NMPi Makes the Cut: Econsultany’s Top 100 Digital Agencies

It’s that time of year again, Econsultancy has just released their annual Top 100 Digital Agencies report for 2017; “the definitive listing of the UK’s largest digital agencies.”

We are thrilled to announce that for another year running, NMPi has made the list. With a 15% YoY increase in UK fee income, we swooped in and secured the fifty-third spot. This is a massive triumph as we appear next to some of the world’s leading advertising agencies.

Here’s what they have to say about us:

If you would like to see the full report visit Econsultancy: Top 100 Digital Agencies 2017.

3 Tips for Black Friday 2017: What You Need to Know

Although we’re still enjoying the final days of summer (summer doesn’t officially end until 22nd of September), it’s already time to start thinking about our Black Friday strategies. Don’t get caught off guard waiting until the last minute to plan your campaigns. Now is the time to go over last year’s metrics and see what worked and what didn’t.

There has been a gradual decline in Boxing Day sales as the popularity of this American retail holiday overtakes the Christmas period. Retailers are seeing better returns after jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon, with the increase in traffic in some instances as high as 27%. When comparing Black Friday to Boxing Day, conversions are consistently higher on Black Friday. According to The Independent, last year, UK shoppers spent an astonishing £3.3bn over the course of the Black Friday holiday season. Our client data shows that that Black Friday, and smaller surrounding retail holidays linked to it, are vastly outperforming Boxing Day. Black Friday is here to stay in the UK, and must be taken seriously by retailers and advertisers as part of the marketing mix.

Recent Trends

Black Friday is Coming Earlier and Earlier

Much like the dreaded “Back-to-School” commercials popping up at the end of July, or Christmas jingles before Halloween, Black Friday is beginning to follow that trend with many brands starting sales in the lead up to the actual holiday. In 2015, online giant Amazon started its sales 12 days before Black Friday. Other retailers have started to get in on the trend to make the most of the pre-Christmas season. With companies like Sears Canada releasing their Black Friday deals on October 6th last year, BlackFriday.com has predicted that in 2017,  the holiday prices will be leaked in early October once again, if not late September.

Sofa Shopping

Online shopping on Black Friday continues to steadily increase. In 2012, 33% of consumers preferred to shop from the comfort of their own homes, to avoid the long lines, fighting, and in-store chaos that the holiday provokes. As of 2016, the stay-at-home shopping figure has risen to 44%. This trend will continue in 2017 especially as most retail sites are mobile and tablet friendly, making shopping from home, the bank, or on the go, a pleasant experience. The top stores reaping the most digital rewards in the UK are Argos, Amazon, M&S, Curry’s and Tesco Direct.

Make it Mobile

It’s a foregone conclusion, but advertisers must make their Black Friday campaigns cross-device friendly. While many people are shifting to digital indoor shopping instead of pounding the pavement, they are predominantly shopping via mobile devices on the go. Desktop is no longer the main digital channel for Black Friday shoppers.  Mobile searches have grown 50% since 2016, with bargain hunters looking for the best brands, and then for the best deals. Mobile and tablets will continue to drive more shoppers to make online purchases. In order to assure campaign success, mobile and tablet channels must provide relevant targeting and seamless shopping experiences.

How to Crack Christmas

If you would like to learn more about spicing up your Christmas campaign you can watch the replay of our “How to Crack Christmas Webinar,” your ultimate guide to holiday success.

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Is Blockchain the Future of Digital Marketing?

Blockchain has been posed as the next big technological disruption. It has already generated shockwaves in the financial industry with its decentralised network of transactions, an alternative to the current centralised model controlled by financial institutions.

From the Google search trends below you can see the rapid growth it has had in the past year:

But what are the opportunities for blockchain in the digital marketing industry? Before we dive into its possibilities, let’s wrap our heads around what it is and how it works.

What Is Blockchain?

Currently, the term “blockchain”, is synonymous with the cryptocurrency “Bitcoin”. Although both are related, they aren’t interchangeable, as blockchain is the fundamental technology behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is this technology that marketers need understand to avoid losing ground to competitors in the years to come.

