Archive for the ‘Emotion’ tag
The worlds of ad technology and consumer engagement in games and other online activities moved a little bit closer together today. Affectiva, a startup spun out the MIT Media Lab with a way of measuring emotional responses from online users by tracking their faces, is today announcing a round of funding worth $12 million. It will use to take its technology, first implemented to measure the effectiveness of ads, into the consumer market.
The Series C round was led by Horizons Ventures (investment vehicle for Hutchison’s Li Ka-shing and early backers of Facebook, Spotify, Siri and more) and the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Digital Growth Fund (backers of Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Groupon, Square, Klout, Waze, Shazam, Spotify, etc.). Some existing investors, which include WPP, Myrian Capital and the Peder Wallenberg Charitable Trust, also participated.
As part of the financing, Affectiva is also picking up two superstar investors: Mary Meeker of KPCB will become a board advisor; and Frank Meehan, who had been behind some of the most innovative mobile ventures at Hutchison before he moved over full-time to Horizon, joins the board of directors.
This brings the total funding raised by Affectiva up to $20.2 million, in addition to grants from the National Science Foundation and other endorsements.
The company says that this newest round of funding will be used to develop the ways that its technology can be used in future. Up to now, Affectiva has been working largely with the advertising industry to develop tools to measure the effectiveness of advertisements, with a product it calls Affdex. (WPP division Millward Brown is among those using it to test and tweak ads.) It also has created a wearable biometric sensor, branded Q Sensor.
Now the company, founded in 2009 by professor Rosalind W. Picard, Sc.D. and research scientist Rana el Kaliouby, is taking this to the next level. It wants to make the technology used in Affdex not only something that can be used to measure user responses to all forms of online video content, but also something that could be incorporated into content outside of ads — for example into games.
“We’re excited to bring the technology to a broader market,” David Berman, chief executive officer at Affectiva, told TechCrunch. “This round is about putting it into the hands of consumers an into the social environment and making it engaging to them.”
El Kaliouby and Picard originally developed the technology, interestingly, as a way of helping people on the autism spectrum make better sense of people’s reactions.
El Kaliouby acknowledges that these days, given how much time we spent solitarily looking at screens, a lot of people don’t have much of a strong reaction to anything. The aim for Affectiva is to make sense of even the smallest gestures. As the saying goes, a picture can tell 1,000 words: “The more expressive you are, the more likely content will go viral,” she notes. “But yes for the blandest content, your face will show boredom.”
Something else that Affectiva is quietly building up is a big data-style repository of facial content, with clues to what it all means, something that can prove invaluable to content creators in our increasingly globalized world. (And yes, before you submit anything to Affectiva it asks for your permission, as you can see on this demo.)
“It’s interesting to see the results across different cultures,” she says, noting that it has collected facial data on users from more than 20 countries. “We’re building out this database to see how people respond to content across those cultures.” A small gesture between a man and woman nearly unnoticed in one market will cause outrage in another.
The move to offer ways of measuring user engagement beyond clicks is really only just starting to take off, but it is one that you can imagine will see a lot of demand as the products become more sophisticated, and metrics like CTRs continue to decline.
Facebook itself made an investment into this area, of sorts, last March when it hired away the two founders of GazeHawk, an eye-tracking startup — although at the time it didn’t acquire the product or technology that went into the original startup. And Facebook’s acquisition of Face.com, the face-recognition startup, meanwhile, also points to how it is thinking about automated systems to better order visual content on the site. (It should be noted that when I asked Affectiva’s CEO, point blank, if it is talking at all with Facebook, he said no but did highlight that its newest investors do have strong inroads there.)
There is another element in this business, however, that is a bit more human. As technology continues to become the central fulcrum of our lives, emotion, and the ability to wrap technology around it, is not to be underestimated:
“The adoption of social, mobile and digital technologies is continuing to accelerate, and we need to bring real emotion back into online interaction,” noted Mary Meeker, a partner at KPCB, in a statement. “Affectiva’s thought leadership and commercial traction make this a compelling investment.”
The company’s Q Sensor product, already used by “hundreds” of universities and corporations, will also see some of the investment. Gven the movement towards the Quantified Self and the rise of gadgets and services to help people track their physical lives better, this is another area to watch.
Most times, when we search and scour the web, we tell ourselves that we’re looking for ideas. I don’t think this is actually true. Instead, I think we’re looking for one of two things: permission or a plan.
We’re Not Looking for Ideas
You’ve decided that you want to use the web to try and grow your business, for instance. So you start reading Mashable and you start following smart people (or who everyone else has told you is smart). You start collecting bookmarks and downloading PDFs and buying the occasional book from Amazon.
But MOST of what you’re seeking doesn’t really have to do with an idea.
Most of us want permission. When I finally read The Alchemist, by friend Paulo Coelho, I realized that the book, as stellar and as large as it is in spirit and mind, is also simply a permission slip. Many books are this. And why? Because much of what we seem to want, over and over again, is permission. Validation. We want someone to say to us, “Yes, you ARE doing a good job. Keep doing what you’re doing.” Or “Don’t worry. You’re on the right path.”
