Why Facial Recognition Is the Next Big Thing in Marketing

Why Facial Recognition Is the Next Big Thing in Marketing


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If SnapChat’s new Facial Filters are any indication, facial recognition technology is looking to make a big impact on how consumers view and create content, because lets face It (see what I did there?) who doesn’t want to be able to barf rainbows or face swap with their significant other?

While the Facial Filter feature on “the Snap” is the latest iteration of mainstream facial recognition technology, it could also be looked at as a precursor to how marketers can use the technology to better connect with consumers.

Below are a few examples of how brands have recently used facial recognition technology for their own brand campaigns:

While these campaigns were innovative and effective, they focused more on the side of experiential marketing and seemed to be borderline gimmicky, “one and done” type tactics. What marketers need to begin to look at is how to incorporate this technology into their long-term approach when connecting to the consumer.

Think about it. Every modern computer or smartphone has a built in camera that looks right at you. Combine that with the amount of consumer data collected through third party services and you could create an environment where every digital ad is tailored to an individual consumer based on the unique features of your face, no matter what device you’re using. Cookies and IP addresses would no longer be the sole way to identify a consumer.

If this sounds a bit like that scene in Minority Report, then you’re on the right track.

While facial recognition technology is available for brands looking for a competitive edge, consumer privacy issues have stagnated the growth among mainstream marketing strategies. A First Insight survey found that 75% of consumers would not shop at a store using face recognition technology for marketing purposes. However, that same report found that more than half of consumers would be open to the use of the technology if incentivized properly, such as given a discount or other promotion.

How do you feel about the rise of facial recognition in advertising? Does it feel too “Big Brother” like? Or would you welcome more relevant advertising?

Leave a comment below!


2 thoughts on “Why Facial Recognition Is the Next Big Thing in Marketing

  1. Great post Sam. As you have noticed fittingly, targeted advertising system based on an audience recognition, as well as Methods and systems for dynamic advertising on mobile and stationary platforms is an essential part and parcel of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies in 2015-2016. Facial recognition privacy woes aside, the applications for determining and responding to User Sentiments (i.e. beyond the facial recognition) during viewed media contents, or during their shopping experience provide tremendous value, and are bound to happen. The idea goes beyond facial ‘recognition’ but rather in to eigen-value anonymized ‘sentiment analysis’ i.e. recognition of excitement, surprise, like/dislike and other features which can be associated to the eventual outcome for the purchase.

    As an emerging marketer, an upcoming technology to keep an eye on are context-enriched services; i.e. set of services which proactively anticipate the user’s needs, and serve up the content, product or service most appropriate to the user are essentially the future of shopping experience, both online and in-store. Integrating with big data repositories which provide customer demographics, behavior, sentiment analysis and using machine learning to augment the experience, the ROI/business Impact of such services is tremendous. Virtual assistants can also be employed to reduce the ‘awkwardness’ factor in case of human-human coordination. Video analytics can also help to enhance the customer experience and drive revenue generation by obtaining a better understanding of customers’ “reality experience.” The technology is ideally suited to the retail industry, but other industries (including travel and entertainment) will also benefit from tailored deployments.


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