What is Biometric Testing?

Biometric User Testing is relatively new on the digital marketing scene. Don’t panic – it’s really not as scary as it sounds. Essentially, it applies the principles of psychological testingtechniques to the context of digital marketing. That translated? It is used to test and record the responses of users when interacting with retailers’ websites and apps. Both emotional arousal and stress reaction measures are used in order to achieve this and data is then collated to provide insights on the findings.

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Subject Connected to Galvanic Skin Response Kit while conducting Website User Session. (Source: Space Between Ltd).

How does Testing Work?

Testing a sample using qualitative and quantitative data, opportunities for these refinements quickly becomes apparent in the data reports. Subjects are selected to match the demographic profile of the website being tested. They are set up in a Biometric Laboratory, which guarantees consistency in the testing environment. The testing itself involves the application of various measures, including: Galvanic Skin Response (similar to polygraph testing in measuring palm sweat levels), Eye Tracking (what the subjects are looking at on screen), Mouse Tracking (what the subjects mouse is doing on screen), Facial Expression Analysis and Attention Analysis (captured with various user cameras during the testing session). Subjects also provide direct feedback on their experience using the website, usually in a series of questionnaires and surveys. Subjects are given several tasks to complete on the website, such as searching for a specific item, and proceeding to cart checkout. This testing process usually takes around one hour per subject and is highly valuable to highlighting key issues with eCommerce and functionality and overall usability. A deeper level of analysis can be achieved by repeating this testing process again with the same subjects, but this time performing the same test on competitor websites. This highlights the areas of success and improvement for an eCommerce site in the context of competitor presence.

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Subject Facial Analysis recording and data feed during User Session (Source: Space Between Ltd).

How is it Applied?

Unsurprisingly, Biometric Testing has seen its early adopters in the mega eCommerce Retailing Market (think the big online supermarkets like WholeFoods, travel booking sites like Skyscanner, and marketplaces like Amazon). The reason being that they all have huge traffic volumes and huge online sales in common. When it comes to refinement, or optimization of their eCommerce site, a small tweak can mean the difference of millions of dollars in sales. So their common interest is in complete eCommerce refinement for the ultimate User Experience. But the benefits of Biometrics are now being recognised by smaller businesses too, and rightfully so. In a culture where a smooth online experience is so vital to successful business, particularly when financial transactions are involved, public expectation is constantly growing. This isn’t just isolated to big business – consumers have come to expect this now of all eCommerce interaction.

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Biometrics User Testing – Applied  by the Big eCommerce Retailers (Source: Christian Wiediger, Unsplash)

Now What?

If you are in the business of eCommerce, it’s time to consider if Biometric Testing  is a marketing method you should be applying. As a general rule of thumb, the greater the site traffic, the greater the potential for achieving big results. So, if you are only just starting up, it may not be the right time for you. If you are a bigger business, with a robust online presence and marketing team, this could be your big opportunity for untapped growth in 2019. With User Experience and Conversion Optimization being high on the agenda for most digital teams, it’s time to consider if Biometrics Testing should become part of your ongoing digital strategy. Remember, when it comes to website traffic, users expect a seamless journey. The only way to truly test how your users interact with your site, and to identify any common pain points they may have, is to apply Biometric Testing.