After his first big academic conference, Olivier Tilleuil felt discouraged with the limitations of conventional market research methodologies and decided to quit his doctoral studies, never expecting to conduct research again. Coincidentally, he stumbled upon an eye-tracking study and realized its vast potential. In short, eye-tracking’s benefits are that there is no subjective bias as it measures where people are looking and it is based on their reactions. However, conventional eye tracking has historically been cost prohibitive and is time consuming.
Attempting to make eye tracking quick and cost-effective was the beginning of this amazing journey. Five years later, we have developed the behavioral lab in a cloud and conducted research in more than 40 countries with over half a million participants – and counting. The EyeSee team consists of 60 amazing and insightful people and is growing rapidly. Here is how it all started, who has contributed to our growth and what the future holds for EyeSee.
The Vision: From Online Eye Tracking to Neurolab in the Cloud
Conventional market research methods, such as surveys and interviews provide only a glimpse into consumer psychology, as they only tap into the conscious mind. However, the majority of the decision-making process takes place in the subconscious mind, so it is not surprising that surveys quantifying purchase intent have a very low correlation with real consumer behavior. Plus, these conventional methods are subject to the usual human biases, such as the confirmation bias.
Conversely, eye tracking measures where people are looking, which is a lot less subject to bias and has strong predictive value. Simply, if shoppers don’t see the ad or the package, they will not buy the product. However, conventional eye tracking uses specialized devices, making it very expensive and time-consuming. The original idea was to develop an online solution which enables us to track people’s gaze with their own computer and webcam. No additional hardware is required, we get results fast and can test large samples!
The Clients: Active Listening and Trust Leading to Innovation
Thanks to our clients, eye tracking was only the beginning! Many of our innovations have drawn inspiration from practical work. When Coca-Cola requested insights on consumers’ emotions, we implemented facial coding in addition to eye tracking. Thanks to Omega Pharma who wanted information on actual purchase behavior, we introduced virtual shopping.
Tying these innovations together into a comprehensive solution has unique advantages: they focus on behavior’s strong predictive qualities and they are also fast, cost-effective, and globally scalable. Based on these methods, we came to develop the most advanced testing protocols for packaging and online advertising: see it (eye tracking), like it (facial coding), buy it (virtual shopping).
We are very grateful to our clients for being so willing to embrace new technologies. Although our methodologies provide a high return on investment, some researchers are slow to adopt new and impactful technologies. One of them told us “nobody got fired for hiring Millward Brown”. That’s true in a sense, but a certain Mark pointed out that “the biggest risk is not taking any risk”. However, our team never disappoints their clients which is evident in customer satisfaction scores that are above 4.5/5, with more than a 90% retention rate among clients.
The People: Building a Team Up for the Challenge
Achieving this level of customer satisfaction and track record requires an amazing team! Although EyeSee-ers come from different backgrounds, they all share essential personality traits – (1) taking responsibility and initiative, (2) life-long learning attitude and (3) “whatever it takes” mentality. That is the type of person who would be bored in any other organization!
We are highly demanding, but give the employees the opportunity to prove themselves, which often results in a fast-track career path. Given that there are twice as many EyeSee-ers each year, there are a lot of opportunities for our employees.
EyeSee keeps on growing in every way possible. Our solution portfolio is expanding with platforms for brand health testing and innovation testing, and we’ll soon launch our mobile platform. However, our focus on fast and cost-effective behavioral insights remains.
From an organizational point of view, we are aiming to remain client orientated by implementing a bonus system based on client evaluations, implementing further automation, and significantly investing in educational sessions to build the next generation of insights leaders.
We are very excited to continue to work on the biggest insights projects in digital, advertising and shopper marketing with leading consumer-oriented companies and VC-backed scale-ups. Cheers!