What friends see when they glance at Facebook profiles

Mon 12 December 2011 13:50, Vitto Christaldi

What friends see when they glance at Facebook profiles

Some people spend their time customizing their Facebook; because they want to look professional for future employers, or just because they want to be perceived as cool and hip. But the big question is, “Which part of your Facebook profile do you actually need to pay more attention to when you are pimping it out?”


Recently, the social media news site, Mashable, asked EyeTrackShop, a startup business that runs eye-tracking studies for advertisers, to help them find out what users look at when they glance at social media profiles.  To study the behavior, the participants were asked to record their eye movements by using a webcam, as they were shown profile pages in 10-second intervals from major social media such as Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn.

So what do your friends look at when they glance at your Facebook profiles?




1. Profile Picture

As the study shows, the profile picture is the first thing users look at when they arrive at other users’ Facebook profiles. Therefore, make sure you put the best picture that you have as your profile picture, because you might want to make good impressions on people who added you on Facebook. As I quoted from the CEO of Pixable, Inaki Berenguer, “If you think about your presence online, the most important image on Facebook is your profile picture. That is the way that you want to be seen online. Even if people can't see anything else about you, they see your photo."

Moreover, recently the Social Psychological and Personality Science department of the University of Virginia published a paper, suggesting that future happiness can be predicted by looking at Facebook profile pictures. Interesting isn’t it?

2. First Post

You probably have heard this suggestion a lot, mainly for Facebook privacy issues. However, the study that EyeTrackShop did also adds one more good reason why you must control your postings on Facebook: that the first post on your Facebook profile is the second thing that users look at when they arrive at a profile page. So if you want to make a cool impression in front of your Facebook friends, always make sure you have interesting posts on top; and a tip from me, always delete the history of your Facebook activities!

3. About

Your bio information that is shown next to your profile picture is also one of the main things that people see when they are on your profile. Just make sure you do not exaggerate your own information!


New Facebook Timeline 

So above are the top three parts of what users usually look at when they go to their friends’ Facebook profile. However, EyeTrackShop only did their study on Facebook's “old” profile. So how about Facebook's new timeline, what are the first things users see when they arrive there? These are my predictions:




1. Cover & Profile Picture

Simply put, cover photo takes almost half of the space of your browser page, so logically it will draw a lot of attentions. Next to cover photo is the profile picture, but in many cases it depends on the combination of the cover photo and the profile picture. Here are some creative ways to design your new Facebook timeline profile.

2. Friends, Photos, Maps, and Likes boxes

No particular explanation about this. However, based on my experience, my attention goes to these boxes after I take a look at users' cover photos and profile pictures.

3. First box on top right side

The first box on top right side could be either “Friends”, “Recent Activity”, “Music”, or “News”. Based on my friend's experiences, the box is quite eye catching, especially the “Music” or the “News” boxes.

So those are my predictions. What do you think? What are the first things you look at when you go to your friend’s Facebook profile?


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Comments (1)


  • Nice, I love the eyetracking equipment. Its also a nice tool to upgrade your conversions on your ecommerce site!

    Ma 19 dec 2011, 13:56


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