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Samsung eye movement detection opens world of opportunities
Eye movement detection could revolutionize Analytics and use of event driven dynamic content.
March 2013


The new Samsung Galaxy S4 supposedly detects the eye movement of its user. This way the phone will scroll down through a text once the user reaches the bottom of the screen, or it will pause a video when the user looks away from the screen. These are nice to have gadgets with a new smart phone, but they do not really increase usability that much. However, the same technique might revolutionize some other digital areas.

Highly improved site Analytics
It has happened so often to me in the past or to people I worked with, that we would have liked to see where people’s eyes were going when they visited one of our websites. Did they really read the whole text? Or did they just leave the screen idle for 5 minutes while they went to get themselves a cup of coffee, and leaving the site without having read anything when they returned? Did visitors see important marketing messages or banner ads when they visited a certain page, or where they actually looking at something much less important?

The new Samsung technique implies that soon this kind of data will be available to us in Google Analytics or in other specialized programs. This will improve the data we get out of visits to our sites and allow us to improve usability, navigation and especially effectiveness of our websites. It would also mean that we could get a reality check on banner ads. At the moment ad agencies tell us that 5 million people "saw" (landed on the page of) the banner ad. But nobody knows how many of those people really saw and read the banner ad. In the future we will know how many people looked at it and how long their eyes rested on the ad before moving away to "more important information".

And there is so much more, like detecting patterns on your organizations web pages, like heat maps. Do the majority of people see our main messages, or are they spending more view time on other parts of the page? Is there a pattern in their movement and viewing and can we adapt pages so that the messages move to the heat zones where the majority of visitors sees them? I know that there are programs out there that do this already in one way or another, but how many organizations have really done this kind of analysis? Once Google Analytics and other statistics programs start to use this new technique, it will become a standard function of site analysis.

Dynamic pages based on specific content being viewed
But this technique could even go much further. Imagine that you could place markers on your site, containing texts, banners or other images, with an underlying algorithm. By measuring how long a visitor looks at one or more of the markers, you can instantly give a certain importance to this marker and also instantly and automatically adapt the contents of the page to fill up with the content and marketing messages for the target group interested in this specific marker’s subject.

As an example, an on-line newspaper could show three images with large headlines at the top of the page. The images respectively say something about foreign policy, domestic violence and restaurant reviews. If a visitor only scans one of the three, or views one of the three a second longer than the other two, then the page fills up with content relating to that subject. Depending on the algorithm, other headlines or a sub-menu for the other subjects will be placed in a side column.

This is of course a very crude example to make my point. Just look at how Amazon already delivers very personalized content and emails to its members. There have not been many organizations who have been able to copy this successful use of personalization, but I expect that this technique will bring us many different and subtle applications of content personalization in the coming years.


What is your opinion about the opportunities for this technique? Am I expecting too much from it?

Do you have any other ideas for new uses of this technique?

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  BOOK REVIEWS
Some of my personal remarks and opinion on books related to social media marketing:

"Socialnomics" How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, by Erik Qualman

 

"New rules of PR & Marketing" How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, by David Meerman Scott

 
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