Unruly Launches Emotional Targeting for Programmatic Video Advertising

Video ad tech company Unruly has launched a new targeting capability that helps advertisers connect with consumers who are most likely to emotionally engage with a specific ad. Although “unique” is one of those gobbledygook terms that are so overused they have become meaningless, Unruly’s emotional targeting for programmatic video advertising is “unlike anything else,” which is the definition of “unique.”

In an interview with ClickZ, Unruly chief operating officer (COO) Sarah Wood said, “Industry and academic research has repeatedly shown that strong emotional responses lead to better campaign results. Emotive ads reliably outperform rational ads on every business metric, from brand recall to purchase intent, from brand favorability to product sales, and even long-term corporate profitability.”

She added, “Using Unruly ShareRank data, trained on viewer responses to 1.3 trillion tracked video views, Unruly Custom Audiences identifies allows us to collect emotional, sociographic, and behavioral data and build out a unique custom audience for each video ad.”

Unruly Custom Audiences uses data from the video ad-tech company’s predictive algorithm, Unruly ShareRank, which was created using 1.3 trillion tracked views and more than 250,000 consumer data points to target across paid media the consumers most likely to experience a strong emotional connection to a specific video, maximizing brand recall, earned media, and purchase intent.

The new targeting capability uses Unruly ShareRank data to predict which viewers are most likely to engage emotionally with a particular video ad. In addition to custom audience targeting, video player formats and functionality are also optimized to ensure the campaign maximizes viewer engagement and earned media.

In a press release, Unruly chief executive (CEO) Scott Button said, “This is a transformational targeting capability for the advertising industry. For the first time, brands and media agencies can use the results of content testing to apply emotional targeting to their video buys.”

Why is this significant? In today’s frenetic, cluttered media landscape, brands that want success on social media and memorability at the point of purchase need to create and distribute contagious content that makes a deep emotional connection with their audience.

Button added, “With the launch of our emotional targeting capability, Unruly advertisers now know how, why, where, and with whom their ads are resonating. And they can use Unruly’s distribution platform to optimize their digital video distribution on a creative by creative basis to reach and engage the sub-segments of their audience most likely to respond positively to the content.”

Over the last decade, academic and industry studies have repeatedly shown the effects of emotional advertising on a variety of brand and business metrics. These include:

  • Increased Sales: Emotional campaigns are more likely to generate sales than non-emotional campaigns. According to a study by Pringle & Field, “Emotional campaigns outperform on almost every metric,” including revenue, profit and share gain, according to H. Pringle and P. Field’s “Brand Immortality.”
  • Increased Purchase Intent: According to Unruly ShareRank data, around 70 percent of viewers who experienced an intense emotional response to an ad were very likely to buy the product, more than double the 30 percent of viewers who were very likely to buy the product having experienced merely a moderate emotional response, representing an uplift of up to 144 percent, according to 84,000 respondents across 840 Unruly video campaigns run in 2014.
  • Increased Attention: Early results have found that Unruly Custom Audiences are around 15 percent more likely to finish watching a video than an advertiser’s general target audience, according to Unruly campaign data for 2015.
  • More Earned Media: Videos that elicit strong emotions are twice as likely to be shared as those that elicit a weak emotional response, according to Dr. Karen Nelson-Field, of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science, according to Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing.

So, research has found that consumers who are more emotionally engaged with a branded video are more likely to share the video, more likely to remember the brand, and more likely to buy the product. For digital marketers, this means more engagement, more earned media and, ultimately, more sales.

In the release, Button said, “Digital marketers recognize that even the highest-quality content needs to be paired with a repeatable, scalable distribution strategy and that’s why we’ve mapped our content evaluation dataset to our distribution platform – we’re helping advertisers to bridge the gap between the content stack and the tech stack.”

Unruly’s product director Cat Jones added, “We are able to isolate the most emotionally engaged respondents for any specific video. By analyzing the characteristics and attributes of that bull’s-eye audience we can identify profile characteristics of the people most like to engage with a specific video.”

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