Nashville Company Using Facial Coding Software To Track Responses To Ads

  • Play

Photo: Video by NewsChannel5.com

Nashville Company Using Facial Coding Software To Track Responses To Ads

CREATED Jun 2, 2014

by Jason Lamb

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Middle Tennessee marketing company hopes to change the way people watch television and internet commercials, with a webcam and new software used to help detect how you react to the commercials you see every day.

With a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies as clients, Nashville-based 20/20 Research is used to using research focus groups and interview questions to help companies determine how audiences respond to their television and internet commercials before they’re released.

Now, staff at 20/20 Research said the company has become the first marketing research group to use facial coding software in conjunction with the focus groups. The facial coding software is said to help researchers determine if people are reacting positively or negatively to the message in the ad.

The process begins by recording the reactions of those who watch the commercial in the focus group.

“We can see the emotion on their face,” said Isaac Rogers, Chief Innovation Officer for 20/20 Research. “It tracks what are called micro-expressions, and they tell us where they have points of interest -- what they like and what they didn't like.”

Micro-expressions are brief flashes of facial expressions – most lasting only a fraction of a second -- that can reveal insight into what someone is feeling at a specific moment, including happiness, sadness or surprise.

The software being used by 20/20 Research then plots those expression changes on a timeline along with the commercial or video clip being reviewed, giving researchers an idea of where to focus their questions to focus groups.

The group said they hope the technology will change the future of how people watch TV and even surf the web across the country – incorporating ads people won’t want to fast-forward through.

“The ads you want to skip past on your DVR, the ads you don't really want to watch, I think those are going to go away,” said Rogers.

20/20 Research said this kind of technology could have implications well beyond product advertising.

They said even political campaigns could use it to test out how well voters respond to specific ideas.

Email: jlamb@newschannel5.com