LONDON/LAS VEGAS: The tracking of emotions could emerge as one of the trends of 2016 if recent research, technology development and partnerships are a guide.
Media agency MediaCom, for example, has just entered into a global partnership with Realeyes, an Oxford University start-up that uses webcams to measure how people feel while watching video content, to incorporate emotion measurement technology into its content testing and media planning for clients.
In what is claimed to be the first of its kind for a media agency, the tie-up will enable MediaCom to assess the emotional power of every piece of video content it briefs media/production partners to make or create in-house, to ensure that client messages are as engaging as possible and delivered to the most receptive audience segments.
In the past, Mihkel Jäätma, CEO of Realeyes, has appeared at Warc events to report on research using this technique which found that ads evoking the most emotional response were generally the most effective.
At the same time he noted that "happy" does not automatically equate to higher ad recall – clarity is more pertinent and is strongly connected to an ad being measurable.
Researchers at Brigham Young University have come up with a simpler method of tracking emotions. Last month they revealed that is was possible to assess the emotions of desktop web users by tracking their mouse movements.
Angry, sad or anxious people, The Telegraph reported, are more likely to use the mouse in a jerky and sudden manner, but in a surprisingly slow fashion. Consequently mouse movements tend to be less precise.
Jeffrey Jenkins, lead author of the study, said web developers could use it to inform how people are interacting with their sites and understand, for example, when users are frustrated with content or the length of time before users become frustrated and leave.
Emotion tracking devices were also in evidence at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles-based wearables company, Sentio Solutions, showcased its Feel wristband, which contains sensors that measure and track biosignals from users throughout the day – including galvanic skin response, blood volume pulse and skin temperature – to determine the user's emotional state.
Sensaura took a different tack, gathering standard biometric inputs from existing wearables and using an algorithm to create an emotion matrix. It says that app developers can use the data to make their solutions smarter and more personalised.
Data sourced from MediaCom, The Telegraph, Mobile Syrup; additional content by Warc staff