Gaze Cueing: How to increase conversion by directing gaze

  • Reading time: 2 minutes

If you’re conversing with someone and they look behind you, you’ll likely follow their gaze and turn around, wondering, “What’s happening behind me?” This ‘intrinsic curiosity’ is precisely what gaze cueing entails. In this blog, I’ll explain this concept and show you how to leverage it to increase your conversions.

1. What is Gaze Cueing?

Gaze cueing, the process of directing attention through another’s gaze, is a psychological phenomenon where our focus is involuntarily drawn to the same point another person is looking at. This instinctive response is vital for social interaction, guiding us to follow others’ visual cues.

In marketing, gaze cueing is leveraged to capture consumer attention and direct it toward specific products or messages. By strategically placing models or characters who appear to be looking at a product, marketers can naturally draw the viewer’s eye to that product, enhancing visibility and interest.

Understanding and applying gaze cueing can significantly improve engagement and conversion rates, making it a powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal.

This example shows that we’re attracted to faces. And when someone (or in this case a baby) looks at the text, our attention is drawn to this same text.

2. Which parts of the brain are involved?

Gaze cueing in the brain is characterized by the collaboration of several areas. Key among these are:

Superior Temporal Sulcus (STS): part of the neural network processing facial information. The STS responds to human movements, including eye movements, and aids in understanding the intentions and subsequent actions of others.

Amygdala: responds to facial expressions and plays a role in discerning the emotions of others. Interestingly, the amygdala remains active even when facial expressions are neutral. The left amygdala is primarily involved in interpreting gaze direction, while the right amygdala is activated during direct eye contact with another person.

Intraparietal Sulcus (IPS): involved in directing attention. The IPS becomes particularly active when someone averts their gaze, prompting your attention system to focus on where the other person is looking.

3. A couple of examples

Adjusting an image so that the model looks at your product or button is already a significant win for increasing conversion. It can be that straightforward. 

Here a couple of examples from our clients. You can see that by making small changes to images, we can already direct visitors’ attention to what truly matters.

4. What is spatial cueing?

There are also other ways to guide the visitor’s attention. In addition to gaze direction, a visual element such as an arrow, for instance, can be very effective.

Conclusion

You can influence your visitor’s gaze direction by placing eyes or using other visual elements to ‘point’ towards it. This ensures their attention is drawn there, ultimately increasing conversion. It’s that straightforward!