Don and Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016) state, “The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

source: blockgeeks.com

A useful analogy I use to describe blockchain is to compare it to Google Sheets. Where conventional processing involves an excel file stored on a single computer, with Google Sheets, you don’t need to wait for someone to finish editing a document, it can be maintained simultaneously across multiple people with no central data storage or no version control issues.

Unlike Google Sheets, where the data is ultimately stored at Google’s data centres, the blockchain is a decentralised and distributed database that isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable. This also allows data on the blockchain to be virtually impossible to corrupt since the entire network is needed to commit changes.

Advantages of Blockchain Technology

  1. Transparency and Immutability: Any changes made on the blockchain ledger are viewable by the public, creating transparency. Altering these changes will require a huge amount of computing power to override the whole network making it immutable.
  2. No Third-party Needed: Two parties are able to make an exchange without the intermediation of a third party, strongly reducing or even eliminating counterparty risk.
  3. Data Quality: Blockchain data is complete, consistent, timely, accurate, and widely available.
  4. Built-in Robustness: Similar to the robustness of the internet, the blockchain is not controlled by a single entity and has no single point of failure, making it more durable to malicious attacks.
  5. Fast Transactions and Low Fees: In comparison to interbank transactions which can take days, transactions on the blockchain could occur within minutes. Also, in the absence of third parties, transaction costs are much lower due to the removal of overhead costs involved in facilitating transactions.

Disadvantages of Blockchain Technology

  1. Cultural Adoption: Blockchain represents a complete shift from the established financial and commerce model. It will require both user and operator to invest into the system.
  2. Teething Problems: Resolving challenges like consistent transaction speed,  the verification process, and data limits will be crucial in making blockchain widely applicable.
  3. Regulations: Regulatory entities usually lag behind technological innovation. Currently, there are no regulations on how the transactions should be written. This could create a hurdle in the widespread adoption of bitcoin and blockchain in highly regulated industries and governments where the regulation status remains unsettled.
  4. Large Energy Consumption: The blockchain’s miners are attempting 450 thousand trillion solutions per second in efforts to validate transactions, using substantial amounts of computer power, which is not sustainable in the long run.

Blockchain Use Cases in Digital Marketing

Ad Fraud

In 2016, ad fraud (or invalid traffic) lead to $12.5 billion in wasted advertising spend. This year, it is set to increase by $4 billion. The growing discrepancy between what advertisers are paying for and what they get has adversely affected trust in digital marketing. Fortunately, ad-delivery can be audited by firms like Deloitte, though this is an expensive option.

Alternatively, a blockchain network can verify whether ads are being delivered and if they’re going to the right place. Decentralising auditing is cheaper and can work. In fact, Adtech company MetaX recently launched “adChain”, a blockchain solution that tracks ads using a distributed ledger, providing advertisers and publishers with a comprehensive trail of everything related to the campaign such as, how much was spent, who saw the ad, and conversion rates. This will ultimately allow everyone in the blockchain to acknowledge the impression event and approve it.

This level of data transparency alone strengthens adChain’s value proposition because it will enable advertisers to measure and optimise ad placements with unprecedented accuracy.

Brand safety concerns will also be a thing of the past, as brands and advertisers will know exactly where ads are being shown, and all publishers on the adChain network are hand vetted before any ads will appear on them.

Viewability

Viewability may arguably be a greater issue than ad fraud. According to Google,  56.1% of impressions served across Google’s display advertising platforms aren’t viewed by a consumer. This has caused great frustration for advertisers who pay for ads that people can’t see.

To tackle this problem, a blockchain startup, The Basic Attention Project, founded by the inventor of Javascript and co-founder of Mozilla Firefox, has created a browser that monitors the activity of the user anonymously. The technology analyses the pixels being viewed, and time spent on-site, meaning advertisers only pay publishers when ads are viewed. All users on the network maintain full anonymity, creating a suitable equilibrium between privacy for the user and targeting for the advertiser.

The project is very ambitious and would require another article to be explained in its entirety. Here is a brief video that explains the company’s mission:

Basic Attention Token from Brave on Vimeo.

