Up until now, the use of eye-tracking as a broader market research tool for user and ad testing on smartphones has been held back by several hurdles: complexity, an artificial lab set-up, and or a high price.


Advanced phone cameras and machine learning algorithms have now paved the way for a new form of eye-tracking: smartphone technology. Smartphone eye-tracking precisely captures eye position via its own camera, opening up a new dimension of data collection under real-world conditions. But how does a smartphone eye-tracking study work and what do the study results look like?


Natural settings

See real consumer behavior on personal devices. Users and consumers can participate in settings that normally would not been possible for eye-tracking research.


Get your results fast!

No long waiting time since all recordings can be simultaneously, even in different languages and countries. Quality control and analysis are prepared beforehand so that the results can be accessed immediately.


Eye-tracking data enriched

Combining implicit methods and in-context technology environments like amazon, Instagram or YouTube sandboxes make eye-tracking live up to its’ best. Effects can be measured and compared automatically.


“Today, brands usually test their designs and prototypes on both devices, desktop and smartphone. In the past, we had to ” fix” the smartphone in a cradle and place an eye tracker underneath to be able to measure attention. The setup had to be stowed in a large suitcase and flown around the world. With smartphone eye-tracking technology, we can eliminate the need for cradle setups in in-home studies for the first time.”

– Madeleine Makaranets (Research Consultant)

Smartphone Demo

Discover how exactly smartphone eye-tracking works in this demo, from set-up and calibration to recording. Smartphone eye-tracking is possible on Android and IOS devices and does not require any additional hardware.


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You have open questions? We answer!

What can smartphone eye-tracking achieve that was not possible before?

With smartphone eye tracking, the eye tracking evolution continues and we can focus all the more on user behavior on the device where consumers spend most of their digital free time. As more companies make their websites mobile-first and social media becomes more significant in its role for advertising and online shopping, understanding smartphone usage is now more important than ever. However, the new eye-tracking method alone doesn't make the difference. The secret is combining the technology with a controlled environment and experimental design. For the past 20 years, we have been developing realistic test environments for ad, shopper and UX studies that optimally reflect natural usage directly on the smartphone.

What are the possible use cases for smartphone eye-tracking?

There are a variety of scenarios in which smartphone eye tracking can be used. We and our customers deal with some of these examples on a daily basis in our studies. For example, in the area of brand measurement, we can test the perception of ads and videos in their natural context. In addition, the ever-growing e-commerce field is also becoming more and more important for market research, which is why measuring attention to different product details when shopping online is highly relevant: testing mobile e-commerce sites is a good example for this. Another example can be the classic UX testing process on mobile websites and portals.

How exactly can I imagine the test setting? What does the test person have to observe so that reasonable data can be recorded?

For such a study, the test subjects only need their normal smartphone and Internet access. In this respect, we have few hurdles in selecting the test subjects - all current phone models offer very good front cameras, which are even better than most webcams. To participate, study participants are asked to install an app, which then guides them step-by-step through the entire study, has an integrated Internet browser and records the data. Of course, subjects should not do the study on their way to the bakery or at night in the dark to ensure adequate lighting.

How difficult is it to recruit people for such tests? Which smartphones are suitable for this purpose?

In terms of smartphones, we don't need to do another test; in principle, almost all devices that are no older than 3-4 years will work. We generally see a high willingness to participate and the users understand that the application will only be installed for the duration of the study. The effort to get participants interested in such a study is comparable to a webcam eye-tracking study. An important component of successful acquisition and high participation rates is high transparency from the beginning: Answers to questions such as "What will be recorded?" and "How long will the study take?" are helpful here.

Is the technology provided by eye square or do you have a cooperation partner for this?

Cooperation partners are of central importance for us here. For our different study scenarios, we work with almost all manufacturers of eye tracking devices - from ASL to Tobii. In the case of this study, we are happy to have linked our in-context testing environments together with Oculid and to be able to automate the analysis of the data.


Our Case Study

In this case study, eye square explores the accuracy and effectiveness of smartphone eye-tracking. 100 U.S. subjects viewed ads on Instagram and then shopped at Wal-Mart.


The team was able to demonstrate that there was high eye-tracking accuracy and low drop-out rates. The exact process and benefits of the method can be found in detail in the case study.