Smile Though Your Heart Is Aching

Source: Kate O'Leary

I recently attended Create, Alt, Delete where the question was posed – “how is science and psychology changing the face of content?” Content led marketing is big business yet tracking the effectiveness of our efforts is complex to say the least. To answer this, the speakers discussed AI, robot journalism, the power of storytelling facial coding software.

Ann-Marie Tomchak, UK Editor of Mashable, gave an in-depth insight into how they create content on demand for Mashable. The Mashable Snapchat feed is one of the most popular amongst their target demographic. They create content “not for the casually curious” and use Mashable Velocity to analyse what is being picked up by the audience and what is not, in real-time.

She described how being an editor in the age of new proximity meant algorithms may be bringing us away from real news and towards fake news. On Twitter, an incorrect hashtag either misspelt or factually incorrect can trend (celebrities “deaths” being the most popular). Fake news can rise to the top of Google search results as we assume there is a filter casting them out. Often with breaking news there is not. Typically, she finds the audience will read a headline and share to be the first one in with the news, disregarding the source and thus spreading more fake news. What does this mean for advertisers? Misspellings and fake news in general erodes our trust in press, and therefore advertiser’s placements within this environment. Facebook’s new approach around published content will contribute to counteracting this unconscious spreading of fake news in Q1 of 2018 by altering their algorithm so published content will be shown less frequently on the news feed, allowing users to see more of their friend’s original content and create more conversation around topics

Matt Celuszak, Co-Founder and CEO of CrowdEmotion discussed the role psychology can play in analysing the effectiveness of advertising based on emotions. His company enables smart devices to capture and index engagement, emotions and body language. It uses our devices cameras, microphones and keypads to assess 6 emotions of varying states - happiness, surprise, puzzlement, fear, sadness and rejection. “If you can enable a machine to understand the emotional behaviour link, you can enable it to respond. We are collecting the world’s first emotional biometric signal database which creates the foundation of emotional economics”. This emotional data, as my colleagues Leon and Oisin previously wrote in a Future of 2018 article We Can See and Hear You “when used correctly, [data] can help us to better serve the consumer and deliver less wastage for both sides. Whether we like it or not, the computer age brought with it the era of data and data will shape the future.”

Scientists agree that we have a limited conscious mind and a possibly unlimited unconscious one. If all the data we collect and research is based on conscious decisions, we are missing a huge chunk. How do we know it is even correct? As I have already stated, one of the biggest issues in our industry is verifying content led marketing works. Emotional reactions are majorly controlled by our subconscious, where CrowdEmotion enters to solve this problem.

For us as advertisers there are endless benefits if this were to be brought mainstream. For example, rather than trying to qualify our results from the number of impressions we receive on a social post, we could see who physically laughed (or cried) and who didn’t even blink. On the other hand, with VOD and unskippable ads, we would measure their emotive response to having to watch an ad – which may be negative as it is forced and not representative of their feelings to the ad itself. However, this assumes that all decisions we make are emotional and that all content must evoke an identifiable emotion. Most of the time I have a passive face that does not reflect happiness even if I am entertained. Consider the times your friend has sent you a hilarious meme to which you respond “OMG dying lol“ when you are in fact neither dying nor laughing out loud. And pressure on the keys? I am currently typing furiously not because of my emotional state but because of my physical state as I have acrylics on and it’s just necessary!