Privacy

Today, users don’t “own” their data. The information a consumer puts into the likes of Facebook or Google is stored and used by these advertising giants, allowing them to make profits in the billions through managing and selling user data. What if there was no need for the middle men; and advertisers could have direct connections with the consumer?

Source: Investitin.com

BitClave, a Silicon Valley-based blockchain start-up, is working on just that. The company’s goal is to enable a “decentralised” form of online search. Instead of using Google’s search engine and letting Google be the intermediary between the consumer and the advertiser, the consumer could search via BitClave’s engine and be paid for their own data. In exchange they will see targeted ads, leaving Google out of the picture. This new model not only reinvents the world of search but could also address the adblocking issue advertisers face as users would be less likely to block ads if they can profit from viewing them.


The implications of blockchain being utilised in the digital marketing industry make it seem as the panacea for some of the woes and pervasive issues in the online advertising ecology, however, the blockchain solutions discussed do have their limitations.

For instance, adChain requires humans to validate and agree on which sites should be whitelisted in order to prevent ad fraud. This may not be sustainable in the long run and will require some form of automation for the technology to be truly scalable. Additionally, The Basic Attention Project will require users to adopt a new browser, which could slow adoption rates as the majority of the internet is viewed through the likes of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. If they could somehow offer the same functionality as a plugin, that would greatly improve the project’s chances for success. Lastly, BitClave is currently a small fish in a very big pond and without serious financial backing and support, it will struggle to take down Google’s established presence, especially if Google responds with aggressive innovation.

Nonetheless, blockchain and cryptocurrency pose significant advantages for marketers in terms of transparency, improving business performance and building customer trust. These reasons could suggest that early adoption of blockchain technology could make a significant difference for digital marketing.

How to Crack Christmas 2017

At our recent webinar, “How to Crack Christmas”, Damien Bennett NMPi’s Director of Business Strategy talked to advertisers about the methods to use to ensure a smooth and successful holiday season. What are the best ways to approach the holiday sale season? What do advertisers need to be aware of when building their campign strategies? Lastly, he looked at how to collect valuable data and apply it.  NMPi has outlined a four tiered strategy for creating the best possible campaigns the upcoming Christmas season.

  1. How to Phase Activity Effectively
  2. Key Dates to be Aware of from November to January
  3. Changes in Shopping Behaviour Over the Period
  4. Effective Tactics to Take Advantage of the Holiday Season

How to Phase Activity Effectively

A great (and free!) tool available to advertisers is Google Trends. We used ths tool to examine search volumes between October 1st- December 31st. We noticed that there was a surge in interest in Christmas from the first week of November at the exact same time the first Christmas ads are released in the UK. This year, UK brands will premiere those ads on November 6th. What’s interesting about the UK is, that while the vast most searches occur in early November, the vast majority of purchases, 94%, occur in the final four weeks leading up to Christmas.

November is all about researching so plan your strategies to align with this crucial planning period where people are browsing but not yet in the position to buy anything. Another interesting point about the UK market during the holiday season is that another peak occurs just after Christmas, a surge that runs until the end of January.

Key Dates

November 6th: When Christmas ads begin on TV
November 24th: Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend
December 15th-17th: The last delivery dates.  We have noted a marked spike in volume and interest in Christmas gifts as consumers try to get their packages off before the deadline closes.
December 26th: Boxing Day, and the start of January sales.

Shopping Behaviour

Mobile

Mobile remains huge during the Christmas period, with 51% of Christmas related searches in 2016 coming from a mobile device. That 51% will be a lot closer to 60% in 2017, and continue to rise every year. Mobile must be an essential part of your Christmas campaigns.

Challenges

Of course, mobile is not without its challenges. For one, not everyone who starts on mobile ends on mobile. A shopper may start research on one device, but convert on another. Cross device shopping is definitely an issue marketers must be aware of, and incorporate into their strategies. To ensure you have the best possible outcomes for your campaigns, you need full visibility of the customer journey, and you need to correctly attribute that performance.

