The code behind emotion: targeting consumers through emotional understanding

Last year, 80 million smart home devices were bought worldwide, a 64 per cent increase from 2015. With voice search evolving from being accessible solely on mobile devices to firmly inside our homes, there is no doubt that voice activated assistants, such as Alexa, account for a significant part of this growth.

We are now happily integrating technology into our everyday lives with the realisation that it has the potential to make completing tasks both easier and more productive. This ability for technology to enhance our daily life experiences has led to us interacting with it in more natural ways. When analysing voice searches made through the Cortana platform we found that these searches tend to be more colloquial than written searches, with a tendency to be longer and more structurally complex. As a result, voice searches tend to be packed with intent signals meaning we are revealing more emotions to our devices.

We are now expecting technology to react in an equally natural way; listening, watching, understanding, and most importantly, responding. We are at an exciting point where cognitive technologies can use powerful APIs and artificially intelligent algorithms to determine our emotions. If we are smiling, and therefore, happy, it will know and serve appropriate content. For marketers, this opens a plethora of possibilities.

At Microsoft, as part of our democratisation of A.I., we are developing our offering to provide brands and marketers with this rich level of insight through our Cognitive Services platform. This set of solutions sets out to solve real world problems, for instance we have worked with app based taxi service, Uber. Uber used the Microsoft Cognitive Services Face API to build its Real-Time ID Check feature, an application which is able to verify a series of regular ‘selfies’ uploaded by the driver to confirm their identity. The software can compare each photo in varying poses, focuses and lighting conditions, immediately after the driver accepts the ride to confirm his or her identity. This feature is now capable of supporting up to a million users and provides quick authentication, enhancing brand trust and credibility – with absolutely no impact on the customer’s journey time.

Everyday technology is making advancements in understanding emotional intelligence. Today, even emotion can be coded. By connecting brands with consumer’s emotional data, the opportunities for advertisers to build deeper understanding is richer than ever before.

If you are interested to learn more about Microsoft’s Cognitive Services platform and services, please get in touch or visit the dedicated site, here.

By Ravleen Beeston, UK Head of Sales, Bing Ads.