Biometric Testing for Digital Marketing

How eye tracking, GSR, & facial expression analysis can deliver the ultimate UX insight


Biometric Testing for Digital Marketing

How eye tracking, GSR, & facial expression analysis can deliver the ultimate UX insight

How eye tracking, GSR, & facial expression analysis can deliver the ultimate UX insight.

For online marketers and traditional marketers alike, research techniques like questionnaires and phone interviews help us better understand the needs and preferences of our target market.

However, to deliver a user experience that’s not just good, but truly exceptional, we must look beyond what people say and take into account how they feel in order to gain superior user insight.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

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Biometric Testing for
Digital Marketing – How eye tracking, GSR, & facial expression analysis can deliver the ultimate UX insight.

In today’s complex and fast-moving world, what we need even more than foresight or hindsight is insight.

21st century consumers expect a positive user experience and, no matter what you’re selling, conducting user research is vital in order to deliver a first-rate experience that doesn’t just meet consumer expectations, but exceeds them.

For online marketers and traditional marketers alike, research techniques like questionnaires and phone interviews help us better understand the needs and preferences of our target market.

However, to deliver a user experience that’s not just good, but truly exceptional, we must look beyond what people say and take into account how they feel in order to gain superior user insight.

In this guide, you’ll find out:

  • What biometrics means
  • How to utilise biometric testing for digital marketing
  • The advantages of eye tracking, GSR, and facial expression analysis
  • How you can benefit from Elixirr Digital’s Biometric UX Lab


  1. What is Biometrics?
  2. Biometrics & marketing
  3. Why consumer emotions matter
  4. Eye tracking
  5. Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)
  6. Facial expression analysis
  7. Combined insights
  8. Elixirr Digital’s UX Biometric Research Lab



What is Biometrics?

Biometrics is a combination of two words:

  • Biology > Life
  • Metrics > Measurement

So, by extension, biometrics – or ‘biometry’ – refers to the measurement of life. More specifically, the scientific measurement and statistical analysis of human traits, characteristics, behaviour and emotion.

Current uses

You’re probably more familiar with biometric technology than you realise. In law enforcement and security fields, biometry is already quite prominent.

For example, ePassport gates at airports use facial recognition technology to match your face to the photograph stored on the microchip in your ePassport.

What’s more, many phones now feature fingerprint recognition and/ or iris scanning capabilities for optimal device security.

Find out how marketers can harness the power of biometric technology



Biometrics & marketing

Biometric research utilises high-end technology to monitor and record a user’s biological reaction to stimuli. From a digital marketing perspective, it’s this very principle that highlights why biometrics and market research are a match made in heaven.

If people are browsing your site but fail to submit their details, purchase your products/services, or if you’re simply not seeing the traffic you want to be seeing, biometric research can help you understand why.

Customer-centric innovation

Having access to raw, emotional data opens up a completely new avenue of customer-centric innovation. By watching users interact with your website in real-time, you’ll be able to see how they physically react to what they see on screen.

This will enable you to optimise your design, copy, layout etc. much more effectively in order to:

  • Improve your brand’s image
  • Improve user experience
  • Increase customer satisfaction & engagement
  • Achieve higher conversion rates

Stand out from the crowd

Biometrics gives marketers the perfect tools for venturing beyond the boundaries of user preference. Understanding your audience’s pain points has always been the key to successful marketing, and now we can do that more accurately than ever – because biometrics don’t lie.

Search engines are crowded. To stand out from the crowd, it’s vital to establish and maintain high-performing websites with a clear user journey that holds your audience’s attention and gives them what they’re looking for – and that’s exactly what biometrics helps us to do.

“We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.” – Antonio Damasio



Why consumer emotions matter

Traditional market research techniques, although still relevant, can only go so far in terms of providing reliable insight. Yes, people could simply tell us what they think of a website’s copy, design and usability, but the way they feel about it gives us a completely different dimension of understanding.

Human beings are irrational creatures and, for the most part, we are influenced by our emotions, as opposed to rational thought processes. According to scientific studies, our emotions play a central role in our purchasing decisions.

As shown in the diagram, roughly 90% of our decision-making process is subconscious and is based on emotional response – this occurs in a split second.

The remaining 10% factors in conscious, rational processing, such as considerations about pricing or logistics – though these are never our initial reactions.

