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Eye-tracker Tobii acquires fellow eye-tracker Sticky
Lab-based eye-tracker Tobii buys the webcam-based Sticky so it can offer large consumer panels as well as focused test groups.
The new combo, Tobii Pro President Tom Englund told me, provides a broader solution for brands and agencies, some of whom are now using eye-tracking on a regular basis to determine user attention, ad recall, emotional feedback and other responses to ad campaigns.
The Sweden-based Tobii focuses on specialized hardware employing custom glasses or adapted monitors, which are used primarily in labs for intensive studies.
San Francisco-based Sticky was founded in 2009 and was initially funded by Tobii to use its tech. Sticky offers a large cloud-based panel where users employ their own computers’ webcams with Sticky software in order to track attention as well as analyze emotional responses. Sticky, which had sales in 2016 of only about $1.5 million, will be integrated into Tobii Group’s Tobii Pro business unit.
Englund said the two approaches complement each other. Tobii’s smaller sample size, he said, is “extremely detailed” in its largely qualitative studies. On the other hand, he said, Sticky’s mass panels are quantitative, focusing on larger sample sizes that can include demographics as one of the audience characteristics.
The two companies will maintain their current offices in their headquarters cities and elsewhere, and Sticky will maintain its separate brand and solution. Sticky’s clients have been concentrated in North America, and Englund said the merger will allow Sticky to broaden its market to Europe and Asia through Tobii’s presence.
Englund described his company as the market leader for eye-tracking, adding that the new organization now offers a unique cloud platform along with a research lab component.