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Susie Hood

Biometric Marketing: What Is Biometric Technology and How Can Marketers Use It?

The dictionary definition of biometry is ‘the application of statistical analysis to biological data’. Biometrics is the measurement and analysis of people’s characteristics and behaviours and is used in everything from border and law enforcement settings to healthcare, with parts of this technology even being used in many of our smartphones and wearable devices. Some of its uses are more to do with identification and security e.g. fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scanning etc.); some are concerned with measuring and analysing the body’s real-time reactions to certain stimuli; think a heart rate monitor in a fitness device, or a lie detector or polygraph test.

Biometric marketing is the science of tracking and analysing user's biometric attributes and how the data can be used to improve website user experience, conversion rate and other marketing. Biometrics technology is used mainly in other industries such as security, but it is used in marketing to identify customer characteristics and deliver personalised user experience.

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How does biometrics help online marketing?

When a brand is trying to get insight into their target market and find patterns in user behaviour when it comes to how their customers shop or make buying decisions, biometrics can be the perfect tool to not just find out how their audience react to certain things, but also how people use and engage with their website and how things they experience online make them feel, whether they know it or not.

With advanced UX testing and CRO research, biometrics can be used to track and measure a number of different physical responses that people have to a website or content that they see/hear. When used with people that closely align with your target audience, it’s possible to gain valuable insights that will help to guide future marketing strategy. See our video below on how it works

What type of biometrics equipment is used and what does it measure?

There are a variety of different sensors that can be used in this type of setting to measure many different human responses and together can build an accurate picture of what the respondent is thinking and feeling, whether consciously or not, when they use a website, look at content or advertising material. These sensors can include:

Eye tracking – shows what the respondent looks at (and what they don’t) while using a website or viewing content. It can highlight how effective the site or content is in achieving its aim and how easy, or difficult, it is for respondents to find what they are looking for and complete certain tasks.

Facial expression analysis – recognises emotions and can show whether the respondent is feeling positive, negative or neutral at any given time.

Galvanic skin response (GSR) – measures sweat levels across skin to highlight the intensity of a response.

Electroencephalography (EEG) - uses a cap with sensors placed on the head to get a reading on brain activity relating to attention, excitement and frustration.

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The value is in the analysis of biometrics data

Gathering the data is one task, but the value from a marketing point of view is all in the analysis of the information and the insight it provides, especially when looked at in a wider context. Peaks and troughs of attention and engagement can be tracked against what the respondent was viewing or doing at the time, and frustration can be mapped against certain website features or tasks. When the data of several respondents is compared and combined, this can build a truly valuable picture of what needs to change in order to maximise audience interest, foster positive emotions and optimise conversions.

Biometrics is a word that evokes futuristic ideas, something that is almost sci-fi. However, biometrics is already here and is a big part of our daily lives. From biometric passports to using our fingerprints to open our phones and measuring our heart rate while we run, the use of this type of technology is only set to increase.

What data is collected in advanced user testing using biometrics?

For marketers and e-commerce, biometrics offer a unique opportunity to gain valuable insight into what your customers or target audience are really thinking when they are on your website. It’s a common human trait to not always say what we really think, and sometimes, a reaction might be so fleeting that it has barely registered. This is where biometrics can uniquely help define what the sticking points are in a user’s journey and help inform conversion rate optimisation and UX strategies. 

Typically, biometrics track a handful of responses such as eye tracking, facial expression analysis, galvanic skin response and brain activity. All this is then analysed to see how users are navigating around and reacting to a website. The data collected can include:

Eye tracking

Eye tracking technology shows what the user is looking at, what they don’t look at, what is distracting them and what they are attracted to. Generally, this is presented as a heat map. Historically, heat maps have been generated by following mouse movements, but studies have shown that the eye is not always looking where the cursor is situated, and for sites that are predominantly used on a mobile, a visual heat map has the benefit of showing a far more accurate picture of user behaviour.

Facial expression analysis

This clever piece of technology recognises emotions. Data generated by this can reveal what a user is feeling whilst navigating a website. This could be joy, engagement, frustration, disgust or any other emotions that can be interpreted.  By monitoring this we can see whether a user is having a positive experience or a negative experience and hypothesise why they might be having such an experience, when combining this data some of the other measurements to see what they are looking at or trying to do at the time.

Galvanic skin response (GSR)

Galvanic skin response measures sweat levels across skin to highlight the intensity of a reaction or response. GSR gives an idea of when a user is getting stressed or exhibits emotional arousal when using a website. When pairing this with eye tracking, for example, we can see where and when a user is feeling this.

Brain activity

Brain activity, also known as electroencephalography (EEG), is monitored using a special sensor cap that is placed on the head to help measure brain activity relating to attention, excitement and frustration while they are using a website.

By combining these biometric measures with web analytics and other user tests, we can see an accurate and realistic view of what users are experiencing in real time. This means brands and e-commerce websites have valuable data that can take the guesswork from creating CRO and UX strategies.

For more information about our Advanced UX / Neuroscientific approach to improving conversion rate and overall user experience, CLICK HERE, or alternatively feel free to get in touch today on 0800 011 9715 or Enquire HERE!

 

If you have a business in the financial sector and would like to up your marketing game or receive some expert information about digital marketing for financial services, then get in touch with a member of our team!

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