Leveraging successful measurement techniques within advertising continues to be a hot topic this year. In turn, this has fuelled discussions around the value in measuring the emotional reaction to online ads rather than simply click rates. After all, as consumers of online advertising, we know first-hand that it is often our emotional reaction to an ad that ultimately drives us to either share something or click through to a product or service.
Multiple channels, multiple problems
Measuring what is and what is not working for a campaign has become harder as people consume content from different devices across multiple channels. This makes it hard to get a comprehensive picture of what a consumer’s reaction has been to a particular product or service. At the same time, as ad content becomes increasingly interactive and social at heart, clicks are no longer sufficient to measure how people are reacting. As the sector has begun to move away from the era of the pop-up banner ad and instead has increasingly focused on rich content it has recognised that emotions have an important role to play in this digital era. Brands hope to re-engage with customers and realise that customer experience is a valuable tool for measurement in such circumstances.
On the Pulse – Qualitative vs Technological
Earlier this month, the video adtech company Unruly launched a beta version of a new dashboard, called Pulse, which visualises the emotional responses to selected video ads. Pulse utilises emotional assessments that come from online questionnaires where groups of 500 consumers are asked to respond to four video ads. Previously, this would have been available on a client by client basis rather than as an integrated tool as is now offered through Pulse.
Despite Unruly’s qualitative approach, there has also been a rise in a more scientific approach to tracking emotional response to ads, which some are calling “neuromarketing measurement”. These innovative technologies may help reduce the reliance on research based on surveys and focus groups. Earlier this year, MediaCom and Realeyes announced a tie up to enter emotional analytics using Realeyes’ webcam based technology which measures facial reactions to online ads. Mediacom executive Palle Finderup Diederichsen commented that:
“Tools such as Realeyes allow us to get behavioural information upfront, so we can optimise and measure content before launch”.
Realeyes suggests that the kind of technology it offers is much faster and cheaper than traditional online surveys and focus groups. Beyond that, the technology can even account for different emotional reactions between different cultures. Realeyes also claims that the technology is considerably more accurate in predicating long term sales, with its CEO stating that the company is 75% accurate in this aspect compared to 65% for question based surveys.
Other companies like Sticky have combined eye tracking and face tracking technology to determine emotion on its visual engagement analytics platform AdEmotion which launched in late 2015. Previously, Sticky had been engaged in eye tracking technology but had been sending that data to companies to combine with the emotional response data rather than processing in house.
Wearables – real-time response
Marketers will also increasingly start to have access to physiological information which may prove valuable as wearable devices become increasingly popular. On the whole, emotional response analysis whether based on the more traditional or neuromarketing methods is currently being used to provide data to inform future campaigns. However, it is likely that, as techniques become more sophisticated and sectors like wearable technology increase, we may start to see the use of such technology in real time to serve consumers with advertising that suits their current emotional state. It remains to be seen exactly how advertisers make use of the new data streams available to them as consumers become increasingly (and increasingly intimately) connected to the world through wearables and the internet of things but one thing can be certain – these new avenues of insight will be powering advertising and the measurement of effectiveness in the not-too-distant future.