Microsoft Technology to Serve Ads Based on Your Mood

Discussion
Jun 15, 2012

Talk about finding new ways to Kinect with consumers. As initially reported by GeekWire, in 2010 Microsoft filed a patent application for a technology that would deliver ads based on the mood and body language of individual viewers.

The technology, as reported by Advertising Age, would gauge the emotional states of individuals based on "search queries, emails, instant messages and use of online games, as well as facial expressions, speech patterns and body movements." It would work in desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and video game consoles such as Microsoft’s Kinect. And you thought people got freaked out over the use of a little facial recognition technology in digital signage?

The obvious benefit to marketers would be ad messages that would be more targeted than ever before. The most likely first device to test the new technology would be Microsoft’s Kinect. According to PSFK, the gaming device already makes use of a motion sensor to "detect speech and gestures."

Microsoft has not publicly commented on its patent application.

Discussion Questions: Will consumers welcome or be horrified at the thought of technology that tracks their moods to deliver more targeted ads? Assuming it works as it will eventually be promised, how do you think marketers will make use of the technology?

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10 Comments on "Microsoft Technology to Serve Ads Based on Your Mood"

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Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Ever ask somebody if they were having a bad day and then had them snap at you that they were fine and you should mind your own business? The consumer already knows what kind of mood they are in, so where’s the benefit to them? And, without benefit to them, where is the real marketing opportunity?

It’s hard to think of somebody saying, “Gosh, thanks Microsoft! I was feeling pretty good but I guess I was full of denial and lack of self-awareness. I think I’ll just go buy a toaster to make myself really feel the way I felt I felt.”

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

Every new personalized technology horrifies consumers when it’s first reported, especially if it sounds invasive to their privacy. Most often though, if it’s not abused they eventually accept it over their own claimed objections. NUI (Natural User Interface) is going to be everywhere in the next 3-4 years. I know because it’s part of our product offering and I’m one of its major proponents. To think that brands and marketers won’t try and tap into it would be naive.

So, I predict that it will find its own level of acceptance and marketers will use it as a tool, just as they do social media tools or anything else. But the effectiveness of judging someone’s mood and the ability to turn that into useful advertising is yet to be proven.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

One of the disadvantages of email communication over face-to-face communication is the difficulty in conveying the subtle nonverbal cues necessary for interpreting words. The little emoticon symbols help, but are not quite the same. Therefore, correctly assigning emotion to social media messages and/or searches will be a challenge. Responding with appropriate messages will be a great challenge. If done successfully, consumer responses will depend upon what the response messages are like. If they are subtle and provide consumers with useful information in a non-offensive manner, this will be successful. If the messages are not appropriate, not relevant, and not tasteful or too intrusive, then consumers will react negatively. There are a lot of ifs here, so the details of execution will make the difference.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust

Why don’t we save a lot of time and just line up to get a Microsoft “Buy-Chip” installed into our frontal lobes? Gates just spent a whack of money on a bracelet kids wear so we can monitor when they get bored. Can that organization get any more inhuman and manipulative? In the cause of having a balanced opinion, they are certainly not alone in trying to get inside our heads. Fortunately getting inside our hearts will pose a much bigger problem.

Paul R. Schottmiller
Guest
Paul R. Schottmiller
5 years 1 month ago

The increased sophistication and coming explosion in the numbers of sensors (like the examples in the article) will greatly increase what can be known about individuals.

Eventually there will be a backlash, leading consumers to find ways via 3rd party services to better protect and monitor their personal information, as well as more directly monetize the sharing of it.

The train is barely out of the station on this one.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
5 years 1 month ago

This is fantastic because, if I read it correctly, I won’t ever be bothered by ads again!

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

I can’t say it better than Camille did.

Matthew Keylock
Guest
Matthew Keylock
5 years 1 month ago

I’m not sure this is where I would go next. In my view there isn’t enough knowledge of what works today to start adding even more new ways of “skinning the cat.”

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
5 years 1 month ago

Lots of consumers will opt out of this, assuming they figure out how to do it, at least at first. Over time, they’ll get used to it, as they have to the zillion other ways marketers are targeting them via “personalization.” And, it will probably work well enough to make some money.

Mike Osorio
Guest
Mike Osorio
5 years 1 month ago

As the younger generation comes more and more into the mainstream of consumers, having grown up with complete openness to what we may view as “intrusive,” technologies like this will be welcomed assuming what is delivered is useful, interesting, and a value add to the desire for ever-increasing connectivity and transparency.

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