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  • Marketers Look Into Consumers' Eyes
Sep 2004
TOKYO, Sept. 3 -- A Japanese company is honing consumer psychology to an even more precise science with technology that records how someone's eyes move when they view a Web site, product package, TV commercial or print media.

The Japan Consumer Marketing Research Institute (JCMR), which provides marketing services based on lifestyle research, announced this week it will launch its JCMR Eye-Tracking Solution service for evaluating company marketing effectiveness through the use of eye-tracking technology. The company said it hopes to acqiure 30 customers in its first fiscal year.

The JCMR Eye-Tracking Solution combines an eye tracking device developed by Tobii (Sweden) and software jointly developed by Eyetools (US) and Tobii. The first service of its kind in Japan to be used in marketing applications, it will enable company marketing directors, advertising divisions, advertising companies and Web developers to gain an objective and accurate assessment of where consumers are visually attracted to information in advertisements and Web sites, JCMR said.

JCMR spokesman Richard F. May said, "Insight into consumer psychology derived from such research has helped advertisers deepen their understanding of their target consumers, which is beneficial in creating effective marketing methods."

The Eye-Trackers camera used in the JCMR Eye-Tracking Solution does not require special headgear to be worn by the consumer being tested and can track the human eye to a high degree of accuracy (typically to within 1 cm of movement on a normal computer screen), which gives insight into eye movement and where attention is being focused, the company said.

JCMR said companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft and eBay and many consumer product manufacturers have used this tool with good results. By measuring the order in which various items are viewed and for how long, Web developers can determine the parts of pages that are viewed or scanned by site visitors and access whether information the company believes to be most important is actually being read. By making measurements before and after web site updates, the effectiveness of an update can be evaluated and an index is generated. In the same way, by tracking consumer eye movement when product packaging and magazine advertisements are viewed, designers can confirm whether product names, brand names and keywords are being noticed, which is helpful in creating package design.

JCMR said it is also developing a service based on research of fundamental psychological and perception theory designed to make the eye-tracking device even more effective.

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