Eye tracking shapes marketing

The art of effective online and offline communication has benefited greatly from eye tracking research. The study of how the human eye registers and perceives visual communications has delivered some fascinating insights, especially on how we automatically filter the information.

Research by Professor Siegfried Vogele of the Institute for Direct Marketing in Munich revealed that 100% of the individuals tested applied a common method of visual scanning. Vogele’s findings validated that a consumer’s focus could be affected by the placement of imagery and graphic elements. The results of this study have great implications for the design of effective marketing communication.

In my experience the process of commissioning new marketing materials through a creative agency seldom involves reference to valuable eye tracking research. How many designers out there are aware of Vogele’s research when they produce a design layout for a flyer, brochure, website or direct mail piece?

Research findings

In the case of a single page the human eye tracks top left to bottom right.


The hot spots where the eye will pay most attention are depicted by the orange circles.


With a double page the eye tracks top right to bottom right, via the centre of left.


The hot spots on a double page with a cold spot on the centre left.


To avoid cold spots use an attention grabber on the far centre left, this drags the eye over more of the page.


Locating an attention grabber in the wrong area can risk creating dead space.


Shapes that attract attention

Circles are better than squares.


80% of people will look at a vertical shape before a horizontal.


A colour image is more effective than black and white.


A group image is more effective than an individual.


A larger image is more effective than a small image.


Eye contact is more effective than everything else.


When cut-through is paramount in today’s information overloaded society – key research such as this has a big role to play when creating design concepts and layout that have maximum impact. In another article we cover typography and copy styles and its importance in creating effective marketing materials.