Areas of Interest (AOI)

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Areas of Interest (AOI) refer to specific regions or elements within a visual stimulus that are of particular interest or relevance to an observer. In various fields such as psychology, neuroscience, market research, and human-computer interaction, AOIs are used to analyze and quantify visual attention, perception, and behavior. For example, in the image displayed below, the AOI is the highlighted box. This image is a screenshot of website, that was uploaded on an attention-prediction platform: The AOI is the specific region targeted to see how much attention that region is predicted to get!

Area of Interest (AOI) of website on attention prediction platform of

Here's a more in-depth breakdown of what Areas of Interest entail:

  1. Definition: AOIs are predefined regions or zones within an image, video, webpage, or other visual stimuli that researchers or analysts identify based on their relevance to a study's objectives. These regions can encompass various visual elements, such as objects, text, graphics, faces, or specific areas of interest within an image.
  2. Usage: AOIs are used to segment and analyze visual stimuli into discrete components, allowing researchers to measure and quantify how individuals allocate their attention within a scene. By tracking eye movements or other indicators of visual attention, researchers can determine which AOIs attract the most attention, how long individuals dwell on each AOI, and the sequence in which they fixate on different AOIs.
  3. Applications:
    • Eye-Tracking Studies: In eye-tracking research, AOIs are essential for defining regions of interest within visual stimuli and analyzing gaze patterns. Researchers use AOIs to investigate how individuals visually explore and engage with various elements of a scene, such as advertisements, product displays, or website layouts.
    • Market Research: In marketing and advertising, AOIs help assess the effectiveness of visual communication materials by identifying which elements draw consumers' attention and influence their perception or behavior. Advertisers use AOIs to optimize the design and placement of marketing collateral to maximize engagement and impact.
    • User Experience Design: In UX/UI design, AOIs inform the creation of user-friendly interfaces by identifying key areas that users interact with or focus on. Designers use AOIs to optimize website layouts, app interfaces, and digital products to enhance usability, navigation, and the overall user experience.
    • Neuroscience: In cognitive neuroscience and psychology, AOIs are used to investigate visual perception, attentional processes, and cognitive mechanisms underlying behavior. Researchers use AOIs in neuroimaging studies to examine brain activity associated with the processing of specific visual stimuli and the allocation of attention to different regions of interest.
  4. Analysis: Once AOIs are defined, researchers can analyze eye-tracking data or other metrics related to visual attention within each AOI. This analysis provides insights into factors such as fixation duration, saccadic movements, and gaze patterns, which shed light on how individuals perceive and interact with visual stimuli.

Overall, Areas of Interest play a crucial role in understanding visual attention, perception, and behavior across various disciplines. By defining and analyzing AOIs within visual stimuli, researchers gain valuable insights into how individuals process and respond to the world around them, informing strategies for design, marketing, user experience optimization, and cognitive research.


In neuromarketing, Areas of Interest (AOIs) serve several key functions:

  1. Understanding Visual Attention: AOIs help neuromarketers understand how consumers allocate their visual attention to different elements of advertisements, packaging, websites, or other marketing stimuli. By defining specific regions of interest within visual content, neuromarketers can analyze eye-tracking data to identify which AOIs attract the most attention and how attention is distributed across various elements.
  2. Optimizing Advertising Materials: Neuromarketers use AOIs to optimize the design and placement of advertising materials to maximize their effectiveness. By identifying high-impact AOIs, such as product images, brand logos, or call-to-action buttons, marketers can prioritize these elements in their ad creative to capture and retain viewer attention more effectively.
  3. Measuring Engagement and Impact: AOIs allow neuromarketers to measure the level of engagement and impact of different elements within marketing stimuli. By analyzing eye-tracking metrics within AOIs, such as fixation duration or gaze density, marketers can assess how effectively specific elements hold viewers' attention and influence their perception or behavior.
  4. Comparing Ad Variations: Neuromarketers can use AOIs to compare different variations of advertisements or marketing materials. By defining consistent AOIs across multiple versions of an ad, marketers can analyze how changes in design, layout, or content impact visual attention and engagement. This enables data-driven decision-making to optimize ad performance and drive desired outcomes.
  5. Informing Design and Placement Strategies: AOIs provide valuable insights that inform design and placement strategies for marketing materials. By identifying which visual elements within an ad or website are most salient to viewers, marketers can make informed decisions about the layout, hierarchy, and presentation of content to maximize its impact and effectiveness.

Overall, Areas of Interest play a critical role in neuromarketing by providing insights into how consumers visually engage with marketing stimuli. By leveraging AOIs in conjunction with eye-tracking technology and other neuromarketing methodologies, marketers can optimize their advertising strategies to better capture attention, drive engagement, and ultimately influence consumer behavior.


Imagine a retail brand launching a new advertising campaign for its line of athletic shoes. They want to understand how consumers engage with different elements of their digital ad to optimize its effectiveness. To achieve this, they conduct a neuromarketing study using eye-tracking technology and define AOIs within the ad.

  1. Defining AOIs: The company identifies specific elements within the ad that are likely to capture consumers' attention, such as the product image, brand logo, headline, and call-to-action button. These elements are designated as AOIs within the ad.
  2. Conducting the Study: Participants are recruited to view the ad while their eye movements are tracked using eye-tracking technology. As participants watch the ad, the eye tracker records their gaze patterns and fixation durations, providing data on which AOIs attract the most attention and engagement.
  3. Analyzing Eye-Tracking Data: After the study, the company analyzes the eye-tracking data to gain insights into how consumers interacted with the different AOIs within the ad. They observed that the product image and brand logo received the highest levels of visual attention, followed by the headline and call-to-action button.
  4. Optimizing Ad Design: Armed with insights from the AOIs analysis, the company refines the design of its ad to better capture and retain viewer attention. They decided to increase the size of the product image and brand logo, as well as to adjust the placement of the headline and call-to-action button to ensure they are more prominently displayed within the ad.
  5. Testing Iterations: The company implements the optimized version of the ad and conducts additional neuromarketing studies to assess its performance. By comparing eye-tracking data from before and after the optimizations, they can evaluate the impact of their changes on viewer engagement and make further adjustments as needed.

In this example, AOIs are instrumental in helping the company understand how consumers interact with different elements of their ad and optimize its design to maximize attention and engagement. By leveraging insights from AOIs, the company can create more effective advertising campaigns that resonate with their target audience and drive desired outcomes.

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