Cater to your audience’s emotions

With specific, data-driven insight into which aspects of your site arouse user interest and which incite frustration or contempt, you can identify golden opportunities to optimise what works, and rethink what doesn’t.

stimulus processing arrow diagram

“Emotion is the currency of experience, and it’s an absolute necessity when creating great experiences.” – John Mellor



Eye tracking

With eye tracking technology, you get to see your website through the eyes of your target audience. This allows you to measure its visual impact and make improvements where necessary.

tablet with eye tracking equipment

What is it?

When a potential customer visits your website, where do they look? Which areas catch their eye and which elements do they ignore? Eye tracking technology measures optical movement and visual attention to give us the answers to these questions.

Our state-of-the-art eye tracking equipment allows us to record and quantify visual attention to screen-based stimuli on both desktop and mobile devices.

Ultimately, this gives you the chance to identify key areas of interest on your website, as well as areas with room for improvement.

how eye tracking works

Visual outputs

Generate comprehensive session reports with helpful outputs such as:

  • Heatmaps showing attention distribution
  • Fixation & gaze points
  • Areas of interest (AOI)
  • Time spent
  • Fixation sequences

Example outputs:

example outputs from eye tracking


Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)

What is it?

The Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor detects and measures changes in a user’s sweat levels and heart rate. The point of this is to determine the user’s level of emotional arousal in response to certain stimuli.

Perspiration and an increase in heart rate are key indicators of emotional stimulation. We often sweat or experience shortness of breath when we’re feeling nervous, scared, or excited. GSR technology can’t determine which emotions are being felt, but it can indicate how intensely they’re being felt as a reaction to certain content.

galvanic skin response equipment in use

How does it work?

The sensor’s non-invasive electrodes easily connect to the subject’s skin, then a constant low voltage is applied, allowing the sensor to measure the electrical current between the electrodes.

Sweat secretion can’t be controlled consciously, it’s driven by the nervous system and reflects changes in our emotional state.

GSR’s true power is revealed when combined with other biometric data sources. As a standalone sensor, emotional arousal can be identified, but not necessarily explained.



Facial expression analysis

Our facial expressions are strong indicators of our emotions. Advanced facial expression recognition software allows us
to capture and record these emotional expressions for unparalleled user insight.

What is it?

This state-of-the-art software can identify up to 7 different emotions based on facial expressions:

  • Contempt
  • Surprise
  • Disgust
  • Joy
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness

How does it work?

This non-intrusive software performs 3 simple steps:

  1. Facial detectionThe software detects the presence of the subject’s face through the webcam, much like the camera
    on your phone can.
  2. Facial feature identificationThe software identifies the facial “landmarks”, such as mouth corners, eyes, tip of the nose etc.
  3. Emotional classificationThe software’s algorithm evaluates facial movements like a curved mouth or brow furrows and then categorises the implied emotion.

facial expression recognition software screen capture
facial expression recognition software screen capture


Combined insights

Though each of these technologies are remarkable on their own, when combined, eye tracking, GSR, and facial expression analysis form a collectively sophisticated technology that’s much greater than the sum of its parts.

Results from biometric testing tells us more than people are often able to articulate. As mentioned, it identifies subconscious reactions that a user isn’t aware of.

That’s not to say that traditional market research methods are now redundant, quite the opposite in fact. These existing methods help provide context around results gleaned from biometric testing.

Synchronise, visualise, analyse

Having a collectively clear understanding of how your users engage with your online presence is the first step towards getting the best possible return on your investment.

By integrating these three biometric sensors, you can sit someone down in front of your website and gain insight into:

  • What they are looking at
  • The emotions triggered by your site
  • How intensely they are feeling those emotions

combined biometric technology desktop setup
combined biometrics software visual


Elixirr Digital’s UX Biometric Research Lab

Our UX lab equipment combines eye tracking, GSR, and facial recognition technology to provide you with unparalleled user insight.

  • Industry leading biometric technology
  • Dual-screen configuration with live feed
  • Powerful data processing capabilities

A Elixirr Digital usability expert will be on-hand to ensure correct set-up and advise you on optimal testing conditions.

Mobile lab

All of our kit is completely mobile, meaning we can travel to wherever your audience can be found, be it an office, event, or even a shop.

UX biometrics lab mobile testing area
We provide:

  • Mobile & desktop usability testing
  • In-situ user observation
  • UX focus groups & workshops
  • Biometric data analysis
  • UX assessments
  • Evaluative reports & post-test analysis
  • Optimisation recommendations

In-house lab

Our in-house, purpose-built facility in Colchester is the perfect creative space for user testing and is also available for hire.

ux biometrics lab montage
Interested in hiring our UX research equipment?

Contact a member of our team today!