How often do Cleveland Indian fans look at the main scoreboard and LED signs at the team's ballpark? To find out, the team employed a device designed to take the guesswork out of marketing -- the Tobii eye-tracking glasses.
The study leveraged Tobii’s researchers and wearable eye-tracking technology to provide team advertisers and sponsors with first-of-their-kind media values based on the actual fan experience. Tobii’s Insight team helped the Indians "develop and execute a comprehensive and cost-effective eye-tracking market research study that conveniently and accurately determined how often fans looked at in-park signage," the company maintains.
Stockholm, Sweden-based Tobii recently released version two of its proprietary glasses for wireless live eye tracking. The company claims its "real world gaze data" provides new opportunities for marketing, behavioral science and usability research that goes beyond the capabilities of the original model, which was released in 2010.
Clients include Microsoft, Time Warner, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, the US government and, yes, the Cleveland Indians.
Analyzing Consumer Reactions
Tobii claims its wearable eye-tracking technology opens up myriad research possibilities. It can be used to study things like consumer reactions to package design, shelf placement, signage or out-of-home advertising, as well as vehicle driving research and feedback on how simulators and control panels are employed.
The new lighter-weight model also offers a Live View feature that provides a video feed of what the person is looking at. There's now a 1080p HD scene camera showing what the user sees, capturing peripheral views in such activities as driving. Two eye cameras for each eye enable 3D eye image capture.
During training sessions, the glasses can also be used to provide feedback to the wearer — and alert them if they are looking at the right things.
The Tobii Glasses 2 Eye Tracker
Listen Up, Gamers
On the consumer front, Tobii's OEM Division has created an EyeX development kit that is mounted on a monitor and enables eye tracking applications for users in front of the screen. Tobii and gaming peripheral maker SteelSeries, for instance, have developed the first consumer eye tracking peripheral for games, expected to be released later this year.
Research can also help to shave seconds off certain tasks by finding exactly where users are looking or navigating. For transaction-based companies, those seconds can translate into more sales.
Eye tracking – and Tobii says more than half the eye trackers in the world are now based on its technology -- is also being used by the Federal Drug Administration to see if consumers look at nutrition or medicine labels. Additionally, Tobii said that Alzheimer's disease, as well as autism and ADHD, can be detected earlier with eye tracking.
But eager marketers should note that Tobii glasses are even pricier than, say, Google Glass' $1.500 per unit. Pricetags are $14,900 for a Live View package and $29,000 for the Premium Analytics package.