The Eyes, They Never Lie

Neuroscience or more aptly neuromarketing is regularly written off as a ‘fad’ by marketers, all the while they respect the uprising of machine AI and big data. If only they realised neuromarketing is an amalgamation of AI, big data and behavioural science, all rolled up into this neat little package underpinning unconscious human behaviour, ensue big sigh. Emotion driven marketing is increasingly successful, and neuromarketing is the powerhouse behind it.

Marketers love data, they love big data, fast data, real-time data, all shapes and forms of data, and this data shows them what consumers behaviours are. Neuromarketing helps marketers understand why consumers behave that way, and the data that comes with this is neuro data, or biometric data more specifically.

This data is collected very differently to the data we love now, instead of tracking click-through rates, the technologies are more physical – facial coding, galvanic skin response (GSR), electrocardiograms (ECG), eye tracking, fMRI’s, implicit reaction time tools amongst others. The confusion for most marketers comes as “where is the correlation between facial coding, and marketing?”, well here’s a quick run-through of a few:


  • Facial coding or expression analysis – Your face has 44 muscles, and there are 23 commonly shown expressions, and with expression analysis, every little micro-expression can be recorded. Facial coding records and quantifies your emotional response into 7 specific emotions, as well as telling you the amount of emotional engagement (aka the likelihood that this advert is going to be remembered). This gives marketers an insight into the emotional reaction displayed when viewing that advert, or site, and how to adapt those things to get the emotion you want them to feel. Is their brow furrowing in confusion on the checkout page? You know you now need to make it clearer.


  • Galvanic skin response (GSR) and electrocardiograms (ECG) – GSR measures the electrical conduction in the hands of perspiration cells. During any strong emotion, (eg: fight or flight) skin conductance will increase, which is an indication of higher emotional engagement. In an ECG, positive reactions are related to an increase in heart rate, whereas a negative emotion is detected by a decrease in the heart rate. These two are usually used in conjunction with facial coding, to record if there are any strong emotional reactions to the advert.


  • Eye Tracking – This is probably the most well-known and respected of all neuromarketing techniques as it’s easy to understand. Eye tracking is the measurement of eye movements to determine where the consumer is looking, and how long their eyes are spending there, which means eye tracking is one of the most accurate and objective ways to measure visual attention. This means marketers can understand what on their advert is catching attention, and what that’s surrounding it that is causing distraction – this drawing visual attention away.


By now we know consumers lie, and it might not be their fault! They might not know why that advert makes them angry, or maybe they don’t want to admit that the advert had an effect on them. These techniques combat those problems because you can see data showing the unconscious emotions which they don’t even know about – they’re shortcuts to the real answers.  Either way, these neuroscience technologies offer a fast track to real-time correlative data, and it’s time to stop calling it a fad.


If this interested you, then last month I wrote a neuromarketing tips blog, which you can read right here.

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