Another challenge is that 50% of customers researched online before purchasing in store, and 25% of ‘local’ mobile searches lead to in-store visits. How are these problems? It’s concerning because many retailers with brick-and-mortar stores tend to silo their in-store and online activities. Advertisers need to be aware of the online research activity that drives people to their stores.

Lasty, advertisers need to include Black Friday and Cyber Monday into their Christmas strategies, and they need to be aware of the key differences between these two busy shopping periods. Users who search “Black Friday” tend to buy things for themselves whilst those who search “Christmas” buy things for others. In fact, 61% of all purchases during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are for the buyer, vs 85% of Christmas shopping being gifts for other people.

Effective Tactics

We offer a three-pronged approach to the research phase in the lead up to Christmas

  • Awareness: Make people aware of your brand, propositions, and any Christmas promotions you might be running. Programmatic is good to use during this phase because it extends your reach, and enables you to employ different ad formats to really drive awareness.
  • Measurement: Collect and segment as much audience data as possible. You can capture cookie data on site and further segment it in this phase.
  • Retargeting: The next step is to phase in retargeting along those key dates. Retarget using a variety of creatives so that your audience truly engages and doesn’t feel chased or harassed.

Measurement has its own challenges, but Google and Facebook have devised ways to help advertisers better understand cross device sales, with cross device measurement statistics. Have an attribution model in place so you can see the full customer journey. Last touch doesn’t give you an accurate picture.

Lastly, we touched on challenges in store uplift. There are no ‘off the shelf solutions’ , so how can advertisers join their online to in-store experiences?

  • loyalty schemes
  • eReceipts
  • joining up customer details (i.e., asking for an email and customer address at the point of sale.
  • Geographic tiles – GPS on mobile phones to help link consumer activity.

Click here to download the slides to this presentation

 

[Webinar] How to Crack Christmas

Join us on Wednesday, the 30th of August, 2017, at 12:00 pm (GMT) for our webinar on tackling your Christmas campaigns this holiday season. While it may still be summer, it’s important to get the jump on planning your Christmas strategies so that you’re not left in a lurch by the time holiday advertising gets into full swing. Our webinar will help you get ready for the busiest time of the year.

You will learn:

How to phase your activity in-line with purchasing patterns,

When to start your Christmas advertising (it’s earlier than you think),

How to target gift buyers who are unsure of what to purchase,

And so much more!

Make sure to register, and get the jump on the competition and ensure a successful holiday season.

 

 

Case Study: Search Automation Finds the Back of the Net for Fanatics

Automation can change the way advertisers manage repetitive tasks and refine their campaign optimisation within their search strategies. It has the ability to handle a multitude of tasks including, bid management, reporting, routine checks, and pulling data. Furthermore, its bespoke nature can be used to fine tune your paid search campaigns to your personal goals.

Our very own Will Hamilton, PPC Analyst, shares why automated search campaigns can drive campaign performance on an even greater scale,

“Within the digital marketing industry search automation is becoming increasingly important. Having the ability to make automated and reactive adjustments to externally influencing factors can allow for maximum performance efficiency. Changes to the market or consumer behaviour can be capitalised on in a fraction of the time compared to non-automated activity. This not only helps maximise performance but also allows account managers to spend more time focusing their efforts on expansion opportunities and strategic planning.”

NMPi has been working with Fanatics International for the past three years, offering them international and domestic strategies and solutions for successful paid search campaigns. Fanatics International are the leading e-commerce partner for many of the world’s top football teams including Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United.

See how search automation has improved revenue and driven real results for Fanatics.

Challenges

Account performance for football merchandise fluctuates significantly based on how individual players perform in matches. The majority of games are played on weekends and in the evenings, making it difficult to keep paid search ads up-to-date and as relevant as possible.

Our Objective

NMPi set out to build a solution that allows us to optimise our paid search activity based on live player performance.

