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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.

The Top 3 Metrics for Tracking Video Success

Video became popular in 2015, but truly exploded in 2016.  By including a video on a landing page, you can increase conversion rates by 80%. In addition, after watching a video, 64% of viewers are more likely to buy a product online, with 90% of users saying that product videos are helpful during the decision process. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now, video is crucial to your marketing strategy.

In light of the recent Facebook video metrics scandal, it’s more important than ever for marketers to repair the damage to advertiser’s reputations by ensuring that metrics are correctly tracked and accurately measured. Although Facebook issued an apology, and marketers tried to downplay this gaffe, with 85% of digital ad spend going to giants like Facebook and Google, their actions can have a serious impact on future marketing practices and affect trust within the industry.

So what metrics matter when tracking video? We’ve listed some suggestions to get you started tracking correctly, and accurately for your next video campaigns.

Beyond “Views”

Many marketers rely on this metric as the end all be all of their video measurement strategy, yet it tells you nothing if you can’t demonstrate that the views are driving traffic to your website or concrete conversions.  If the viewers aren’t your target market, then it really doesn’t matter if you receive a million views because they won’t be purchasing your products or services.
If you really want to accurately assess whether your campaign is working, you need to dig deeper and look at measurement values from play rates, completion rate, and lead generation.

Play Rate

The “play rate”, i.e., the percentage of people who click on your video divided by the total number who access the page where your video is embedded, is a better measurement for ROI versus “views”. A play rate above 50% is considered ideal. What does that mean exactly? Play rate tells you whether you’ve done a good job of presenting engaging video content, by letting you know if your video was appealing and grabbed viewer attention.  If you discover your play rate is low, it means that you need to make some changes such as making your video more interactive and interesting to capture, and more importantly, retain your audience’s attention.

Completion Rate

How long are people staying tuned into your video?  By looking at completion rates, you can get a sense of the impact your video has had. The amount of time they are actually engaged with your content and what they do with it is a much better marker of success that just “views”. This is a good metric to use when judging the effectiveness of branding campaigns.

If you are using the skippable ads format on YouTube consider how many people skip the ad after 5 seconds. This is a good indication as to whether your video is compelling enough or perhaps you are not reaching the right audience.

Lead Generation

Video advertising is an excellent means of attracting attention and initial interest in your product or services. Video tends to do better than other forms of lead generation for garnering conversions and currently accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. Beyond click and convesion statistics, there are a few other metrics to look at to judge campaign performance including post view website visits and prompted searches.

How can marketers capitalise on video for viable leads?

  • Create “how-to” videos, and offer tips and assistance. Show that you have something valuable and unique to offer them.
  • Include a strong CTA at the end of the video to draw viewers to download an app, fill out a form, or visit your website to get more information
  • Be authentic by creating videos that showcase the people behind your brand to get viewer buy-in. Concretely explain what you do and how you can help your viewers.
  • Take advantage of formats where you can insert lead generation forms directly in the video. While this form of gatekeeping may turn some viewers away, the ones you do capture have a much higher likelihood of converting because they have demonstrated a genuine interest in the product or service your video is offering.
  • If you’re using YouTube, you can add CTAs via YouTube Annotations  to drive desired viewers back to your landing page

Video is here to stay will continue to grow exponentially in 2017 and beyond. It’s now a vital part of marketing campaigns, no longer the afterthought it was a scant three or four years ago. Marketers need to look beyond how many “views” they’re receiving to get an accurate picture of what is and isn’t working in video campaigns, and how they can best incorporate other metrics into their future strategies.

To learn more about top advertising platforms for video, download our latest whitepaper: The Importance of Video Advertising in a Digital World.