Eye tracking

This week’s reading on the Facebook graph search is very timely. I was just given access to the graph search on my Facebook page. While I haven’t found a good use for it yet, I think the research that was done with eye tracking is very accurate.

The heat map was a great way to show the amount of views each area received. It also made a lot of sense that images weren’t a great focal point like the text. If someone is searching for stuff on Facebook, the large image isn’t really necessary in a sense. The reading gave a great example about searching for local restaurants. The image isn’t a necessary part of the search. It made sense that participants eyes focused on the first few text areas as well as the right rail that contained a map.

I tried doing a search for LPGA in the graph search and other than being taken to the fan page, I wasn’t having much luck finding results. For this type of brand page, I’m not sure how much the graph search will have an impact. For local businesses, I can clearly see the use. The reading said that things like “Likes”, users sharing content etc. play a part in the search order listing. Do you think Facebook will start selling this top space like Google has?

Eye tracking is a very valuable tool and I really enjoyed reading the New Poynter research. This type of information is of extreme value to people who work in the digital space. It broke down how tablet users interact with news and where their eyes are drawn. This is all good information for someone like me who is in charge of our tablet website and iPad app.

I was pleased to hear that people prefer horizontal viewing on tablets and that the carousel version for presenting news was the most popular choice. We just launched new versions of our tablet website and iPad app and they both work very well in the horizontal position. They also utilize a scrolling news carousel to display news. Another tidbit that was helpful was that people got the most use out of a back button instead of a menu item. I might need to look more at our apps to see if a back button is prevalent compared to our menu navigation. For those of you who use tablets, did you find this research comparable to how you view your tablet and news?

This week’s readings have left me wanting a company to perform eye tracking research on the LPGA’s website and mobile devices. We’d most likely not have a budget for this type of thing, but a girl can dream. I will just have to do some more research on what other companies have found. Or maybe this is something we could crowdsource.

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12 thoughts on “Eye tracking

  1. Hey Stacy! I can definitely see Facebook selling its top search result… “recommended”- right! Just supported by the largest budget! But I guess that’s the way things go. When messing around with the graph search I tried ‘restaurants that serve baklava’ and came up with zip. Facebook, get on it. The news reading research was pretty in line with my preferences. I’m definitely an intimate reader and prefer to scroll horizontally, but I remain one of the few that likes the flipboard style. Maybe I’m too visual for my own good!

  2. Hi Stacy, it’s great this article was so timely for you! Sounds like you all have made the right decisions for your new tablet launch. I also really liked viewing the heat map, it’s a cool way to process the data. I hadn’t thought about if Facebook will sell those top 2 results, but I think it’s only a matter of time. Money, Money, Money!!

    I don’t have a tablet, but I’ve used one a few times. My usage is about 50/50 with the research. I actually prefer vertical view, but I’ve never seen carousel view before. I think I’d love it or hate it. I do totally agree with using the back button. I default to what’s familiar. Some times that makes it more difficult depending on the page, but I never look for the back button on the page itself… always to the browser.

    1. Money makes everything better. We’ve been having that discussion at work a lot lately. While we might not agree with doing something on our website, the right amount of money will change our minds. It’s sad but true.

  3. I definitely think Facebook will move toward paid results. It’s been the social networks trend so far. When Facebook first started there was no advertising, than little by little, paid advertising creeped in. I don’t see why it wouldn’t with this feature either. They already have targeted ads for users’ specific like and interests. I think it’s probably the only next step for the social network. As for how I use my tablet to read news, I’ve never thought about my usage until this week, but I think the descriptions were pretty dead on. I’m definitely an “intimate” user, but I know many people (including my mom) who are more detached and “patient” with their news intake on tablets. Do you think there’s a correlation between print newspaper readers being detached tablet users? I think it could be. I’ve never been a big newspaper reader, so I often find myself web surfing instead of reading full articles on a tablet.

    1. It’s only a matter of time before Facebook starts selling the search spots. While I’m not a fan of the Facebook ads, they are successful and we use them at my company.

      There could be a relation between detached readers and newspaper readers. I don’t feel like I’m an intimate reader but I’ve never been fond of reading newspapers.

  4. I’m surprised Facebook already doesn’t have paid results. I’m sure it’s part of their plan, but don’t want to rock the boat just yet. I’m with you on detached reading, and I’m also not fond of reading newspapers. I prefer to read vertically, but I’ve never had a tablet, so maybe I would like vertical reading if I had a chance to try it. I always use the back button in the browser – and usually don’t even see the back button on the page itself. I don’t think anything is wrong with that, but it’s interesting that most of us seem to default to the browser’s back button.

    That’s so great Facebook ads work for you! We’ve tried using them for employee recruitment, to no major success. What sort of ads are you posting? I

    1. We’ve run Facebook ads to get more likes on our Facebook page. We target people who like golf and fans of the PGA Tour, our male counterpart. We’re going to try and run some soon to drive traffic to our website. Hopefully they are successful.

  5. Stacy,

    I think it’s only a matter of time before Facebook starts selling the top ad space once they can accurately place a price on the space. It would make very little sense for them not to, but at the same time who knows.

    As far as reading on my iPad, I think I fall into the interactive/intimate reader category. I like being able to move around and look at specific parts of an article. I do prefer to read books vertically on my iPad, but when it comes to articles I tend to like it the other way.

  6. I’m a little late to the party, but I, too, think Facebook will sell top spaces to advertisers. Why wouldn’t they?

    But for me, the larger issue is what can we trust anymore? Are Google search results valid based on what I’m looking for during a search or has the dollar now made my search somewhat irrelevant? Is Facebook going to show me whatever it wants to show me because someone added a few more coins to the meter?

    I’m not trying to be cynical, I’m just curious as to what we see is truly what we see and not some distorted, money-driven perception of reality.

    1. I agree. They’d be missing the money boat if they didn’t incorporate paid search into Facebook. I’m ok with people paying for top search spots as long as they are marked advertising like Google does.

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