How to use smartphone eye tracking on UX research: a case study

Using smartphone eye tracking can improve the usability of your website or app.

Every day we are bombarded with triggers trying to attract our attention on our smartphones. Whether on websites, social networks, or apps, visual elements are guiding us to the most important information on our mobile screens.

To explore how visual elements can improve usability, Oculid and eye square partnered up to conduct a study using smartphone eye tracking and in-context testing solutions.

The study

Using our proprietary smartphone eye tracking technology in combination with eye square's real InContext Research, the study had 100 participants across the United States.

  • First, the participants took a pre-questionnaire to make sure that only the ones who were fit for the test would join it. Then they did the calibration on Oculid's app to ensure the quality and precision of the results.
  • They looked at an Instagram ad and were taken to the online shopping page to find the product they saw on the advertising.
  • They performed both tasks in their natural environment and with no recording of personal data. Later, they took another questionnaire with Recall and Recognition.

All the tests were performed on the participants' devices, with no additional hardware, in the comfort of their homes. The recordings were automatically and instantly uploaded to Oculid's platform. The fielding phase took 2 days and the analysis took 3 days.

Why using smartphone eye tracking?

Did you know that nowadays more than 60% of all searches happen on mobile phones? In a study comparing desktop and mobile, it was shown that users are relying more and more on their phones to make decisions. However, bounce rates were higher, indicating that attracting and keeping user engagement is a bigger challenge than before.

That is why eye tracking on smartphones can be so powerful for market and UX research. When testing the performance of e-commerce or a social media ad, using eye tracking can provide valuable insights not only about the users' actions but also their motivations.

Social media ads findings

With an eye tracking A/B test it was possible to understand why an ad stands out and which parts of the video ad draw the consumers' attention. Here are the main findings:

  • Create content accordingly to the platform. If your advertising on Instagram, for example, your content should be optimized for the channel. If it is a video, the first seconds are crucial to draw attention and create engagement.
  • Whether with video or ad, the saying "love at first sight" is true. The first impressions will determine the average view time and the attention.
  • It is not about only showing your product or brand, but when to show it. The time and duration of the display can be imperative to catch the audience's interest.

E-commerce findings

The A/B test was also proved to give incredible insights into the elements of e-commerce. Here are the main findings:

  • Most shoppers don't scroll down. Less than 10% of fast-moving consumer goods shoppers scroll any of the enhanced content below the fold into view.
  • Consumers are visually motivated. Get their attention with big, clear images and use visual triggers they know.
  • Shoppers are interested in the description. They spent a lot of time reading the Product Detail Page, so make sure to focus on the product's benefits.


  • Conducting a fast and easy study with no complex lab set-up meeting provided accurate and valuable data for both market and UX research.
  • When testing mobile apps and websites, smartphone eye tracking can be used remotely in the most natural context.
  • Combining eye tracking and InContext testing solutions can be powerful for researchers.


July 11, 2021

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