Our Solution

NMPi created a bespoke Google Script that automated the bidding process, enabling us to continually optimise campaigns for every football match played in the UK. As player performance affects the sale of their football kit online, the script would adjust keyword bids based on the live point system from the official Premier League Fantasy Football API. These points determine the impact a player has on a match using goals, assists, clean sheets, cards received, minutes played and additionally awarded bonus points. This data was used to increase bids for players who performed well and decrease bids for those who did not, ensuring the optimal ad rank was achieved. The script was set to run an hour after each match played in May 2017 and bids were altered for 15 different players, as well as for non-player specific keywords using the team performance as a whole.

The Result

Month on month the account experienced a 21% increase in revenue and a 47% rise in traffic. For player specific keywords, traffic grew by 294% during this period. Revenue and sales experienced an uplift of 284% and 189% respectively. With the success of this campaign, we will now be rolling out the script to international markets.

“NMPi has been handling over 15+ of our accounts in numerous languages, since 2014. During which time it has grown under NMPi’s care. In May this year, the team suggested an innovative approach to bidding which really showed their understanding of our industry. This approach has seen even greater uplift and I am thrilled with the success of the campaign. NMPi has been a great agency to work with, helping to expand our PPC accounts into other territories.” ~Sahida Aarndell, Acquisition Executive at Fanatics

Meet Philip Mostert, Managing Director of NMPi Asia

After announcing yesterday that Clicks2Customers has rebranded to NMPi, we are pleased to introduce the Managing Director of NMPi Asia, Philip Mostert. Philip has over 12 years digital marketing and project management experience and is a keen observer of trends. In 2010 he was the digital syndicate lead for the Soccer World Cup in South Africa, working with South African Tourism across the globe.

He is a strong commercial thinker with the hunger to the drive business forward, constantly seeking out opportunities of growth. He lives by a simple motto ‘Keep Moving Forward”.

We had a chance to sit down with Philip to discuss the recent growth of NMPi and the future of digital.

Q. What innovative technologies and strategies do you think NMPi will gain from adding an Asian perspective to their digital offering? Conversely, what insight will the Asian market gain from partnering with a global digital agency such as NMPi?

Let’s break it down by the numbers. There are 4.436 billion people living in Asia, and over 648,053,399 living in South East Asia alone, which makes up for about 8.62% of the world’s total population. Numbers that are simply staggering and hard to comprehend!

The value that one can derive from this volume of data is simply limitless. Innovation lies within building custom algorithms that are intuitive in nature, especially when optimizing media for large scale efficiencies.

Q. What do you think are the strengths of the Asian digital market right now? Where does it excel?

Its strengths are also some its greatest weaknesses.

Social media is at the heart of all campaigning. We see incredibly strong performance metrics from social media channels. Advertisers in Asia seek out that holy grail of virality. Some get it right but sadly most get it horribly wrong. With this in mind, many marketers rely on influencers in the market to own and drive their communication strategies forward. This is a highly risky and costly exercise should it not work out as desired.

Mobile penetration is another one of Asia’s great strengths, but mobile addiction is also a societal concern that will have a long lasting impact. To what extent, has yet to be identified.  

Q. What are your plans for continued growth in digital marketing?

AR is an exciting space and perfect for the Asian markets. This is indicative of the fact that QR codes are everywhere and in deed habitual for most WeChat users [Asia’s leading IM platform]. We intend on driving this as part of the performance space whereby linking it back to DoubleClick in years to come. We have some exciting plans afoot, which will be revealed in the next few months.

Q. What are the challenges facing Asian digital marketers in the coming twelve months?

Asia faces a highly competitive landscape which constantly changes and is incredibly fragmented. What might work in Indonesia may not work in Malaysia etc.

This is compounded by the fact that the e-commerce space will be largely dominated by Alibaba, 1st to market(s), who are building an entire ecosystem for advertisers where Google have zero clout. In line with this, Amazon has been pegged to launch in Singapore within the next few weeks which will make for a very interesting showdown between two massive behemoths.

Many companies will also seek to take skill in-house and grow IP without the need of 3rd party vendors. Transparency is the key to sustainability.  

These challenges, of course, present some interesting opportunities for agencies who position themselves strategically.

Q. What do you look forward to most with this expansion?

Leveraging global resources applied within local nuances. This is a formidable formula of success.

