Unlocking the Future: How Eye Tracking Will Revolutionize Marketing

Eye tracking feels like a superpower. By seeing exactly where people look, marketers gain X-ray vision into the consumer mind.

This guide will uncover how eye tracking is transforming digital experiences and empowering smarter product design. Read on to discover the immense opportunities from leveraging vision powered insights.

Introduction: The Rising Adoption of Eye Tracking Tech

While around for decades in university labs, eye tracking technology is finally reaching mainstream business applications thanks to rapid innovation.

As eye tracking hardware improves and costs decline, adoption is accelerating:

  • Global spending on eye tracking projected to reach $6 billion by 2028 (31% CAGR) [Grand View Research]
  • Oslo Airport uses Tobii eye tracking to understand traveler wayfinding and optimize signage
  • Greater than 50% of Fortune 500 companies have used eye tracking studies, including leaders like P&G, Netflix, PepsiCo and Google

But how exactly does eye tracking work – and what can it uncover?

A Primer on Eye Tracking Technology

Eye trackers use cameras and infrared illumination to determine precisely where someone is looking. Algorithms translate visual data tracked to the millimeter into insights like:

  • Heatmaps showing intensity of visual attention
  • Fixation metrics quantifying focus
  • Gaze plots visually mapping scan paths

This gaze data reveals remarkable insights into consumer engagement, preference and decision making.

For example, eye tracking can uncover:

  • Elements capturing attention – and being ignored – in ads
  • Usability issues causing falloff on websites
  • Where packaging stands out – or gets lost – on shelves
  • When shopper interest peaks or wanes in-store

With accuracy within 1 degree on advanced models, eye tracking leaves conscious surveys in the dust. Uncover how people implicitly react versus what they say.

As prices drop and capabilities grow, every marketer must brace for an eye tracking revolution.

14 Best Eye Tracking Software Tools to Power Visual Insights

A robust ecosystem of software exists to conduct eye tracking studies and turn visual data into actionable insights.

Here are 14 top solutions purpose-built for marketing and UX research:

1. Sticky by Tobii – User friendly manager for Tobii research grade eye trackers

2. EyeSee – Affordable webcam eye tracking for DIY research

3. Pupil Labs – Open source software for custom research applications

4. xLabs – Full service eye tracking research consultancy

5. CoolTool – Implicit emotion measurement beyond eye tracking

6. TrueImpact – Enterprise research platform with massive normative database

7. EyeSee Research – webcam software for rapid concept evaluations

8. MEDIACLOUD Eye Tracking – Package testing software leveraging facial tracking

9. GazePoint – Eye tracking metrics for marketing content tests

10. AttentionTool – Video ad testing software with emotional analysis

11. Affectiva – AI gauging emotion through facial expressions

12. iMotions – Integrated biometric research platforms

13. LC Technologies – Portable eye tracking glasses for real-world research

14. webcamEYE – Low cost webcam eye tracking for anyone

This snapshot only scratches the surface of companies empowering more effective marketing through vision science.

Eye Tracking Use Cases for Marketing

What exactly can you achieve by integrating eye tracking into your marketing and user research workflow?

Website and app optimization remains the most common application – but creative possibilities stretch far beyond boring A/B tests.

Quantifying Ad Effectiveness

Pinpoint the elements that captivate attention in ads while identifying areas readers gloss over. This intelligence allows optimizing campaign assets to maximize recall and conversion.

Evaluating Packaging Appeal

Determine at a glance if your packaging pops on the shelf or fades into the background. Isolate the visual hierarchy successes and issues.

Personalizing Experiences

Serve up tailored content in real-time based on eye tracking segments to keep visitors engaged.

Enhancing Retail Store Layouts

Understand shopper paths and how visual merchandising works – or fails – by overlaying gaze data onto store heatmaps.

And innovators are only scratching the surface of potential applications, like using brainwave sensors alongside eye tracking to assess emotional engagement on subconscious levels.

How Much Does Eye Tracking Software Cost?

Solutions exist across the spectrum from free open-source libraries to enterprise packages approaching six figures:

Product Starting Price
webcamEYE $0
EyeSee $199/month
Tobii Pro Sticky $995
xLabs $15,000+

DIY packages under $1,000 like EyeSee help avoid large investments to test capabilities. But research agencies provide end-to-end services and normative data benchmarking for improved directional guidance.

