Advertising. The goal is to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message. A basic enough principle. With technology advances, there are several ways to do that, but the two scenarios I’m about to share take it to a whole new level. It’s not enough anymore to engage users on Facebook and Twitter, advertising is now working on literally getting inside your head.
1) TV and Facial Recognition: It’s a little creepy to think that your TV may be watching you as you watch it, but that’s exactly what Intel says its technology will do http://bit.ly/LhXtNK. So while you’re sitting on the couch with your morning coffee you may see a commercial about getting a good night’s sleep. Especially if you look tired. Intel is developing set-top boxes with facial recognition software built in, meaning ads that come on will be targeted based on what your TV sees at any given time.
Why this may work: Facial recognition is not as far-fetched as, say, flying cars. Lots of current devices have cameras that can view the operator and take pictures and video. If its facial recognition software reads key facial features accurately, and analyzes that person’s surroundings, it may be able to make relevant suggestions half of the time.
Why this may not work: Some people have poker faces that even technology can’t read, or can easily misread. In that case, it would require a mind reader to target these kinds of people. Basically, it would be the same as seeing irrelevant Facebook ads that base themselves off of keywords and phrases in your status updates. Annoying and not always helpful. There’s also the privacy factor.
2) Emotion-Targeted Commercials: Coming to a TV near you, and even sooner to the Internet. Microsoft is seeking a patent that would allow advertisers to target customers based on their emotions http://bit.ly/N7UKnS. It’s software would monitor the tone and content of a person’s online history, including search queries and email conversations. It would also monitor facial expressions, speech patterns, gestures and body movements.
Why this could work: It’s not a new idea to target ads to a customer’s emotional mindset. We call that ‘engagement’ and it happens everyday. This is simply an extension of that. It’s also very logical that certain ideas and concepts are more acceptable if a person is emotionally open to them. Think about how you used to wait until your parents were in a good mood to ask them for something. Same concept, applied to ads.
Why it may not work: Invasion of privacy, Internet users and TV viewers do not want people analyzing their moods, appearance, etc. in that way. Basically, it runs the risk of being too personal. Like Intel’s set-top boxes, there’s also room for error here. No technology is 100% accurate, and that can lead to problems.
Advertisers may just have to improve upon what’s already in place, conversational advertising via social media http://bit.ly/LhXTne. Social and conversational advertising can happen in a few ways, the most common being word-of-mouth between social influencers and their friends. Sponsored posts and stories, and even viral posts, are another example. The point being that the excitement builds and you gain a multitude of brand ambassadors. How do they improve on this concept? In the same way that FourSquare rewarded frequent visitors with ‘mayor’ status and exclusive deals, Facebook advertisers need to do something similar. Yet, in the end, it may be that social, conversational advertising wins out over finding ways to get inside our heads. In fact, perhaps us getting inside each other’s heads is a better recruiter than any targeting tool they can ever develop.