Q. What is the most exciting recent development in digital marketing in Asia?

Malaysia has been identified as the potential digital hub for all of Southeast Asia. Alibaba has launched a large scale initiative with the Malaysian government, the Digital Free Trade Zone. This has fundamentally been designed to promote the growth of e-commerce by providing a state-of-the-art platform for SMEs and enterprises to conduct the businesses and services. The benefits of this will, of course, be translated into more ad spend coming online.

 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/philipmostert1
Twitter: @philipmostert

NMPi moves into Asia

In keeping with our global growth strategy, NMPi has launched offices in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

The expansion into the Asian market takes advantage of our current international relationship with Clicks2Customers, who have operated in the Asian market successfully for over 7 years. Since October 2016, NMPi has launched offices in Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. We’re pleased to finally realise the next step in our global strategy by entering the lucrative Asian market.

“We are excited about the name change as it forms part of the group’s ambitious growth plans for the Asian market. At NMPi we understand that it is important to align to a global marketplace but it is equally important in understanding the local nuances across this region of the world. For this reason, we have localised teams based throughout the ASEAN markets” – Philip Mostert, Managing Director of NMPi Asia.

Our Asian offices bring together an exceptional team of Account Managers, Consultants, and Digital Analysts, who have worked with a number of international clients including, Time Magazine and Standard Charter.

Managing Director, Luke Judge echoed these sentiments, stating, “We have achieved a remarkable amount in the past nine months as we pushed to expand internationally. This expansion allows us to provide our clients with an even greater level of international expertise and local knowledge. It’s been a thrilling year and we still have more planned as we set our sights on the US.”

We offer our clients a full range of digital marketing services: digital strategy and planning, display marketing and media buying, real time bidding (RTB), paid search (PPC), social media marketing, analytics, and data intelligence.

For more information about our services and solutions, click here.

Pitney Bowes Chooses NMPi to Deliver Superior Digital Marketing Solutions to their Clients

We are excited to announce today that NMPi has entered into a strategic business relationship with global technology company, Pitney Bowes Inc. NMPi is helping Pitney Bowes strengthen its industry-leading global e-commerce offering with our enhanced consumer marketing solutions, including international paid-search campaigns, display advertising, social media advertising and fully optimised Google shopping experiences.

“Driving demand, and ultimately purchases, is one of the most unique and important things Pitney Bowes does for its clients,” said Jonathan Kapplow, Senior Vice President, Consumer and Merchant Solutions at Pitney Bowes. “We’ve worked with NMPi to develop successful marketing campaigns for many leading retailers who have taken their business cross-border. This formal relationship will allow us to innovate together and bring new performance-based digital marketing solutions to all of our clients.”

Optimising digital marketing campaigns for 220 different countries and territories can be challenging for retailers looking to grow revenue through cross-border e-commerce. Pitney Bowes and NMPi have worked with clients around the globe and in a wide range of industries including fashion, retail, finance, and travel to elevate their digital advertising capabilities to better reach and engage with consumers.

Pitney Bowes’ Complete™ Cross-Border offering is the industry’s most proven, capable and scalable end-to-end global e-commerce solution that can handle all facets of enterprise retail cross-border expansion. With the addition of NMPi’s innovative technology and talented team of digital analysts, Pitney Bowes will be able to offer its cross-border clients best-in-class digital marketing solutions, as well.

“In today’s competitive global environment, retailers need every measure of help they can get in driving top-line growth and running their day-to-day operations. Cross-border revenue streams driven by effective digital marketing solutions can help alleviate some of that pressure, but it is often difficult to put the right people and processes in place to get that started. Our relationship with Pitney Bowes makes all of that easier for retailers. With Pitney Bowes, we will offer retailers scalable, global digital marketing solutions that meet consumers where they are and guide them to a superior global e-commerce experience,” said Luke Judge, CEO of NMPi.

“We win when our clients and partners win, so we are truly invested in the success of their businesses,” said Kapplow. “By helping drive consumer demand and incremental revenue growth for our retailers, we further strengthen the core growth engine of our own global e-commerce business.”