For stealth mode startups, even Sticky by Tobii appears surprisingly affordable to unlock visual insights that massively impact customer experiences.

Side-By-Side Eye Tracking Software Comparisons

With an abundance of alternatives bidding for your budget, selecting the right eye tracking software can feel overwhelming.

To help guide decisions aligned to research objectives, let‘s break down how 15+ leading options stack up across five key categories:

Tracking Approach

Software Methodology Accuracy Hardware Required?
Sticky by Tobii Direct eye tracking 1 degree Yes
Pupil Eye tracking with machine learning 1 degree Yes
EyeSee Estimated gaze mapping ~3 degrees Webcam sufficient

Tobii and Pupil offer research-grade precision by directly tracking eye movements. Budget webcam software estimates gaze using face mapping with slight accuracy tradeoffs.

Analysis Capabilities

Software Heatmaps Fixation Metrics Gaze Plotting Recall Surveys Norm Benchmarks
Sticky by Tobii

From basic heatmap visualizations to advanced emotion detection, functionality varies widely. Prioritize must-have capabilities now with room to scale.

Research Workflow

Software DIY Setup Managed Services Consulting Real-world Testing

Self-serve tools like EyeSee prioritize quick implementation for fast concept testing. But platforms like TrueImpact offer white-glove support to handle more advanced experimental designs.


Software Survey Tools Biometric Sensors 3rd Party Analytics APIs SDKs

If planning advanced research with synergistic data signals beyond eye tracking, iMotions leads for flexible integrations.

Unique Perks

Software Noteworthy Features
AttentionTool Social media metrics analysis
Affectiva Micro-expression emotional analysis
GazePoint Mouse tracking heatmaps

Complementary capabilities like AttentionTool’s CompeteScore benchmarking and Affectiva’s emotion AI provide angles beyond basic gaze mapping.

These comparative guides only skim the surface on factors that dictate eye tracking software decisions. You deserve solutions tailored to research goals rather than a generic boxed platform. Prioritize must-haves versus nice-to-haves.

No option does everything perfectly. But the right software empowers unlocking immense value from vision powered insights at every phase of optimization loops.

Tips for Conducting Effective Eye Tracking Studies

Once you secure software, designing and executing insightful eye tracking research remains critical for guiding impactful decisions.

Follow these best practices when conducting studies:

1. Focus on key hypotheses

Approach tests with clear assumptions around problems and opportunities to concentrate efforts on meaningful discovery.

An open-ended question like “How do people view our website?” rarely uncovers directional guidance. Get focused.

2. Limit major variables initially

While eye tracking empowers assessing countless creative variants, rein in tests to concentrate on high-potential directions first.

Quickly evaluate 3-4 concepts rather than overwhelming with 14 options. Build upon learnings in successive rounds after uncovering baseline insights.

3. Synchronize gaze replay with qualitative feedback

Watch heatmaps and gaze plots with representative participants. Anchor visual patterns to open-ended commentary unlocking “aha moments” from sessions.

4. Compare relative metrics across creatives

Contrast insights like first fixation percentage and dwell time engagement across test stimuli to gauge top performers.

Sorting raw eye tracking metrics rarely provides sufficient perspective alone to guide decisions. Look at relative performance.

5. Share discoveries broadly across teams

Designers, copywriters, UX specialists etc. gain unique inspiration from gaze data to improve experiences. Avoid siloed reports collecting dust.

Evangelize wins uncovered to build appetite for additional testing. Quantifiable victories make the case for further research budgets.

6. Let insights guide ideation

Implications from studies should immediately feed creative brainstorms and product roadmaps.

Visually distinguish neglected areas. Shorten processes losing interest over time. Re-arrange layouts for logical hierarchical flow based on attention data signals.

Turn eye tracking inputs into better customer outputs by taking action.

Applying Eye Tracking Insights for Marketing Wins

Beyond running insightful research, you must apply learnings to improve experiences.

Luckily, smaller-scale quick wins often create immense value while building confidence for broader initiatives:

Revamp Ad Asset Strategy

Many companies still design ads via gut reactions versus systematically optimizing based on attention data.

