Do Your Customers Like What They See?

By Ben Steadman


  • Eye tracking in CRO reveals how long it takes a visitor to find and see specific sections or items on your webpage.
  • It shows the order in which visitors see things.
  • It identifies what helps and what hinders the conversion journey.
  • By identifying friction, you can improve the conversion journey and convert more customers.

In an earlier article about using eye tracking in CRO, we introduced the value of the technique as part of the conversion optimiser’s arsenal of research methods. Now, let’s take an example of the kind of insight it provides that can inform your website design choices, namely “time to first fixation”.

I’ll also describe how you can use it to test the possible impact of changes before you roll them out to your live audience.

How eye tracking analysis helps CRO

The power of eye tracking is partly its ability to show us where visitors’ eyes move to on a webpage and in which order they see the various elements. So, how do the data and associated observations translate into webpage design?

Well, they can show us how many seconds it takes a visitor to see a particular section on your webpage and what they looked at before they got there, i.e., time to first fixation.

What does that tell us? It means we can identify the parts of your design that may be helping and/or hindering the visitor while they try to get to a critical part of the webpage in their conversion journey.

1. Encouraging impulse

Here are two similar product pages—the objective of both is to get a visitor to add the product to their bags.

pdp page for eye tracking

The version on the left (V1) has additional product images above the fold and directly below the call to action (CTA) button. The product page on right (V2), however, has descriptive text beneath the CTA button.

We performed eye tracking tests on both pages with a group of women aged between 35 and 45 years. Here are the results—the red indicates prolonged eye fixations.

pdp page with eye tracking analysis

Note that on V1 the product images (main and supporting) all received attention, especially the face looking directly at you (bottom centre). The heat map shows that the images are a bigger draw than the CTA. However, in V2, the image and CTA commanded the most attention.

2. Measuring time to first fixation

With eye tracking, we can take heat mapping further. For instance, we can see how long it takes participants to notice the CTA.

If we look at the average time to first fixation on the CTA, we see the following.

average time to first fixation

It takes three seconds longer for the participants to notice the main CTA on V1. Is this a good or a bad thing? Well, it depends on your hypothesis and your goals.

Do you think three seconds isn’t very much? Then consider your own website and add up all those three seconds on different webpages. What would the combined impact be on your customer journey if your webpage design does not help them find what they’re looking for (or what you want them to see)?

Each extra second soon adds up as a distraction to drag your visitors from the position of potential customers to website abandoners.

This doesn’t mean that all extra images are bad and distracting and will hurt conversion – it is all about context. For example, is the visitor ready to move to the CTA? Have we given them all the information they need? Have we persuaded them enough to believe our product or service is right for them? Can we drive impulse and upsell purchases?

Make the journey easy for customers and they’ll convert

What we do know is that by making it easy for your customers, and their experience more enjoyable, they’re more likely to continue shopping.

By understanding the time to fixation within your page design, you can use the data to inform your testing to make the customer experience better.

How do we ultimately know that these changes are having the right impact? By continuous testing to see if you’re achieving your goals of increasing transactions and revenue.

Ben Steadman
Hi, I’m Ben. I lead the analytics team here at Endless Gain. I’ve been analysing data and fixing analytics since 2001. Data plays such a vital part in today’s decision making world. The days of making business decisions based on opinions are disappearing fast and data is replacing it. Analytics is pivotal to this data led world.

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