Were you part of Mediative’s eye-tracking tests at CIMC?

Mediative, one of North America’s leading digital marketing agencies, attended the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference (#CIMC2016) in Squamish, BC, last week.

Mediative’s Manager of Content Marketing and Research, Rebecca Maynes presented ‘The Importance of Research in Digital Marketing’ touching on search behavior research and buyer behavior research. Speaking alongside a whole host of great speakers from companies such as Google, Twitter, eBay, Warner Music, and West Jet to name a few, she talked about four key research studies that have been conducted over the past two years at Mediative, and highlighted several of the key findings for digital marketers to take away. Rebecca’s presentation, plus the four studies she talked about, can be downloaded here: http://www.mediative.com/CIMC

Rebecca Maynes CIMC

Mediative’s Rebecca Maynes presenting the Importance of Research in Digital Marketing at CIMC 2016

Also at the conference, Mediative was showcasing the Tobii Pro X2-60 mobile device eye-tracker, which is used in Mediative’s research to determine exactly where people look on a mobile device. The system is perfect for both qualitative research and quantitative research, e.g. calculation of different eye tracking metrics. At the CIMC we were conducting eye-tracking on an iPhone 6.

Mobile eye-tracker

Tobii Pro X2-60 mobile device eye-tracker

How does eye-tracking work?

eye-tracking research

Source: Tobii Pro

Eye-tracking tests

37 people tested the eye-tracking equipment. While our ultimate goal was to show people how the equipment works, and how digital marketers can use it to gain insights and knowledge into the way people use a mobile device, we were also able to create gaze maps and heat maps from the experiences that show how people interacted with the Red Flag Deals website and app, including advertising on the site.

Mediative CIMC

Mediative’s booth at CIMC where conference attendees were able to try out eye-tracking on an iPhone 6

  • On day 1 of the conference we asked people to visit the site RedFlagDeals.com and then look for financial services deals, a credit card comparison tool, and the computer and electronics forum.
  • On day 2 of the conference, we asked people to open the Red Flag Deals app and find Walmart deals.
mobile eye-tracking

In this screen shot of the eye-tracker in use, you can see red dots – these are where the searcher is looking on the screen at that time.

From the results, we were able to produce gaze maps and heat maps. The gaze map shown below indicates the order in which an individual Internet user fixated on different areas of the page. A fixation occurs when attention lingers on a particular area of the page, whereas the subconscious movement of the eyes between fixations are called saccades.

gaze map mobile

Individual gaze map and a similar page to what was on the mobile screen

The heat maps below show the relative distribution of visual attention – that is, what areas on average were looked at relative to the entire time spent looking at the page. The areas in red are those that capture the most visual attention, followed by orange, yellow, and green.

heat map mobile search

Heat map of the home page of RedFlagDeals.com and a similar page to what was on the mobile screen

heat map mobile search

Heat map of the Financial Services Deals page onRedFlagDeals.com and a similar page to what was on the mobile screen

heat map mobile search comparison tool

Heat map of the Credit Card Comparison Tool page and a similar page to what was on the mobile screen

heat map research Red Flag Deals app

Heat map of the Red Flag Deals App home page and a similar page to what was on the mobile screen

With eye-tracking, however, it’s not only about the visual heat and gaze maps that can be produced. The sophisticated software is also able to generate statistics about particular areas of the page that can be defined.

We chose the following 4 areas of select pages and then dived deeper to see how quickly people looked at them once the page loaded (Time to First Fixation), how many people viewed that area (Percentage Fixated), how long they spent looking at that area (Total Visit Duration), and how many times they went back to look at the same area (Visit Count).

  • Time to First Fixation
  • Percentage Fixated
  • Total Visit Duration
  • Visit Count
  • 0.45 sec.
  • 86%
  • 7.49 sec.
  • 8.23

  • Time to First Fixation
  • Percentage Fixated
  • Total Visit Duration
  • Visit Count
  • 0.86 sec.
  • 53%
  • 3.88 sec.
  • 7.25

mobile page 2
  • Time to First Fixation
  • Percentage Fixated
  • Total Visit Duration
  • Visit Count
  • 1.85 sec.
  • 27%
  • 0.35 sec.
  • 1.25

mobile page 4
  • Time to First Fixation
  • Percentage Fixated
  • Total Visit Duration
  • Visit Count
  • 0.47 sec.
  • 84%
  • 1.4 sec.
  • 3


  • Not surprisingly, the areas that took up the majority of the screen space, at the top of the page, were viewed fastest and by the most participants (#1 and #4).
  • However, the areas that captured attention quickest, and by the most people, were not always the same ones that people visited for the longest. While area #1 proved to be the most effective for attracting and retaining attention by the most people, area #2 was more effective at retaining attention than # 4, even though area #4 captured attention quickly, and by more people (due to its positioning one can assume). In fact, on average, people visited area #2 for a total time 174% longer than area #4, and fixated on area #2 142% more times in each session. This is likely tied to intent – we were asking people to find financial services deals, and the ad in area #2 was for AMEX, whereas the area on the app home page in area #4 was very generic.
  • It took participants significantly longer to view the smaller top ad that was shown in area #3, but it was still viewed by 27% of participants, even if it was not as effective as holding attention in the same way that the more “native’ sponsored content did.

What does this mean?

  1. Areas are viewed quickest, and by the most people if they take up the majority of the screen space on a mobile. Therefore advertisers should consider larger, native sponsored ad content.
  2. Areas are viewed for longer and more times, the more relevant they are to the intent of the searcher. Therefore advertisers should consider advertising on sites or pages that are most relevant to the intent of the searcher, and/or buying ads programmatically, including data, to increase the likelihood of the impression landing on a more qualified searcher.

To find out more about eye-tracking and how it can be used to enhance your digital marketing strategy, contact Mediative!