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4 Min Read

Move beyond behavioral targeting: using mouse movements to read visitor’s mind

Paras Chopra
Founder and Chairman of Wingify.

We already have powerful behavioral targeting and segmentation options in VWO. Today, we’re proud to announce a brand new feature that will take your website to the next level. We just released a feature that is Holy Grail of targeting and personalization: knowing what a visitor is thinking while browsing your website (and then displaying relevant content to him/her to boost conversion rate and sales).

Yes, yes, yes, we are as excited about this new feature as you are. Once you install VWO on your website, the mind reading feature uses subtle differences in how a visitor is moving his/her mouse to gauge what s/he is thinking right now. Essentially, you get a report on following four attributes (note that this is an initial list, it will expand as our research progresses):

  • Happiness Factor: What % of visitors are feeling happy, lousy or simply pathetic and if your site design is doing a good job lifting that mood (our research indicated that 92% of websites were so hilariously designed that visitors were indeed amused)
  • Fun Factor: What % of visitors are in no mood to do any serious work (we have a feature whereby you can popup flash games to such visitors – we believe this kind of targeting increases conversion rate)
  • Raininess Factor: What % of visitors think it is going to rain today (for websites that sell umbrellas this factor is a serious indicator of a sale. This attribute was hard to model but we considered it so important that we spent 85% of our budget on making sure it works flawlessly)
  • Trust Factor: What % of visitors think you will take their money, close your shop and run away (ironically mistrust increases if you provide a phone number on your site)

Proof that this feature works

We’re an A/B testing company and to prove this new feature works, we conducted an A/B test. Our hypothesis was that by changing a webpage we can affect visitor mood and if VWO’s new feature detects that change, it definitely works. We did this test on our homepage. Here’s original homepage:

– Original Homepage –
original homepage for visualwebsiteoptimizer.com

In variation, we tried replacing text with an image that was definitely going to affect visitor’s mood in some way. Here’s the variation:

– Variation of Homepage –
variation of the homepage for visualwebsiteoptimizer.com

We did this test for a little over a week and here are the results:

results from the a/b test run

As expected, happiness and fun factor increased tremendously when visitors saw that poor boy’s image on our homepage. Moreover, people started subconsciously associating rain drops in the picture with likelihood that it is going to rain today.

Most surprisingly, there was a sharp drop in trust and total signup rate because of that poor boy on our homepage (Glad we have stopped the test. It affected us financially!) Why did that drop happen? We cannot tell! There are always somethings that remain a mystery after an A/B test is completed.

How does this feature work?

In a word: mathematics! We use various inputs to determine what a visitor is thinking. The most significant input is visitor mouse movements. The way people move their mouse tells a lot about what they are thinking. Strange but true!

flow diagram to explain how behavioural targeting works

Details of implementation only for nerds and geeks: we used artificial neural networks to train a predictive model whose input is vector comprising of mouse movements in past 30 seconds and whose outputs are various factors like happiness, raininess, etc. The data for training this model came from 6 month long research where we recruited a team of 10 normal people from 4Chan.org and asked them to visit various websites and tell us what they were thinking while they were browsing. Without their knowledge we recorded mouse movements and then simply used our expertise in machine learning to map mouse movements to behavior! Genius, isn’t it?

Try out the (literally) mind blowing feature

According to our knowledge, no other company in the world provides such amazing technology. So, why don’t you signup for a free 30 day trial of VWO and try the new feature without any obligations? We can assure you that you are going to have a lot of fun spooking your visitors 🙂

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Shanaz Khan from VWO

Hi, I am Shanaz from the VWO Research Desk.

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