Over the past few years many marketing research firms have been using eyetracking technology to learn more about how people view and process information online. This can be extremely useful data for optimizing many types of B2B Internet marketing. Here's a quick summary of the major takeaways of the eyetracking research I have seen:
Issue #1: People scan but do not read. Look at these eye tracking maps. Clearly no one is reading all of the text, but rather people scan the page in both a vertical and horizontal way.
Solution #1: Use short sentences, bullet points and bold text. If people scan text, just adjust your content to take advantage of that. Keep everything as short as possible. Use bold text to highlight key messages.
Issue #2: Images get a lot of attention. I noticed this first a few years ago when I was doing some analysis of my email marketing and looking at the click through rate on the emails I was sending. I started to look at which links in the emails people were clicking on and I noticed that people loved to click on images. In fact, people even clicked on images that were not obviously linked to anything.
Solution #2: Use images effectively. If people are going to give images more attention than perhaps they deserve, make sure you use them effectively. All your images should work towards the goal of the page. If it is a landing page, they should help convince people to submit their information. If you are creating an email, the images should convince people to click on them.
Issue #3: People rarely scroll. Anything "below the fold" - things that are not visible when you first open the page because you need to scroll down to see them - will only be viewed by about 50% of the people who visit your page.
Solution #3: Put important content above the fold. Since anything below the fold will only be seen by about half your visitors, make sure your best content is above the fold, and when possible the page is not very long.
Note: Eyetracking images courtesy of marketingsherpa.com.
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