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Eye Tracking Technology: The Window into Consumer Behavior

Unveiling the power of eye tracking technology, its history, and key metrics for understanding consumer preferences and decision-making.

At Smartlook Analytics, we are passionate about staying at the forefront of consumer neuroscience research to help businesses better understand and connect with their target audience. One such powerful tool we leverage is eye tracking technology. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of eye tracking, its history, and the essential Area of Interest (AOI) metrics that can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior.

What is Eye Tracking Technology?

Eye tracking technology is a non-invasive method of measuring and recording eye movements, allowing researchers to determine where a person is looking and for how long. By analyzing these gaze patterns, we can gain insights into cognitive processes, attention, and decision-making, which are invaluable for marketing, advertising, and user experience (UX) design.

History of Eye Tracking Technology Development:

The journey of eye tracking technology dates back to the late 19th century. Here are some notable milestones in its development:

  1. 1879 - Louis Émile Javal observed that people make a series of rapid eye movements, known as saccades, when reading.

  2. 1901 - Edmund Huey built the first eye tracking device, which required the user to wear uncomfortable contact lenses with small mirrors attached.

  3. 1950s - The first non-invasive eye trackers were developed, using cameras and reflecting light off the cornea to track eye movements.

  4. 1970s-1990s - Eye tracking technology became more refined, with the introduction of more accurate devices and software.

  5. 2000s - Eye tracking technology became more accessible, with the development of portable and affordable devices.

  6. Present day - Eye tracking technology is now used in various fields, including marketing, psychology, UX design, and gaming.

Area of Interest Metrics (AOI) in Eye Tracking:

To gain meaningful insights from eye tracking data, researchers analyze several Area of Interest (AOI) metrics, such as:

  • Fixation: A fixation occurs when the eye remains relatively still, focusing on a specific point for a short period (usually 100-300 milliseconds). Fixations indicate that the viewer is processing information from that particular area.

  • Fixation Duration: The time spent on a single fixation reflects the viewer's interest or cognitive effort in processing the information at that specific point. Longer fixation durations may indicate increased interest or difficulty in processing the information.

  • First Fixation Time: This metric refers to the time it takes for a viewer to first fixate on a specific AOI. A shorter first fixation time suggests that the AOI has a stronger visual impact, capturing the viewer's attention more quickly.

  • Fixation Sequence: The order in which fixations occur can reveal the viewer's thought process and decision-making strategy. Analyzing fixation sequences can help researchers understand how consumers navigate visual information and prioritize elements on a page, screen, or advertisement.


Eye tracking technology offers a unique opportunity to uncover the subconscious drivers of consumer behavior by analyzing gaze patterns and attention. By understanding these critical AOI metrics, marketers, advertisers, and UX designers can optimize their visual content to better captivate their audience and drive desired actions. At Smartlook Analytics, we harness the power of eye tracking technology to help businesses create impactful marketing strategies and connect more effectively with their customers.


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