Yahoo Combines Neuromarketing & Behavioral Targeting: FTC/Congress Should Investigate Work to Elicit "Non-Conscious" Responses
By: Jeff Chester | May 5 2011
The use of neuromarketing by digital marketers to influence "non-conscious reactions" to advertising is a key consumer protection concern. Yahoo has unveiled a new study that combines behavioral targeting with neuromarketing techniques. Working with neuromarketing company Innerscope Research, Yahoo hooked up 60 people to biometric equipment that measured their "heart rate, skin conductance, respiration, kinesthetic differences" and eye movements. The goal was to "understand which targeting techniques are most impactful and why," by measuring "consumers' non-conscious reactions to online display advertising across different targeting techniques."
Yahoo studied behavioral targeted ads through neuro-analysis. It found that "people spend 25% more time fixating on ads...related to the potential for a stronger emotional and cognitive response...Pupil dilation increased by 27%, ...a strong indicator of increased cognition of the ad...[and] processing the key messages..."
We believe it's time for the FTC, Congress and the EU to enact safeguards to govern the use of neuromarketing. When combined with personalized data profiling, tracking and targeting--along with sophisticated methods to create and deliver digital ads to a user--neuromarketing requires attention from policymakers.