The Eyes Have It

One interesting element to keep in mind this year for all digital marketers is making eye contact with your consumer. With the growth of visual marketing stimuli at every turn, it is getting harder to catch the general audience's attention with online and print campaigns.
Researchers have been reporting the science of tracking eye movements for years now and this little nugget is not a new discovery to the marketer's strategies in ad placements and targeting. However, with the technological winds of change comes the evolution of how people view and take in this material. Understanding the data from eye tracking trends is a valuable tool to customer behavior insight and measuring your marketing effectiveness.
Here is an exerpt from a report from Corbis on Eye Tracking Trends in Media Advertising:

“For many years the most consistent way users viewed pages, according to eye tracking tests, was in an “F” pattern (also known as the “golden triangle”). This means that viewers first looked at the upper left corner, then scanned down and over in a consistent pattern. But there’s evidence that this model is changing as more advertising is shifted online.
Gord Hotchkiss, president of Enquiro and a columnist for MediaPost.com’s Search Insider*, conducted some research recently on eye tracking and made some interesting and unexpected discoveries that run counter to the classic “F” conclusion. Hotchkiss’ research revealed that more people are viewing online content in an “E” pattern. They start by looking at graphics in the middle of the page first and then follow the copy up and down from there. And though bigger images were better at grabbing attention, this rule was still true even when small thumbprint images were used”.

So how can a marketer apply this knowledge? Here a few tips released from the Corbis corporation:

Headline or images? Yes! There is conflicting data on whether viewers spot headlines or graphics first, so best to hedge your bets and integrate the two smoothly by merging the headline and image. And keep in mind the “E” pattern when doing so.

Keep it simple. Online images that are too conceptual or vague are often passed over because they’re confusing. Make sure the image is directly relevant to the copy, especially in the headline, as noted above.

Keep it real. Viewers are instinctively drawn to human faces in ads and there’s growing evidence that “real people” rather than professional models are more likely to keep their attention.

More is not necessarily better. Though people gravitate towards imagery, too many pictures in one ad can confuse and clutter the message.

Don’t get too colorful. Eye tracking research has shown that black, white, red, yellow, blue and green are the most likely to get noticed online. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of the rainbow, but it’s best to highlight your key message with one of these six shades.

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