Affectiva Inks Deal With Ebuzzing Social To Integrate Face Tracking And Emotional Response Into Online Video Ad Analytics

Last August, Affectiva, developer of a new way to track facial responses to online content, raised $12 million from KPCB, Horizon and others to take its tech to a wider market. Today comes one of the fruits of that effort: the company is announcing a deal with the Ebuzzing Social video advertising platform for the company to integrate Affectiva’s Affdex facial coding software into the Ebuzzing Social platform.

Financial terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

The agreement will cover content in Ebuzzing Social’s ad network — Ebuzzing says that network includes some 40,000 blogs, social games, mobile apps and Facebook in UK, US, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Luxembourg. Ebuzzing works with companies like Toyota, Acer, Kia, Adidas, and their media agencies including Havas, Mediacom, Starcom Mediavest, Group M and Zenith Optimedia. “There has been a lot of excitement generated around the new tech and we will certainly be offering this to our current clients,” said Rebecca Mahony, VP of global marketing for Ebuzzing Social.

Consumers who come across one of the Affectiva-enabled ads get a pop-up window, before the ad runs, asking users to turn on their webcams to measure their response to the ad and see how it compares against others. An example of that pop-up is illustrated here.

The deal will mean that companies like Heineken and Red Bull will be able to track in real time how users are responding to their advertisements in the wild. That will not only mean taking away the need to run special market research sessions on limited groups of users, but potentially introduces new ways of measuring how effective a video has been, moving away from more traditional online ad metrics like page views and dwell time.

We wrote about Affectiva and Affdex back in August but here is a little refresher: the technology, first developed at MIT’s Media Lab, uses webcams or user-facing cameras on mobile devices to track head gestures and facial expressions. It runs these through an algorithm that links into a larger database of some 300 million face frames, compiled by Affectiva, to produce an analysis on how engaged a user is by a particular video, and what sort of emotion he/she is feeling. Mahony notes that using Affectiva’s technology will mean that its customers “will have a deeper visibility into the statistical correlations of human emotions and video interactions.”

One of Affectiva’s early investors, WPP, has been among those using and providing feedback for the technology. Now, working this into Ebuzzing Social’s platform allows the brands to track other metrics like interactions, shares, click-through rates and the rest; the thinking is that the Affdex measurement will give Ebuzzing’s platform a more “human” aspect.

Nick Langeveld, VP of business development for Affectiva, says that among the brands already using the service are Coca-Cola and Unilever, although this is the company’s first partnership in the social video ad space, integrating the tech with other social media monitoring tools. It’s part of Affectiva’s wider business strategy to partner with third parties “in whatever framework makes sense to their users and clients.”