capitalize on Eye-Tracking Insights

by Jesse Aaron

Last updated on September 6th, 2017

You might think you’ve made the best website, product design or advertising campaign of all time. At the end of the day, however, it really doesn’t matter what you think. Instead, it matters how your customers respond.

In this light, understanding how your customers view your websites, advertisements and product designs can be integral to maximizing your business’s profits. After all, the goal of any business should be to fulfill its mission while catering to its customers as much as it possibly can.

That is precisely where eye-tracking insights come into the equation. In its purest form, eye-tracking refers to technology that studies eye movements so as to better gauge how customers respond to visual stimuli. Whether that stimuli is a digital design, text-based or real-world packaging, marketers stand to gain a lot by studying eye-tracking insights and applying their conclusions to their strategies moving forward.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at nine tips that you can use to make sure you’re getting the most out of your eye-tracking insights.

1. Know Where the “Dead Weight” on Your Website is Visually

Fitts’s Law is the model that tries to predict how humans move between two disparate areas, whether physically or virtually. By applying this concept to your website, you are trying to predict how quickly your customers’ eyes will glide from one piece of content on your site to another and to another.

After all, when you design a website, you have an end goal in mind. Whether that goal is for your audience to get more informed, to buy something or to click on a bunch of pictures, there’s still something you hope your website accomplishes at the end of the day.

heat maps

With eye-tracking insights, you are able to figure out how your customers’ eyes dart across your page. This allows you to determine whether or not their eyes are focusing on the areas you want them to focus on, or if there is virtual “dead weight” on your site that is occupying an unnecessary amount of time and energy.

Once you identify that dead weight, you can restructure your website in such a way that allows for a more fluid movement of the eyes. You can then design your site so as to basically guide your audience’s eyes right to where you want them to go.

2. Cue Your Customers to Look Where You Want Them to Look.

Just what is that model looking at? I want to see it, too.

Believe it or not, the directions the models you use in your advertising are looking can have a profound effect on where your customers themselves are looking. In fact, this recent case study revealed that in a shampoo ad, whether the model was looking at the audience or looking at the product was directly related to exactly where the customers themselves looked.

shampoo eye tracking ad

When the model was looking straight ahead, only 6 percent of customers looked at the product. When the model’s gaze was changed to be looking at the product, an astonishing 84 percent of customers directed their focus there as well.

With this information in mind, you can draw the following conclusion: When you want your customers to look somewhere, it’s in your best interest to make sure you direct the people in your advertisements to look there, too.

You might want to direct your audience’s attention towards call to action, specific pieces of information or contact information, for example. Just make sure they are not wasting their time looking at something that doesn’t really add value.

While the model example is applicable to many industries, there are other ways of directing online visitors without a face. Here’s a great example:

cat case study example

On the newly optimized version of the homepage, they have trimmed the “red” and magnified the “green.” Let’s take a closer look at what that entails.

You’ll notice the Online Customer Tools in the old version took up half of the left sidebar. This has been compacted into one button in the header of the new version, clearing up massive space for a big optimized CTA. This CTA is targeted towards visitors with specific products in mind and flaunts savings/discounts in lower-right box.

A “Find A Sales Rep” button has also been added to the header, which is geared towards informational visitors—the old version had this option, but you’ll notice it was worded differently in the lower left sidebar and did not receive much attention.

Here’s what it looks like today:

cleveland bros

It’s tough to “trim the fat” on your website, especially when you think certain buttons/tools/information are vital, but users do not.

3. Understand the Importance of Video.

Humans are incredibly visual creatures. As such, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re drawn toward digital content that has video.

Whether it’s a sad state of affairs that the average human’s attention span has dipped below that of a goldfish remains a question to be answered. Facts are facts, and in today’s fast-paced world, people just don’t have the time to read a lot of words when the same thoughts can be conveyed in 30-second videos.

attention span stats

A study published by Moz revealed that when video thumbnails were attached to search engine results, the audience was much more likely to focus on that kind of content.

eyetracking serps 3

The takeaway? You should strive to enhance all of your content with videos whenever possible. In other words, your customers are more likely to digest your materials when there are videos attached than when they have to do all the work themselves.

Forget the social commentary. More people want to watch “Game of Thrones” on HBO than read George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” series of books. That’s just the way it is. Forward-thinking marketers understand this and work to cater to their audiences with this in mind.

4. Above the Fold? Yeah, That’s Just a Myth.

In the world of newspapers, journalists and advertisers always wanted to get above the fold.

If you’re not familiar with that terminology, picture a newspaper you pick up off the stand. It’s folded in half. The words and ads you see before opening it is the space that’s referred to as above the fold.

It’s no secret that we digest a bunch of our news and other content digitally these days. A decade or so ago, marketers thought that being above the proverbial fold on the Web was just as attractive as being so in a newspaper.

above the fold

However, studies have repeatedly shown that this is simply not true. Web users do not discriminate when it comes to the content they want to find on a website. In fact, a recent study of 800 Web users found that only three of them let the page fold prevent them from finding specific content on a website.

So, though it might fly in the face of logic, don’t be scared to hide some of your more meaningful content below the fold. Make your customers do a little work to find it, if need be. Another recent study even found that putting a call to action below the proverbial fold increased conversions by a staggering 304 percent.

