3 Key Trends that make Research Companies Thrive
- Mobile research
Recent articles in Alert! magazine have already outlined the new mobile opportunities for the market research industry. New opportunities, of course, lead to new challenges – not only for the methods employed in mobile market research but also for the technologies that facilitate new insights into behavior and preferences of the mobile consumer.
- Physiological data
It is not easy to extract the decisive factors that influence the behavior of consumers navigating complex real-world environments. Therefore, researchers seek to enhance traditional research methods, such as observation and interviews, with a broad range of physiological data in order to reveal the mechanisms for attention, emotion and decision-making of the mobile consumer.
- Accelerated innovation
Whenever we test products in the real-world, changes to the design of products or brand are costly and time consuming. At the same time, in a competitive environment, companies need to innovate and test quickly and efficiently, which means at an early stage of the development and decision-making process.
3 Approaches Facilitated by Modern Eye Tracking Glasses
Eye tracking has been around in market research for a while. The benefits are obvious: Objective data on how consumers perceive brands and insights into the implicit factors of decision-making can complement traditional research methods. So far, eye tracking has mainly been used in lab environments.
Now, a new generation of mobile eye tracking glasses has reached an ease of use and technological maturity which brings eye tracking research to the real-world and makes it a technology every thriving market research company should keep an eye on. Glasses-type mobile eye tracking devices have become ever more unobtrusive at a new level of data quality and analysis performance. Eye tracking data can be integrated with other physiological datastreams, such as mobile EEG, and the eye tracking glasses can be equipped for virtual test environments, to evaluate concepts and prototypes at an early stage.
Behavioral Insights on the Spot, Where Buying Decisions are Made
The advantage of real-world eye tracking research is a no brainer: you study visual behavior on the spot where consumers are making their buying decisions. But until now, technology had some limitations preventing broad adoption by researchers.
Now, the new form factor of glasses-type eye tracking, combined with a small smartphone recorder, and enhanced eye tracking performance is overcoming these hurdles. Setup processes have been automated so that the equipment is now ready for use within seconds. The more powerful recorder allows researchers to capture gaze behavior within study designs that require extended recording length, like unguided shopping tours.
The tool set registers everything which is perceived by the shopper, labeling the exact point of regard in the environment on a video recorded by the glasses. In addition, semi-automated analysis solutions enable researchers to aggregate data across several participants and visualize this data in the form of heat maps or key performance indicators. Companies such as Nielsen, Millward Brown and GfK have incorporated the use of these eye tracking glasses in their portfolio of research activities.
Combining Eye Tracking With Other Physiological Data
But this is not the end of the story. Our world and our decision-making processes are getting ever more complex. Brand leaders need more information on the underlying cognitive processes and the emotions that influence consumer behavior. Modern mobile eye tracking technology fulfills those needs as it provides ready-to-go solutions to automatically synchronize eye tracking and mobile EEG data. Moreover, open interfaces allow for the integration of other physiological data streams such as heart rate or skin response. Researchers from the University of Bentley conducted an emotional impact study using eye tracking glasses and galvanic skin response combined with other research methods to compare online and in-store communication concepts. And the European Commission is testing the use of mobile eye tracking and mobile EEG data to inform policy-making in the field of consumer protection.
Testing Designs and Prototypes at Early Stages
With research going mobile and the amount of physiological data increasing, insights are getting more realistic and complete, but marketers and researchers seek to become better every time: Better in improving existing products, but also better in their speed to market and their efficiency in developing new product and communication concepts. Which means designs and prototypes need to be tested at earlier stages, where costs of realization are still comparably low.
Virtual testing is a trend that is also hitting the market research industry. Special software solutions project virtual simulations of a shelf on large 3D projection screens. Shutter technology allows test subjects to fully immerse in these worlds, ensuring a realistic experience during virtual studies. Special add-ons to modern eye tracking glasses allow researchers to easily integrate eye tracking measures into virtual settings and to gather the same behavioral insights eye tracking provided in real-world environments.
Thriving to be Better
Research is going mobile. We seek to base our insights on as much data as possible, with physiological data on visual behavior and emotion playing a key role. And in competitive environments, being fast and cost efficient is essential for success. So don’t miss these trends, and ensure that your portfolio of methodologies and technologies matches the new demands raised by these trends.
Eye tracking glasses enable mobile research, mobile eye tracking data integrates with a broad array of physiological datasets and the glasses can be equipped to collect data on gaze behavior during early-stage tests in virtual environments. This makes mobile eye tracking glasses a technology every thriving market research firm should keep an eye on.