Measuring Consumers’ Emotional Responses


So it has been a big month for marketers interested in consumers’ emotional responses. In January this year (2016) Apple buys Emotient and Mediacom does a deal with Realeyes to give its clients the ability to measure consumers’ emotions as they watch videos of ads etc.

Although these are important developments bringing the measurement of consumers’ emotional responses closer to an everyday reality for marketers they are not unique, communications, creative and research agencies have increasingly been offering different methods of monitoring and measuring consumers’ emotional responses in recent years.

If, with sufficient scale, we can measure consumers’ emotional responses to our ads, our products, our services, our brands… we can be even smarter about the way that we tailor our work. We can target it more accurately, we can build consumer engagement and emotional involvement with our brands.

This is all true and it is genuinely exciting that we can measure emotional responses in a reliable and scalable way. However, as with everything else in marketing – and I expect in other disciplines too – while measurement is very helpful it is of little use without understanding.

These tools do not tell us why consumers respond as they do, they do not tell us which element of the ad, the experience, the product, service or brand they are responding to, they do not tell us how the consumer’s many emotional responses to an experience build up to create their overriding or lasting response, they cannot tell us how the expectations set up by our communications interact with the consumers’ emotional experience of our product and they do not tell us what the ideal emotional response would be or what we can change to achieve these responses.

Data on consumers’ emotional reactions will be increasingly important and useful to us all as these developments come to fruition, but the clever marketers will be more interested in understanding the consumers’ emotions rather than simply measuring them. It is these smarter marketers that we at The Marketing Clinic enjoy working with now and look forward to working with in the future.