5. We Have no Attention Span, So Remember the Art of Brevity.

Picture a presidential election 100 years ago, before the real proliferation of television and radio. Newspapers were really the only source of information, save for word of mouth.

Now picture an article that’s focusing on the winner of the presidential election. Who knows how many words such an article would have, but you can imagine that it would break down all sorts of statistics, really taking a deep dive into the election, the trends and the thoughts of politicians and Washington insiders.

Today, those kinds of articles still exist, for sure. In 2012, however, most people probably got all the news they wanted about the presidential election in one sentence: President Obama wins re-election.

nngroup study email scanning

We’ve already gone over how humans have no attention spans. Keep this in mind when it comes to all of your content. Your customers don’t necessarily want to read a 2,000-word tome in an email. In fact, customers scan emails and discard them quickly, so make sure the messages you send really pack a punch.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to frustrate your customers by drowning them in content, and you don’t want to waste your time writing something that no one is going to read. Here are some tips for writing short copy that still gets results.

6. Yes, Different Packaging Can Make a Profound Difference.

There are many reasons why your business might choose to rebrand from time to time. Believe it or not, there’s a documented reason as to why businesses choose to rebrand some of their products.

A recent study revealed that simply by changing the design on the packaging of a salad product following receipt of eye-tracking insights, the company was able to boost sales by 15 percent.

salad change

Clutter causes fatigue, and when things are designed poorly, an exhaustive shopper might not want to spend the mental capacity trying to figure out what a company is trying to advertise or why they should buy one specific product over a comparable substitute.

In the above case study, the company was able to more clearly showcase their product and what it is by changing the color scheme and overall design. Rather than customers’ eyes darting all over the place, the new design drew them all to the center of the package where the product was more explicitly described.

7. You Can Learn a Lot From How Your Audience Uses Your Site.

Let’s say you’ve hired the most convincing Web design team, and they’ve put together a product you think is head and shoulders above your competition.

Although that product might be awesome in your eyes, it turns out that your customers aren’t really sharing the same kind of enthusiasm that you are. Where you see beauty, they see a garbled digital wasteland.

By studying how your audience is using your site, you can figure out how to best target them. For example, you might run a test comparing two different interfaces. You can take the information gleaned from how your customers use both of those sites and work toward providing an alternative, more attractive design.

Re-designs are often rooted in the results of eye-tracking and usability reports. When we notice visitors are using flocking to one area, we can re-design with two things in mind: usability and conversion.

bortek eye tracking example

In the example above, Bortek completely redesigned their site with usability and conversion in mind. Most notably, they used the implications from eye-tracking to create a conversion square with four options optimized for visitor goals. In their old version half of the page is just text. The new version is less than 10% text. 

This completely changes the utility of the homepage. It now acts as a rapid funnel for visitors, sorting them into four types blocks as we can see in the call-to-action square.

8. The Power of Presale Pricing.

We like to think that we are getting the best available whenever we open our wallets. That’s part of the human psyche. As such, whenever we think we are paying less than market price for something, we feel good about our purchasing decision.

In this vein, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a recent study found customers are likely to focus on presale pricing when deciding whether to buy something. In other words, if you’re happy to sell a product for $9.99, you can put a presale price of $12.99 on the packaging, crossed out but visible for comparison purposes.

Even if those presale prices don’t even exist—in other words, you never intended to sell the aforementioned product for $12.99—humans can still be softly conned into buying a product and feeling good about it. A recent study revealed that this phenomenon is indeed true, so you should consider whether it is a tactic that makes sense for your business.

9. Behold, the Power of the Letter F.

If your content isn’t F-shaped, you might be missing out. Huh?

f shape pattern

Eye-tracking studies have shown that Web users are prone to digesting content in F-shaped patterns. In other words, your audience is most likely to read horizontally at the top of your page before reading horizontally again right underneath it. Then, they’ll read vertically down the left-hand side of your website.

The moment you understand this proclivity, you can structure your website accordingly. In doing so, you make sure that your customers are digesting all of the content that you so steadfastly create for them. This helps enhance your customers’ experience and make it more likely that they’ll return to your site to meet their future needs.

Now back to you

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it should get you to start thinking in the right direction. The more data you have relating to eye-tracking insights, the better position you are in to leverage that data and make positive changes to enhance your organization’s bottom line.

For a hard-hitting eye-tracking tool, be sure to check out Crazy Egg. Then let us know how eye tracking data helps your conversions.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Jesse Aaron.

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Jesse Aaron

Jesse Aaron is a community manager at WebpageFX and writes about social media marketing on his blog Mashbout. Jesse is also an avid homebrewer! Follow him on Google+

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  1. Yogesh Shinde says:
    July 14, 2015 at 6:38 am

    I could see that F pattern everywhere specially on the Google search page. this is going to change the marketing soon.

  2. Aahna says:
    October 21, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Hi Jesse,

    Really interesting article and all tips are new to me. I’m certainly going to follow them. I agree with your #9 tip, I too read any article in that way only. You guys are genius, and really do focused research on user behavior.

    • Neil Patel says:
      October 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Aahna, glad we could help. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Ha says:
    October 20, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Great read, especially about the F-shaped content. Thnx for sharing it!

    • Neil Patel says:
      October 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Ha, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for the feedback.

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