facial coding and eye tracking technology

Sanat Singha is a technical writer, an editor, a blogger and a web marketing consultant. Contact him at wsigmas@gmail.com

Research  shows that the real challenges with market analysis is that people do not express what they think, how they feel and most importantly, they don’t do what they say. The late advertising don David Ogilvy and his words actually reflect the major hurdles in business. He once said that “how can you tell if people really like what you are trying to sell them?”

In this context, market researchers are experimenting with the Smartphone application and desktop and promise to reveal the secret behind the subconscious layers of consumer’s cognitive thinking. Isn’t’ this the best that market researcher can execute? Probably one of the exciting features of their work. The automatic functioning of the technology in real-time can potentially evaluate the emotional responses of millions of people before launching any new products. No wonder, this powerful execution can transform the work of market research and the entire commercial world.

Primitive Mind of the Consumer

 The failure behind the scene:

It has been observed that the conventional technique of market research is quite unemotional and up-front. With a sample of product testers, one cannot actually envisage what the consumer thinks about a particular brand, concept and the product. On the contrary, focus group and surveys become a little risky to understand what is going on inside their mind. According to Rob Stevens, the co-founder of the UK market research company “80% of new products brought to market fails; this is because of the failure of the conventional market research techniques”.

So, what’s next?

The facial coding and eye tracking technology:

Now it is time to see whether computers and the researcher can actually decipher the convolutions of human emotion. Here is where the process of ‘facial coding” came to the limelight. Staff are trained to check the signs in the facial expression of product testers, which ultimately betray their inner feeling. Usually, the consumer makes choices in a split second as the cognitive and emotional centre of the human brain reach a decision before an individual is even aware of it.Facial coding immediately captures bodily responses of a consumer at the decisive moment. The researchers are able to forecast the likely success of a service innovation, visual identity, product features or price points.

facial coding and eye tracking technology

 Also the eye tracking technology is being implemented to monitor exactly where a person looks on during the product tests and measure its emotional impact. A general discussion about the marketing communication, branding or service experience can be combined with particular exposure to the client’s product and design. In addition, the one-to-one interview produces productive results when a respondent is in a comfortable atmosphere.

These techniques, as it has been analysed are capable of yielding business insights.

The computerised technology:

 As facial coding necessitates the presence of a researcher finding the humdrum movements of pupils, therefore, it is limited to a small sample of testers. However, this obstacle is soon removed by allowing computers to do the needful. The facial expression of a consumer can be captured by computers- it is just a matter of movement of pixels in videos. The best parties, unlike a human being, software never gets tired of their job and can analyse multiple faces at the same time.A few companies also have got this automatic facial coding software installed on their Smartphone. The phone’s inbuilt camera can easily record a product tester’s expression.

However, here lies a small problem. The technology acknowledges the need of a human researcher to oversee the accuracy and maintenance of the software because it is unmindful to hidden meaning and context. The software cannot distinguish the difference between a happy smile and bewildered smile. Professor Peter Robinson and his team of the computer laboratory at Cambridge University designed programming for the software to capture different shades of human expression- the eye, hand, face, the tone of the voice and body gestures.

Through the technique known as “statistical machine learning” the software was then trained to identify which indicators are crucial.

So hopefully, a day will come soon when no products will be destined to flop because the commercial world will have access to the certainty of the market. If you have a close eye on the PR coverage of popular market research companies such as Redshift market research company, you would be amazed to find more such news.

Author Bio:

Oliver Taylor is a market research analyst. He offers ideas, tips and suggestions for businesses to use the market research to their advantage. He suggests that you consider the right points to select the right market research agency. An agency such as Redshift market research can ensure accurate and reliable results.