Mood Tracking & Emotional Advertising: What Does the Future Hold

The term ‘emotional targeting’ has been around the digital marketing world for a few years now, although the idea is nothing new. Emotional targeting was around in a ‘Mad Men’ sort of way for decades before digital marketing exploded. But emotional targeting then and now are different beasts.

There are two ways to look at emotional targeting, the first and more traditional method is to create an ad that ignites a strong emotional response from a consumer which will drive them to take action, whether that’s buying something, sharing, or donating. Emotional advertising is incredibly popular because as studies show, we often rely on our emotions to make purchasing decisions, rather than facts and information. A great example of this is Oxfam, whose ads often tear at our heartstrings, encouraging us to make a difference.

As technology progressed, advertising has developed ways to not just ignite emotional responses but to track them.  Affectiva, is a technology company that has created emotion recognition software that can analyse a user’s facial expressions to determine how they are feeling.

Currently, the technology is used by advertisers and media agents to determine the effect their current advertising is having on the end consumer. But, what if we could tailor ads based on someone’s current emotions?

Well, technically the technology already exists. Earlier this year, Facebook was put under scrutiny when it came to light that they were collecting data that would allow advertisers to target emotionally vulnerable people as young as 14 in Australia. Facebook had been collecting data points from items such as post, pictures, and reactions to determine the emotional state its younger users.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the leaked research stating, “Facebook does not offer tools to target people based on their emotional state. The analysis done by an Australian researcher was intended to help marketers understand how people express themselves on Facebook.”

So where is this technology and digital advertising heading?

Where It’s Headed

Facial Recognition: Some brands have been quick to try new developments such as eye tracking in an attempt to overcome language biases or lack of clarity.  The drawback here is that this method requires consent – how many people will actually want to be tracked via their webcam by an advertiser? This runs the risk of becoming too invasive. The other issue with facial recognition is that it only gives an initial impression – it’s a partial picture that must be taken with the whole to get an accurate understanding of the customer’s emotional intent.

Wearables and Biometric Data: Watches, bracelets and other tracking devices that detect things like heart rate, and blood pressure – which all change according to our mood – are becoming increasingly attractive to advertisers. Soon, biometric data may be behind all our technologies.

Advertisers are eyeing the possibility of measuring blood alcohol levels and blood sugar. What could this information be used for in an emotional advertising context? Advertisers could deliver restaurant ads when blood sugar is low and a craving hits, or send you an ad suggesting a brand of beer after detecting you had a drink. This can be taken one step further when combined with location data; a food ad would be served for a nearby restaurant when the device detected hunger or that a certain span of time without eating had passed.

Biometric data was used at Wimbledon when Jaguar teamed up with Mindshare to capture spectator’s emotions. The data was collected through cuffs and atmospheric sensors to track global sentiment on Facebook, then shared via social media. This data could be used to target the crowd with ads that align with the emotional state being fed through the sensors.

Video and Voice: Brands that focused on consumers who had the greatest likelihood of emotional engagement saw the most uplift in conversion and purchase intent. With the recent explosion of video advertising, marketers are keen to tap into emotional targeting across this new channel. New Balance targeted viewers in Japan with technology that determined which users were most likely to engage with their videos. The brand saw a 113% increase in campaign completion.  Video has a high rate of engagement, if brands and advertisers better understood, and implemented emotional data from video views, they would see significant increases in conversions.

Voice Search has also recently surged in popularity and advertisers have discovered that due to the greater length, and casual nature of voice search queries, it could often indicate the emotion behind the request. As voice search becomes more adept at picking up on natural speech, the emotional intent will become clearer, enabling advertisers to serve ads/suggest items based on these emotional cues. This platform is still in its infancy so we won’t be seeing anything revolutionary with voice search and emotional targeting for a while.


Emotional targeting has not yet reached its full potential, but it has experienced a resurgence as newer, better technology has evolved to make it one of the most lucrative methods for converting browsers into buyers. Knowing your customer emotionally will always be more lucrative than guess work marketing. Purchases are often made after price comparison, and careful consideration, but marketers can go one step further by building brand loyalties and increasing conversions by developing a strong emotional connection.