Google Taps Eye-Tracking Research For YouTube Ads


MRC International has worked with Google in Sweden to test banner ads on YouTube through the company's eye-tracking technology, according to Mathias Plank, MRC's founder and CEO. The study, conducted in the first quarter of 2011, was intended to test the effectiveness of a display campaign for Scandinavian Airlines SAS, which ran a masthead ad campaign on YouTube.

It turns out that 87% of consumers recalled the ad, and almost as many had a positive response to the content, according to MRC. Plank said this is not the first time that Google has tapped into the company's eye-tracking technology. Since MRC launched the technology in December, Google has frequently used it in Sweden to gauge the effectiveness of ads.

Plank said the platform known as EyeTrackShop, an online ad-tracking platform developed by MRC, gives marketers insight into how ads or Web sites are perceived by consumers who opt in to the study. Data is gathered, and results are available within 48 hours. The platform relies on computer Web cameras to determine what people look at on the Web page, and then collects the data. That means people allow MRC to track their eye movement through the Web camera.

MRC collects ads from brands they want to test, and sends them to consumers participating in the research. The participating consumers' Web camera is calibrated and monitors the consumer as ads are reviewed.

The consumers see the ad and answer a few survey questions. MRC collects the results and measures the effectiveness of the ads.

Other companies offer eye-tracking studies for ads and Web site pages, but using home computer webcams can provide an advantage to gain a broad perspective of consumers worldwide and keep costs down. It's less expensive than conducting tests in labs supported by biometric and neurological-marketing research.

MRC opened a U.S. office in New York last month, and now conducts up to 100 studies per month for a variety of companies.

In April, MRC announced that it hired Jeff Bander as senior vice president of client services to run the New York City office and build out a dedicated sales team for the U.S. market to support international clients such as Procter & Gamble, Google, GroupM, and Clear Channel Outdoor, among others.

Prior to joining MRC International, Bander served as the senior vice president of client services of NeuroFocus. He also served as head of sales at Hollywood Media Corporation and WorldNow.


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