How facial recognition technology will help marketers better understand consumers

Posted by Betsy Farber on May 6th, 2014 at 11:31 am

It's no surprise to marketers that consumers sometimes have a hard time articulating how they feel. And with 50 percent of buying decisions based on emotions, keeping up with consumer needs creates a sort of paradox for marketing. And on top of that, how can brands gather and measure valuable emotional insights with today's influx of data? On Day 2 of the iMedia Agency Summit in Austin, TX, Nick Langeveld, President and CEO at Affectiva, gave a demo of the company's latest facial recognition neuromarketing tool, Affdex, which is attempting to solve this marketing conundrum.

Initially developed at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) media lab as a tool to help kids with autism better understand and convey emotions, Affectiva spun the technology -- using emotional analytics -- to the commercial market. The cloud-based tool works by embedding a web camera with optimum sensor software (with consent) into a device platform that reads the users emotional response in real time.The software has an algorithmic understanding that's capable of tracking the facial movements, which can then be translated into an emotional response.

From an advertising perspective, a marketer can monitor facial recognition at the same time a consumer is watching an ad. This real time tracking will allow marketers to better work with content owners, clients on brand recall, and purchase intent of consumers. The tool not only indicates to marketers how the content interaction made viewers feel, but also how the engagement drives the platform owner to act.

Afftective has gone a step further and used neuromarketing technology to better understand why people share the content that they do. The company just released a study that actually shows how virility works in advertising, and why people are compelled to share certain content -- all based on emotional analytics.

This new neuromarketing tool is just the beginning of understanding how consumers navigate through the digital environment. At this point the amount of potential that is available from this kind of consumer data -- and how brands and marketers will benefit from it going forward -- seems limitless. It will give marketers a huge advantage when it comes to giving consumers what they want and when they want it.

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