How Combining Data And Emotion Will Transform Your Advertising

by Figaro Digital

Marketers frequently discuss targeting a person at the right stage of the buying funnel and how successful copy should evoke an emotional response, but what if you could target someone according to how they feel about a product or a brand?

Data + Emotion = Change

There has been a recent trend in marketing that sees a coming together; a recognition that although we work in our own specialisms, effective campaigns do not work in silos but a cross channel and departmental approach.

And one of the most commonly discussed elements of this theory is the coming together of data insights and the ability to control how people feel. No, we’re not talking mind control, but simply presenting the right messages at the right time to the right people.

As James Temple wrote in an article for Campaign:

“The data-science company hired by the Trump Presidential campaign conducted more than 1500 polls a week, per state, during the US election. It kept a finger on the electorate’s pulse – adapting and testing ad after ad until it found the undecided voters it needed.

“But you can’t “Make America great again” with information alone, you need emotion. Data science might have found all the right buttons, but it took Trump’s theatrical delivery to push them.”

If done properly, gone would be the days of tech appearing cold or inhuman. And, with further technical advances, one day, AI products may even be able to recognise and respond to emotions.


In the meantime, marketers should utilise data insights to tailor messaging to customers based on personality, moments, or emotional state – everything from joy and amazement to frustration and rage. This could lead to more strategic and therefore successful campaigns, encouraging behavioural change, boosting conversions and increasing profits as a result.

As Scott Allen of UK Microsoft explained at Advertising Week Europe 2017:

“Don’t think about creativity and data as two separate things. Data does not have to be bland; data does not have to be boring, it can actually help you to be more creative, it allows you then to be better at some of the marketing that you do, which means by default, you’ll be more emotionally connected.”

Emotional analytics is the next big thing in marketing. In fact, forecasts by Crone Consulting have revealed that the market will grow from just $20m back in 2015 to $10b the end of 2020.

How Can This Data Be Collected?

There are a number of software tools available to track this behaviour if your budget is big enough. But one stand-out method is using wearables.

Wearables can provide you with emotional data based on heart rate, as well as location info and a wearer’s browsing history. Combined this data could highly inform a marketer’s approach.

This alongside eye-tracking and facial-recognition technology which monitors how people react to ads, and the internet of things, could provide all kinds of emotional data. It is then up to you how you act on this info. As Tash Walker, founder of The Mix, has said:

“The danger with data is that it appears to do all the work for you, which it doesn’t. Data is only as good as its interpretation. More data has only led to more confused marketers, few of whom know what the hell to do with the data they have.”

Are you looking to evoke emotion with your PPC ads?

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