By the way, this isn’t bad. It’s not wrong to want it. It’s just a built-in emotion we all feel.
Many times, we get our idea figured out and we realize that we don’t exactly know how to go about accomplishing what needs doing. So we go in search of a plan. Only, a plan is about as retracing someone else’s GPS route guidance. Meaning, you’re not where they were when they realized they needed to reach the same destination. Plans, for that very reason, are always flawed.
And yet, we eat them up. Every single time I write out even the simplest of plans, it becomes one of the most shared pieces of content I can create. Why? Because they are great ways to get our own thoughts in order, if we haven’t even sat with our thoughts long enough to consider putting them in an order.
And that, at the end, is the real issue.
You Could Grant Yourself Both Gifts
With just a little time, with just a little bravery, with just a little consideration, you could find all the permission and planning you want, inside your own head. Yes, there are many instances where learning with others is a great way to go, but at the end of it all, you’ll want to grant yourself permission. You’ll want to concoct your own plan.
And if you’re not yet ready to do that, it’s okay. But be clear with yourself that you (you!) have the permission and the power to make your ideas into something more. Without anyone’s permission. Without anyone else’s plan. You.
Therein lies beauty.
Our primary language is one rooted in emotion, and so our decisions are heavily influenced by the emotions surrounding the words we read or hear. Sian Beilock, Ph. D, author of Choke, points to a study that demonstrates how thinking and speaking in a foreign language can remove that bis and help us make more rational choices. More »
“Technology is a big destroyer of emotion and truth. An amplifier doesn’t do anything for creativity. It can make it easier and you get home sooner. But it doesn’t make you a more creative person.”
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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Hope is the default setting for human beings….just look at the children around you. It’s just that life has a tendency to chip away at it…as we go through life.
But when you think about who engages you, which bosses you love to work for, which brands create loyalty…they all have one thing…they trigger hope.
Sometimes when you look at the news and it would seem that our setting seems to be to despair or fear.
But hope is there….we just need to feed it, to engage people. Hope is powerful but without feeding it can whither and die….how do you feed hope?
So what creates h.o.p.e and how can we ignite it in others
Handle their fears
People love the heroic story – difficult beginning and happy ending
Emotion is the trigger for hope
I found that quote in a strangely-translated instruction manual for an obscure but beautiful trick.
But it has wide applicability.
Perhaps your anxiety is specific to artists or musicians or to anyone who has to stand up and stand out and stand for something.
It turns out that your anxiety isn’t specific at all. Perhaps it is due to the fact that you’re trying to control things that you can’t possibly control.
Your anxiety might merely be a sign that you care deeply about your work.
Anxiety is almost never a useful emotion to carry around. Even for magicians.
Now that you’ve been reminded that you care, it pays to let the anxiety go. Good riddance.
Nobody likes the discomfort of feeling a little chilly, but if you don’t have a jacket on hand a recent study in the journal Emotion suggests all you need to do to warm yourself up is think nostalgic thoughts. More »
The best brands are timeless – true but now we can add…great brands are time-less.
Because the question ‘what is branding?’ used to be answered through the diiference of promises made to me, personally and what was delivered. But now branding is more complex.
Branding is personalised but not necessarily to my own experience. It can be through the promises kept to reviewers who I may or may not know, to bloggers, to friends recommendations….all creating the brand perception. Branding occurs each and every moment, not just the moments that I interact personally.
So in a sense brands are created in the moment, and the good news is that top brands can be part of that moment through social media.
- No longer can a brand be ignorant of brand perception
- No longer can a brand be powerless about a complaint made to others, not them. Now their response can not only neutralise the bad PR but completely turn it around.
Brands are now built through a series of moments. This is great because life – yours and mine – has been created through a series of moments.
Top brands understand the link between moments and perception, moments and emotion, they create moments that can be shared….the don’t create campaigns…they create a series of moments.
In your quest to be the best at what you do goes; are you doing it wrong?
If the client doesn’t say to you after every interaction, “Wow, thank you”… You’re doing it wrong.
If the reader doesn’t share your content with someone else without you asking… You’re doing it wrong.
If someone doesn’t understand what it is you do or how you can help them immediately… You’re doing it wrong.
If your intent is “get over” or meet “your” goals before the customer… You’re doing it wrong.
If you’re not creating an emotion in your marketing that creates a reaction… You’re doing it wrong.
Stop doing it wrong. Got another one to add? Leave it in the comments.
PET design; Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust wordt steeds belangrijker in de online wereld. In de reclame zien we elke dag verleiding. Hoe werkt dit online, waar de gebruikers steeds meer zelf bepalen. Kan marketing de gebruiker beïnvloeden en verleiden? Lees meer over: Beïnvloed gebruikersgedrag door middel van PET-design.