Technological Revolutions: Market Research could soon be soaring with IoT and Eye Tracking

Michelle O’Reagan

Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic right now in both the marketing world and as a topic in the media.  In the 2018 GRIT report of methods under consideration and in use, Eye Tracking ranked number eleven with 34% of people surveyed stating they use this technology and 21 % stating it is under consideration.  Ranking slightly below, IoT ranked number sixteen, with 12 % survey using the technology, but 27 % considering implementing this form of research.  It is surpassed predominately by internet and text-based methods.  I first became aware of a new version of IoT while listening to NPR, where they mentioned that quarter-size cameras would now be monitoring people as they shopped in major grocery stores.  This raises questions of privacy in a world where so much of our environment is constantly under surveillance.  More specifically IoT can be used in a much less invasive way to allow consumers to send data passively to researchers when a sensor is attached to the product package.  This allows study participants to forgo a detailed log in favor of letting the product do most of the work as they just consume naturally: whether they are grabbing a handful of chips or grinding their organic coffee beans, tapping into the subconscious affinity and usage of the product.  The whole research process becomes more fluid and hopefully more accurate as self-reporting biases fade away.

While you may have heard of IoT, eye tracking as a research method may be knew to you.  Participants are given a website or perhaps a product advertisement to analyze and colored hotspots are generated at the finale of their task.  These indicate where consumer’s eyes lingered the longest and gives clients and researchers telling quantitative data about the usability of a particular website (such as a comparison of Target and Amazon’s shopping experience) or the effectiveness of wording on a product advertisement.  These are maps of perception which don’t lie.  The next order of business is tackling older generation’s wariness of donning the glasses.

Interestingly enough, many people are trying to extend this technology to measure sales potential, but this is not where the strength of this device lies, according to Dr. Steeve Needel.  Eye tracking goggles measure the attention-grabbing potential of a product, printed materials, or website; but they do not reliably predict sales.  Eye tracking is becoming immensely helpful in filling in the gap of technological mastery among the elderly.  This fast-growing segment of the population, including some Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, is often off-put by new technology from medical apps which facilitate appointments and reading test results to social media commercials in the area of consumer products.


Taking Consumers off the Hot Seat (Belechak)

IoT Enabled Screens (Koenig)

Discover Sources of Survey Error (Hopper)

Reaching the Distracted Generation (mult. Authors)