Brand Safety

Emotions.Tech can provide brand safety via emotional targeting. This is currently a very important issue and we have a solution.

The Problem

Ads for well-known, respectable brands are appearing on extremist and tragic web pages. This problem was highlighted by the intense criticism aimed at Google in March 2017 because they showed ads on web pages with extremist content.

Why does this happen?

There are two main techniques used to fill ad spaces on web pages. The first is keywords. There are bits of computer software, ad publishing algorithms, which scan the contents of a web page looking for important words like "Columbia" or "fashion" and then look up matching ads in their database. Anybody who has run a campaign on Google AdWords should be familiar with this approach. A quick browse of news websites brings up many pages where this leads to undesired associations:

News about avalanche with ad for Expedia

Should Expedia be advertising its Daily Deals on a page about a helicopter crash near to an Italian hotel buried by an avalanche? It's damaging to the brand and inconsiderate to the reader and those hurt in the event. Most likely Expedia has no idea about this. The decision to display that ad is made by an algorithm belonging to a publisher.

Can Keywords Solve the Problem? No!

Keyword algorithms can be slightly improved by avoiding negative keywords like "avalance", "flood" and "death". But what if the second headline had been "Peace Corps Volunteer Rescues Child from Flood"? That is just the sort of content which the Peace Corps would be happy to avertise with. Keywords therefore are part of the problem but can only provide a very basic solution.

Another Reason: Behavioural Targeting

The second technique used to show ads is behavioural targeting. In this case, the ad publishing algorithm ignores the page content and focuses on you, the user. If you have been looking at vegetable boxes, it shows you ads for vegetable boxes, regardless of which web page you are looking at. This is even more dangerous for brands because it means their ads could appear anywhere! Have you ever noticed ads "following you" from one website to another:

News about war in Aleppo

Should CNN show such ads on pages with very destructive content? In this example, the vegetable box company Hello Fresh is advertising some sort of vegetable inspired snack which will be glazed with honey and mustard. The article is about a boy caught up in the war in Aleppo, Syria. This could be a keyword association relating to children, or more likely behavioural targeting as I was previously looking at food related websites. An ad for charities operating in Syria would have been more appropriate.

No Emotional Intelligence

Placing ads solely based on behavioural targeting is like employing a crazy salesman who follows your customers even when they are going to the toilet. The salesman has no emotional intelligence to understand when it's inappropriate. In reality, ad publishing algorithms may use a combination of both keywords and behavioural targeting. We propose adding one more feature.

Our Solution

By analysing the emotional content of web pages, we can enable emotionally appropriate advertising. This means that Expedia can choose to show their ads only on happy pages about Italy, the Peace Corps only on surprising pages about Columbia, and Fashion Mia only on upbeat pages about fashion.

Targeting specific customers by emotion is known as emotional targeting. Our software can provide the emotion analysis. See our full presentation.

We propose that emotional targeting can be bolted on to existing ad publishing algorithms, along with keywords and behavioural targeting, to provide a more harmonious experience for the user.

Added Bonus

A psychological study from 2007 showed that sadness resulted in lower acceptance rates of monetary offers. So unless you are a charity or insurance company, placing ads on sad and angry pages may be less effective than happy or funny pages.

Get in Touch

Contact us to find out more. We are currently looking for marketing agencies to run a pilot project.

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