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Folio Magazine http://www.foliomag.com/2005/high-tech-touch-and-e-marketing

Eye-tracking, as its name would suggest, follows the course of ocular
activity across a printed page or computer screen. A 2000 study by
the Poynter Institute offered some unexpected information regarding
eye-tracking trends. The stuffy found that of the users’ three
eye-fixation on a page, 78 percent were first drawn to the
text and only 22 percent were first drawn to the graphics. But
this does not automatically mean the text is being gluttonously
devoured. The Poynter survey found it was three times as common for
the polled users to restrict their reading to a brief section of the
article, rather than reading the full text. In fact, the eye-tracking
discovered at most only 75 percent of the text was read by those
claiming to have followed the entire article.

For the online media, eye-tracking has been crucial in determining the
design and contents for web sites and e-newsletters. A survey
conducted in February 2005 at Germany’s University of Trier on behalf
of the Online Journalism Review used eye-tracking software to
determine how people viewed the Net-based coverage of the December
2004 tsunami tragedy in Pacific Rim. The study, which focused on a
quartet of the world’s leading news sites (for the New York Times,
BBC, Spain‘s El Mundo and Germany ZDF), determined via eye-tracking
that most people loathe information overloads (too much text and
graphics on a single page), but they look for hyperlinks to click for
further information. Excess animation seemed to distract those polled
by the survey, and the Net surfers who were tested preferred having
control over the animation and rich media functions of the web site.

Surprisingly, eye-tracking software is not as actively used in the
media world as it is in other industries, most notably packaged goods
and e-commerce. This is not surprising, considering that these
industries rely more on market research to shape design
considerations.

Yet in some areas, eye-tracking is used for test marketing purposes to
determine how production can be enhanced. In September 2005,
TheKansasCityChannel.com used eye-tracking software on volunteers to
measure the viability of its web site’s design – its results
discovered a reader search for updated news stories and
top-of-the-page headlines, which the site promptly added. The Center
for Media Design at Ball State University is currently conducting its
own eye-tracking research to determine how viewers watch both computer
and video screens (the latter should be of particular interest to
publishers who are creating their own video programming for Net
presentation).

Heatmaps are defined by the Poynter Institute as “an aggregate view of
all the individual (eye-tracking) user session images for a single web
page on a single task. Researchers combine all the individual page
sessions to create a single view of a page, revealing eye patterns
from the group of test subjects.”

Heatmaps, as their name suggests, create a map of the targeted page
with the most viewed areas colored by fiery hues. Color keys are coded
with the red-yellow-orange shades designating the areas on the
heatmaps where the eyes gravitate and stay while the darker blue
shades point out where the eyes are least interested. Heatmaps can be
used for both online pages and even for e-mails and e-newsletters.

VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the long-predicted integration
of telephony and broadband computer networking. Using VoIP, telephone
calls can be made over the Internet by converting voice signal from
the telephone into a digital signal that goes across cyberspace and is
converted back into a voice signal for the receiver of the call. The
caller can either use a regular telephone or a microphone (either
attached directly to the computer or on a headset).

VoIP advantages go beyond mere bits and bytes: several VoIP providers
allow calls to anywhere in the country for a flat rate, while others
do not differentiate for costs between local and long distance
calling. VoIP is also portable: anyone with service can take it with
them via their laptops (provided broadband connectivity is available).

For the publishing industry, VoIP can provide advantages for
journalists who rely on heavy phone contact for researching and
interviews. VoIP technology allows users to access their computers
while making phone calls, so there is no disruption of work. For
companies engaged in any telemarketing or call center services,
VoIP can provide enhanced telephony capabilities.

ANTI-SPAM FILTERS
Spam, as defined by The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, is unsolicited
commercial e-mail. An estimated 50 percent of American e-mail is spam,
and the Federal Trade Commission’s chairman, Timothy J. Muris, engaged
in rather pronounced hyperbole by calling spam “one of the most
daunting consumer protection problems the FTC has ever faced.”

The deluge of spam has brought about a proliferation of anti-spam
filters, but there is something of a problem: most anti-spam filters
tend to be omnivorous, swallowing up genuine spam and genuine e-mail
correspondence with the same gusto. For publishers sending out
e-newsletters or e-marketing correspondence, the filters have become
the digital equivalent of an obstacle course.

To date, there is no software program to help legitimate publishers
circumvent anti-spam filters. However, there are textual methods of
diminishing the chances of being stuck in a filter.

Test an average e-mail missive by sending it to
spamcheck-marketingtools5@sitesell.net. Begin the subject line with
the word “TEST” (yes, all in uppercase letters). Senders will get a
response rating the e-mail for potential spam concerns.
Try to avoid the words and phrases which are too common to spam:
words like “free,” “guarantee” and even “unsubscribe” activate many
filters.

Try not to get too creative with HTML. While this may frustrate
those seeking to make their digital correspondence visually
creative, it should be noted that many spam filters automatically
block messages where the font sizes are larger than normal and the
font colors ride the rainbow of every imaginable hue.

Go easy on the hyperlinks. Too many hyperlinks, or hyperlinks
without the http:// prefix inevitably draw attention from the
filters.

Publishers should consider getting certification via services
such as Coravue and Habeus, which certify the bulk e-mail missives
are not spam. Spam filters recognize e-mails carrying this type of
certification.

Readers should be encouraged to list the publisher’s e-mail
address in their “White List.” Some ISPs have their own versions of
a “White List” (most notably AOL’s Address Book).

Let the ISPs know you are sending out legitimate e-marketing
correspondence. Not only should the publisher contact their local
ISP, but the publisher should also take the initiative to make sure
the major ISPs (including AOL, Hotmail and Earthlink) are aware of
the nature of the e-mail offerings. Many publishers do not discover
their e-newsletters are being blocked until readers take the
initiative to inquire on the lack of communications from the
publisher.

Stay up-to-date on spam issues. As with any issue in the digital
realm, this is an ever-evolving orbit and new concerns frequently
arise. Non-profit groups such as the Coalition Against Unsolicited
Commercial E-mail (www.cauce.org) provides current news on the
subject.

Who Are We

Insight and Research at the Center for Media Design (CMD) has begun to receive quite a bit of attention from industry publications and mainstream media outlets in the last several years as a groundbreaking and reputable media research organization. This archive is only for educational purpose, if the content involved any copyright issue, please contact: Michelle Prieb: meprieb@bsu.edu
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