As wearable devices learn how to monitor your physiological responses to advertising and content, emotional internet marketing will soon become the norm.

In this article, we’ll go over a few companies that are paving the way for this emerging new marketing frontier.

Emotional Internet Marketing: The Basics

Tapping into emotional reactions is the next big step for internet marketers. The ability to know how a person reacts to an ad or a piece of content has the potential to offer deep insight into their mindsets. This knowledge, in turn, will give marketers a better perspective on their own marketing campaigns.

Wearable technology will be the gateway for this type of knowledge. Here are a few companies that are setting the tone for the up-and-coming world of emotional internet marketing:

  • Apple Watch, for instance, incorporates mechanisms for monitoring heart rate and other physiological signals. This data can be used to engage in trigger-based marketing, location-based marketing, and other types of personalized marketing.
  • Google has patented “pay-per-gaze” technology. Designed for use with Google Glass or its successors, it will monitor users’ pupil dilation in response to advertisements, then charge advertisers accordingly. Savvy marketers will clearly recognize the implications of the data gathered from such campaigns: it will offer analytics that correspond much more closely to a person’s emotional reactions.
  • Affectiva calls itself the leading expert in “emotion analytics and insights.” The company uses facial recognition technology to analyze people’s emotional reactions and, consequently, their engagement with “anything from digital content to brands, advertising, and movie trailers.”
  • pplkpr is an app and an art project based on the idea that wearables and technology could help people with “quantified living.” With algorithms optimizing daily lives, the app’s designers hypothesized that people could live more productive, happier lives. The app uses heart rate variability to measure emotional reactions. While this app does not provide marketing data, it sets a clear precedent for future apps to explore the emotional internet marketing frontier.
  • Several companies are already designing wearable technology to respond to the wearer’s stress levels. MoodWings, for instance, was a prototype of a wearable device that acted as an early warning system for stress. Spire, a device that clips on to the wearer’s clothing, takes this a step further by offering suggestions for reducing stress, such as “take a deep breath.” It can also guide users through mini-meditations or relaxation exercises.
  • Virtual reality prototypes have been developed for measuring emotional reactions and expressions. Preliminary research has been going on for years, which demonstrates the viability of virtual reality as an emotional assessment tool. Though educational institutions and the military are conducting much of the research into virtual reality and emotions, there are clear implications for the marketing space.

The academic world has been conducting research that measures emotions via physiological indicators such as breathing rate, blood volume pulse, heart rate variability, and so on.

With these indicators, they have been able to measure everything from moods and emotional reactions to anxiety levels and attention levels.

The Impact of Emotional Internet Marketing

Great salespeople have always known that context and customer insight play a huge role in making a sale.

For one thing, marketers need to enter the conversation that’s already going on inside their customers’ heads. But they also need to ensure that their message reaches customers at the right time, in the right place, and in the right context.

That’s where emotional marketing come in.

These types of insights into emotional reactions can help marketers in several ways:

  • Emotional insights allow marketers to personalize their campaigns. Real-time emotional data will allow marketers to tailor advertising and marketing messages on the spot, which will greatly improve results for any campaign.
  • Predictive marketing will enter a new phase. When algorithms can predict the emotional states of customers, then marketers can wait to deliver messages when people are the most receptive.
  • Marketers can optimize according to the context. Much of emotional marketing relies on the internal emotional state of the target audience. But external triggers, such as events, weather, or location, can also be used in conjunction in order to improve results.

As we’ve seen from some of the marketing technologies listed above, technology can also be used to improve quality of life. The most effective emotional marketing strategies will be those that add value and improve the end user’s experience.

Stress-reduction technology, for example, could add value by recommending products or services that are specifically tailored to their emotional needs.

As time goes on, biometric data and emotional insights will only become more complex. This will open an exciting field not only for analytics and marketing, but also for everyone with access to these technologies. And, as companies such as Affectiva demonstrate, this technology has already arrived.

Emotional internet marketing is already changing the way we do business online, so marketers should pay close attention to these emotional data as they become more widely available.