• Biometrics brings technology marketing increased focus
  • Biometrics brings technology marketing increased focus

    How brands and marketers can utilise biometric technology to track users' emotional responses to digital campaigns

    David Wharram, CEO of Coast Digital

    Biometric user testing is relatively new in the marketing landscape. Despite the technology existing for a number of years now, its overall use in the public has been limited. Typically, biometric technology has been used in security measures adding to the misconceptions surrounding its wider application. In the last few years, biometrics has become increasingly popular and has crept into the public domain through personal mobile security which is now being used as an analytical tool providing data to retail, digital marketing and user experience (UX) development. Additionally, it has the ability to assist brands and marketers in creating an engaging and emotive digital campaign. 

    Many technology marketing leaders are not aware of the full potential and capabilities of biometric technology. By utilising biometrics, marketers can add a whole new level to UX insights - highlighting not just the what but also the why of a customer's journey. 

    Biometrics is one area of technology which is set to continue growing and innovating different industries.  Research has predicted that the biometric market will grow to $65.3 billion by 2024. 

    There is already a number of biometric techniques for UX testing being used, such as eye-tracking, facial expression recognition and galvanic skin response, where changes in a user's emotional response is monitored. There is a whole variety of opportunities and possibilities with these techniques, with UX testing only in it's early stages of development. 

    By adopting these techniques, in particular eye tracking, you are able to see where customers look on the screen as they make their way through a webpage, providing an accurate representation of what the customers is drawn to and what they avoid. Additionally, through facial expression analysis and galvanic skin response, emotion can be analysed and marketers are able to fully understand the customer's journey as well as aspects they do not respond to as much. The combination of data tools and biometrics complement each other really well. 

    One use case of this technology is at the University of Essex. The University wanted to ensure that it was putting its students at the heart of everything and providing them with an experience they would enjoy when it comes to the University's digital platforms. To gather information on how students reacted to certain pages and tasks, biometric technology was used in order to find out how the students were using first and third party tools and how they were behaving when using them. Eye tracking, galvanic skin responses and facial expression recognition software were used to monitor the students emotional responses. The results found a spike in emotion when students were confronted with pages that were heavily cluttered. One of the most significant findings highlighted was that the students login information was the same across multiple platforms, there was no single sign-on platform.  From these results and additional ones, the University will be able to use them to improve the students' online experience. 

    Although biometrics can be expensive to deploy, when done correctly, the benefits can outweigh the initial costs. The cost can depend heavily on the type of study and the number of participants involved. Costs can also be decided by how clear a journey is defined. 

    One of the main problems with biometric technology is the lack of understanding and not knowing the true value it holds. It is the role of the companies providing biometrics to raise awareness and educate others about  the innovative technology.  Companies have different objectives, therefore it is all down to personal preference and what will suit them best, whilst providing the most benefits. Research has highlighted that it takes people just 0.05 seconds to make a judgement on a website, therefore creating a visually pleasing user experience is vital. This is also emphasised with further research suggesting  that 88% of visitors are less likely to return to a site if they have had a negative experience. 

    It is now vital to optimise the customer experience and this can be achieved by tracking emotional responses to digital campaigns. As the future for biometrics technology seems bright, one thing is clear - it is no longer a technology reserved for just a few and instead is likely to become considerably more mainstream, you can learn more here.