How users perceive social network pages

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Although the research was made on a very small sample (30 participants), it is still interesting, waiting for more in-depth studies that will be conducted in the future, especially centered on a business viewpoint.

Indeed, tracking eye movements when a new social profile is shown allows to create a precise ranking of features that attract more in Twitter, Google+ or a Facebook fan page. This means that pages and updates can be structured so as to suit one’s objectives.

The study analysed what draws the user’s attention first in a new page and ranks the subsequent eye movements, in relation to the time spent, for 12 of the most popular social platforms.

In general, the content at the top of the page takes priority, but this changes – even substantially – from one profile to another. Obviously, one views the first thing that motivated the user to look up that specific page: the last posts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ updates, professional information on LinkedIn, etc.

For all platforms, pictures are essential, except for LinkedIn where what really counts more than photos is how one’s job title is presented. It is interesting to note that people’s eyes linger the most on information they already know (job titles or pictures, wherever they are placed), rather than on new stuff. Also, scrolling is not appealing (except for Twitter and You Tube), anything on top of the page gets the greatest number of eyeballs, and for longer time.

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