As a result of technological advancements and decreasing costs, the use of biometrics in marketing has experienced significant growth since the turn of the century. Biometric devices that can unobtrusively track consumers’ responses are providing valuable insights in various fields such as advertising, digital marketing, packaging, product development, and retailing.
Leading market research agencies like Ipsos, GfK, Millward Brown, and Nielsen, along with many startups and technology firms, have either acquired or developed expertise in biometrics. Manufacturers are also using biometrics in-house to better understand their consumers. For example, GSK has set up labs in the UK (Exhibit 15.1) and Singapore with various biometric technologies to help them understand consumer preferences and gain insights into shopping behaviours.
While the term “biometrics” was previously narrowly defined, in this text, it is used as a generic descriptor for technologies used to observe consumers’ physiological and behavioural characteristics. This chapter focuses on the techniques that have gained traction with marketing practitioners, including EEG (electroencephalogram) and GSR (galvanic skin response), which are increasingly used by analysts to observe consumers' physiological characteristics, as well as techniques like eye tracking and facial coding, which are used to observe behavioural characteristics. It discusses the relevant technologies, devices, metrics, and applications of these techniques.
It should be noted that since the essential nature of biometrics is the observation and measurement of behaviour and physiology, it falls under the domain of both qualitative and quantitative research.
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