When potential dates, employers and friends glance at your online social profiles, what do they see? EyeTrackShop, a startup that runs eye-tracking studies for advertisers, helpedMashable find out by applying its technology to the profile pages of popular social networks.
The study used the webcams of 30 participants to record their eye movements as they were shown profile pages fromFacebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Klout, Reddit, Digg, Tumblr, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Pinterest at 10-second intervals. What participants looked at on each page and in what order is recorded in the images below.
It’s not a perfect study. Thirty is a small sample size, and what draws attention on a profile likely varies depending on the content displayed. But we’ve hazarded making a few observations:
- Profile pictures matter. The site feature that attracted most attention on Klout, Facebook and StumbleUpon was the profile photo.
- Job title garnered more attention than profile photo on LinkedIn. In fact, it got more attention than anything else on the page.
- Who you know gets noticed. Even if for no better reason than their placement on the page, people do look at those little thumbnails of friends that appear on many social profiles. You can see this in the data from the Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Klout profiles.
- Content on top wins. The further something is down a page, the fewer number of people look at it. This was true on both content-focused profiles such as Pinterest and Digg as well as socially focused profiles such as Facebook. On the Twitter and YouTube profiles, the effect was less extreme.
Take a gander at the results of the study in the gallery below, and let us know your own observations in the comments.