How advertisers gain insight into consumers’ emotions

@IE University

Gaining insight into consumers’ emotions is essential in producing a marketing campaign that effectively engages with the target. As consumers become evermore discerning, it is harder for companies to really tap into what makes us excited and loyal to a product.

As humans, we are particularly complex beings. This means it can be difficult for advertisers to gain insight into our emotions about their brand and discover how we really feel.

But advances in neuroscience technology and data-driven insights are signaling the arrival of a new era where advertisers can understand what is resonating—or not—with their demographic. When these insights are properly used, they can produce fun and effective advertising campaigns that have the potential to make a product the most popular in its market.

The importance of gaining customer insights

Originally, advertising agencies would split up into account management, media, and creative. But since the 1980s, they’ve found a better way to do it. It essentially boils down to: the better you know someone, the more able you are to offer them what you want. With the rise in digital technology, marketers have more access to customer information. Using this information, they can build a personalized profile over time that can be used to advertise the products or services you actually want.

Shopping insights

Neuroscience technology to gain insight

Aside from building a profile online, there are many ways companies can monitor the responses and emotional decisions that cause us to purchase products or act in a certain way. Here are some more innovative ways this can be done.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

This technique involves placing a number of sensors on your head in a very controlled setting (and with the person’s consent). These then measure the electrical activity of your brain to see how it responds to different stimuli. It could be anything to do with a particular product, including images, videos, or text. 

Eye tracking

Again, this only takes place after express consent from the person involved. Special cameras are able to focus on the subject’s eyes to see where they look on a screen and for how long. With a large enough sample of people, patterns begin to emerge regarding where people tend to concentrate, which can give advertisers more insight into what they really care about.

Communication and Digital Media IE University

Facial coding

Our facial expressions change by the second—whether drastically or subtly. This means it can be very difficult to identify what exactly a person is feeling just by looking at them. The facial coding software picks up what the eye misses, identifying tiny facial changes to discover exactly what is resonating with someone at any given moment.

Galvanic skin response

Whenever we are under stress or particularly happy, we begin to sweat. This biological response can give us incredible insight into what we’re feeling—if we know how to measure it. Galvanic skin response does exactly that, monitoring any changes in the moisture on your skin in response to external stimuli.

Effective campaigns using customer insights

Regardless of how it’s amassed, once a company has enough data on their customer base, they can then begin to design campaigns around this information. Below are a few examples of how some big players have made use of modern technology to produce winning strategies.

Spotify

Spotify has long used consumer data to create fun, highly targeted campaigns. Towards the end of 2016, they began to produce ads for their “It’s been weird” campaign. The idea was to take humorous statistics and turn them into ads.

Spotify Mobile

For example, they had a billboard that said:

Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day, what did you do?

Thanks, 2016. It’s been weird.”

This proved so successful that Spotify did it again the next year. When approaching December, they decided to celebrate the year using customer data. This campaign was called “2018 goals” and it followed a similar structure. For example:

2018 goals: Be as loving as the person who put 48 Ed Sheeran songs on their ‘I Love Gingers’ playlist.”

Nespresso

Nespresso found out through data that 7% of internet users would classify themselves as eco-consumers. Using this insight, they decided to do something advertisers generally shy away from, and turn the controversy that surrounds their industry into a strength.

Nespresso coffee

Their “Choices We Make” campaign decided to center around the company’s sustainability efforts around the world. In it, they encourage customers to make the right moral and ethical choices when buying their coffee. This was a difficult decision for the brand, which had previously relied on the star power of George Clooney to sell their product. By appealing to people’s consciences backed up by insight, they were able to produce a more authentic campaign.

Beats by Dr. Dre

It seemed that Beats headphones took the world by storm back in 2014. At that time, there was a temptation to put the success down to the large community that was attached to the rapper Dr. Dre. And while this did play a part in the popularity of the product, it was by no means the driving factor.

That we can put down to insight. Their Hear What You Want ad series was another effective example of how understanding your customers can help you produce a product-defining campaign. For those who’ve never seen them, it centers on the idea of famous athletes blocking out external criticism to get in the zone and focus on positive thoughts. They do this by using Beats headphones.

Beats Headphones IEU

This came from the insight that lots of athletes use music as a way of improving their confidence and concentrating better. By extension, this can apply to anyone’s life, where we all have moments where we use music to block out negativity and achieve our goals.

Gaining insight into consumers’ emotions is essential in producing a marketing campaign that effectively engages with the target. As consumers become evermore discerning, it is harder for companies to really tap into what makes us excited and loyal to a product. However, with sharper technology, advertisers can continue pushing the boat out to produce effective and engaging campaigns based on insight.