Google Begins Using Biometrics to Measure Ad Effectiveness

By Tracey E. Schelmetic May 31, 2011

Creating effective ads has always been a bit of a trial and error process. You created an ad campaign according to conventional wisdom, you tested its effectiveness and you refined it. It was a lengthy, labor-intensive and pricey process. But what if you could understand how people viewed your ad and how they reacted to it before you even signed an insertion order?

Some Internet companies have begun doing just that.

According to Investors Business Daily, Google has been using a company called MRC International to help them determine the effectiveness of ads before they even launch. MRC is a biometric testing company that conducts eye-tracking studies of display ads. The company has worked in the past for YouTube in Sweden and several other European countries. What the company does is measure the eye movements and vital signs of volunteers while they view ads, noting where their eyes track and how their heart rates respond.

Google reportedly hopes the tests, which could expand to the U.S. this year, will help advertisers get more value from their ad placements. If so, that should boost Google's ad revenue, Jeff Bander, MRC's senior vice president of client services, told Investors Business Daily.

“If they can go to an advertiser and say 'people are spending an average of three seconds looking at your ad,' that is phenomenal and you can get them to buy more by validating what (consumers) are focusing on,” said Bander.

Google isn't the first to use biometric technology to determine the effectiveness of ads. Yahoo has reportedly been doing the same in bid to assist its advertisers.


Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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