The BBC is using facial recognition to measure if native ads work
Like many publishers, the BBC wants to prove native advertising works. But instead of just relying on awareness and brand lift surveys, the BBC is turning to facial-recognition technology.
In the fall, the BBC used software from CrowdEmotion to measure 5,000 people’s conscious and subconscious emotional responses to content marketing campaigns on BBC.com from clients like HSBC, Dassault and Hainan Island Tourism. Now, the BBC is rolling out the capability broadly to clients of its StoryWorks content studio.
The facial-recognition software uses webcam tests with each participant activating the tech via their desktop. For the unconscious measurement, facial movements were recorded on a second-by-second basis and then divided into six possible emotions: sadness, puzzlement, happiness, fear, rejection and surprise.
“CMOs often talk about difficulties around internal buy-in and appreciation of [content marketing],” said Richard Pattinson, head of BBC StoryWorks. “Audience appreciation indexes have been bread and butter for broadcasters for decades for testing response to their shows, but it’s a newer area for brands. It can give us more metrics beyond the usual dwell time and pageviews.”
BBC Advertising may have been later than other publishers to launch a content-marketing shop, having hung up a shingle only last June. But it hasn’t wasted time catching up. Currently, revenue that come through StoryWorks is at 30 percent of overall ad sales, and Pattinson expects that to rise to 50 percent in the next few years.
“Early attempts to use digital actions such as clicks, likes and comments as a proxy for true mental ‘engagement’ have a lot of drawbacks, and there’s little evidence that they will correlate with business results,” said Jerry Daykin, global digital partner at Carat. “Facial recognition may prove to be a more encapsulating measure of how consumers are relating to content because they help capture more of the passive reaction that we know most consumers have.”
During the test, the BBC examined a sponsor-content campaign with HSBC. The facial-image recognition tech showed that the emotional involvement with the campaign was heightened when the brand labeling was made clear.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Where publishers see revenue growth in 2022
Publishers with diversified businesses are less optimistic about ads growth than those focused purely on advertising.
Why media unions are demanding to participate in management’s return-to-office planning
Media unions demand management come to the bargaining table over RTO plans and are fighting back against office return mandates and dates.
How Leaf Group transitioned to being a commerce-dominant media company
After its recent acquisition by Graham Holdings, Leaf Group's CEO Sean Moriarty said vertical-focused expertise is the best direction for continued growth.
Sponsoreddigital out of home
what is DOOH
Recurrent Ventures – the next big private equity-fueled media conglomerate?
Private equity-funded Recurrent Ventures now has 20 digital media brands under its purview — and is on the hunt for more acquisitions. But is its approach to injecting new life into these titles sustainable?
WTF is Web3?
Web 3.0 is set to change the way brands interact with consumers, publishers engage audiences and the way the advertising business is conducted online.