But simple visual tweaks like emphasizing faces over text or moving slogans from top to bottom using heatmaps can radically boost recall.

Refine On-Page Content

You worked hard on pages copy and messaging. But where do visitors actually look – or fail to look entirely?

Get read directionally down pages by adding visual signposts. Break intimidating walls of text into scannable sections timed to declining attention spans.

Elevate Packaging on Shelves

Tiny packaging design flaws can sink products into obscurity amid crowded shelves.

Isolate areas visually popping in peripheral vision during 3 second glance decisions. Test refinements reinserting you into the consideration set.

Personalize Website Layouts

Beyond one-size-fits-all site architecture, tailor page layouts by visitor segments uncovered from scanpath analysis.

Welcome visitors by name while dynamically serving content and navigation optimized to their tendencies.

Inform In-Store Design Strategy

Why do shoppers follow certain paths but neglect entire sections?

Gaze plots layered onto store heatmaps revealSuc successes and areas needing bolder signage. Correlate findings to metrics like dwell time and sales conversion.

These smaller individual use cases only hint at the immense power of scaling eye tracking. But quick incremental testing builds confidence for eventually weaving insights into the fabric of customer experiences.

Predicting the Future of Eye Tracking Technology

Already remarkably capable today, rapid evolutionary leaps further position eye tracking as an essential mainstream research staple over coming years.

Hard truths separate visionaries apart – eye tracking promises to redefine user understanding and thus competitive positioning.

The Democratization of Eye Tracking

While historically confined to university labs, proprietary tools from startups now expand access for any marketer.

And solutions seamlessly work using only everyday webcams and mobile devices to open doors for anyone to harness vision powered insights, not just seven-figure research budgets.

The trajectory of progress closely mirrors the accessibility gains over the past decades across web analytics and CX tooling. Eye tracking aims to become just as ubiquitous.

But consumer-facing applications will also revolutionize interactions once costs hit scale. Imagine gaze-driven interfaces or AR experiences dynamically reacting to exactly where you look rather than crude touch targets today.

The foundations supporting this seismic transition are actively being poured.

Integrating Eye Tracking Widely Across Industries

Media and entertainment pioneered early eye tracking adoption given video’s inherent focus on visual attention.

But applications now diversify to industries ranging from automotive to architecture seeking to understand human behavior at deeper levels by literally watching decisions unfold.

Mainstream technology sellers also prepare offerings embedding gaze data analysis to differentiate experiences, including leaders like Microsoft and Apple.

The writing is on the wall – eye tracking insights provide an immutable competitive advantage as the cornerstone of customer understanding stacks.

Pushing the Boundaries of Possibilities

While already disruptive today, seemingly basic capabilities merely scratch the surface of a thrilling visual future.

Rapid computational power gains alongside AI and machine learning algorithms will unlock more Sci-fi applications like:

  • Predicting content performance at scale using simulation models
  • Drawing implicit psychographic conclusions from scanpath patterns
  • Assessing comprehension through microsaccadic reactions
  • Quantifying situationally aware emotional analysis through pupillary responses

And entirely new use cases remain undiscovered. The limits keep expanding exponentially.

Eye tracking promises to fundamentally redefine customer experiences over the coming decade through unprecedented insight into attention, understanding and emotion.

Prepare now, or get left behind by the revolution.

Join the Eye Tracking Revolution Today

This guide should firmly solidify why eye tracking technology demands attention itself today – and illicit sheer excitement gazing ahead.

The consumer insights goldmine has just started to get mined, positioning early adopters to reap exponential gains over coming years.

From better balancing visual hierarchies to personalizing experiences, eye tracking informs optimizing every phase of the customer journey to drive objectives ranging from stronger branding to higher conversions.

Now is the time to spearhead pilot studies with the disruptive software solutions outlined. Leverage quick wins to showcase immense potential and build buy-in for secured research roadmaps.

Let your organization move from gut-based design thinking to vision-powered decision making. Outpace competition and boost performance across KPIs by embracing the immense power of understanding exactly where customers look.

The eye tracking revolution has arrived. Pick your vantage point carefully to capture front row seats to the action ahead.