Video adtech platform Unruly adds a new emotion-visualization dashboard

Called Pulse, it offers summaries of emotional responses to selected video ads -- but then what?

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Getting video ads watched and shared is the thing that gets video adtech firm Unruly out of bed in the morning. Today, the London-based, News Corp-owned firm is launching in beta another tool to support that quest.

Called Pulse, it is a new dashboard that visualizes aggregate findings about emotional responses to selected video ads. Strong emotional responses to online ads can drive sharing, can build goodwill around a brand, and can provide an emotional signature to help compare one brand against a competitor.

Vice President of Insights Devra Prywes told me that the data has previously been available in the company’s platform but had been mainly utilized on a custom basis following client requests.

The emotional assessments come from panels of tens of thousands of online questionnaires managed by market research firm Research Now. Each panel consists of 500 consumers, and each consumer responds to four video ads.

Measuring the emotional reaction to online ads is becoming a hot topic these days. In January, for instance, major media agency MediaCom said that RealEye’s emotional tracking via facial detection would become a regular part of its content testing and media planning.

Last December, New York City-based Sticky said that it was adding emotion-tracking to its eye-tracking services. RealEyes said that its facial tracking is more accurate than question-based surveys. Facial tracking companies also claim that they can detect micro-expressions that are hidden from questionnaires.

Prywes responded that “facial coding is only good for five to seven emotions,” including happy, sad, surprised and angry.

“We go deeper,” she contended, with data reflecting up to 18 different emotional responses.

As Pulse is now in beta, Unruly doesn’t yet have stats on how effectively the emotional insights visible from its new dashboard can be used.

Pulse’s screens show relative levels of emotions by world region, industry or several demographic breakdowns like age or gender, and some show by specific video ad.

But it’s not entirely clear how an advertiser practically uses the resulting information, what levels of which emotions lead to the most sharing, or how any of these results help inform a specific brand identity.

Here a sample of some of the findings reported by Unruly, for instance:

    • “41 percent of US viewers reported having a more favorable view of a brand after watching a video ad, compared with 28 percent in the UK and 26 percent in Germany.” As in this screen:

Unruly's brand love screen

    • “Happiness is the most common emotion people felt while watching video content,” across national and cultural borders. Unruly pointed to the “most shared ad of all time,” Google Android’s 2015 commercial, “Friends Furever,” as one that made consumers around the world feel “almost four times as happy as the average ad” and almost “five times as likely to make people laugh as the average tech ad.” Here is an emotional footprint for “Friends Furever”:

Unruly emotional footprint

    • And here is a screen showing the top emotional responses across broad geographical regions:

Global Pulse

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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