CURE is video and content measurement - revolutionized

It's passive, unconscious and temporally granular. It's how we understand the quality of impression a brand makes, and the stickiness of a creator's content. 


Video communications have the power to deliver stories that drive emotional engagement. The benefit of this engagement for advertisers is irrefutable: according to Binet and Field, online and offline video is the most effective medium for brand-building. And strong brands are vital for long term business profitability.

But in order to fully leverage the brand and business-building value of emotionally engaging video, we must better understand the impact of video itself. But how?

Here, we lay out Brainsights’ approach to effectively measuring the emotional engagement and connection to video. The 3 pillars of Video Emotional Engagement Measurement: Passive, non-conscious, temporal granularity.

 
Passive

Passive

Unconscious

Unconscious

Temporal

Temporal

 

Passive

  • Bio-metrics like heart rate and facial coding. 

  • Neuro-measurement like EEG

Passive engagement sounds oxymoronic, but as video is largely a passive consumption experience, finding a means to measure one’s non-active response to the medium seems logical. 

There’s generally no expectation of and from the viewer to physically interact with video in any specific manner. It’s designed to ‘wash over’ viewers from their screen of choice. Media folks call this a ‘lean back’ consumption experience. 

Direct marketers may take exception to this. Direct marketing video often includes a phone number or URL for audiences to take immediate action (call/visit the website, etc), and “Shoppable videos” includes frames with product images that are clickable and can direct to product purchase pages.

However, tracking these purchasing behaviours does not provide a meaningful measure of emotional engagement; it only indicates the proximate action taken in relation to some unconscious trigger (the same goes for video “likes”, comments and shares).

The site visit, phone call or purchase is the mechanism that satiates demand. Insofar as the demand can be attributed to the video view, the resulting behaviours may relate to any moment - or moments - in that video. 

And for brand-building video, there may be no explicit behavioural request at all; rather, these ads may seek to build associations, perceptions and feelings, to impress and imprint upon the viewer a different way to think. These functions happen unconsciously/non-consciously in the brain. Understanding that non-conscious impact is, then, essential. 

Unconscious/Non-conscious

  • Neuro-measurement, like EEG

As advertising legend John Hegarty once said, “a brand is the most valuable piece of real estate in the world; a corner of someone’s mind.”

Since the building blocks of branding - associations, feelings, emotions - happen in the non-conscious brain, measuring emotional engagement with video content requires measuring the unconscious mind. Indeed, 95% of human decision-making is non-conscious. So even those direct marketing or shoppable ads would benefit from unconscious measurement, in order to understand the underlying trigger points driving behaviour. 

Asking people to articulate how they feel about ads provides, at best, incomplete information and, at worst, misleading feedback. Should the topic of the ad be uncomfortable or unsettling - addressing racial, gender or sexuality issues, for example - respondents may fudge their responses, consciously or unconsciously. It’s a classic shortcoming of focus groups and polling (surveys).

Furthermore, moment-by-moment analysis of video emotional engagement with any degree of accuracy is challenging with these explicit response methods. Asking people about specific moments can have the effect of displacing the context of those moments - what came before, what’s coming after? In order to understand this, we need a method that is also precise in its evaluation of moments over time. 

Temporal Granularity

  • Neuro-measurement, like EEG

Video is fundamentally temporal ⎯ a story told over time. It is a sequence of frames knit together into a narrative with (or without) an audio track. Thus, a measurement approach that tracks a video’s performance over a time series is critical. If you believe - as we do - that moments matter, then you’d have to agree that having moment-by-moment measurement is essential. 

Advertisers and video content creators have tried to get at this temporal granularity. They analyze aggregated levels of video abandon behaviours on digital video platforms to model moment by moment engagement levels. Or they’ll deploy dial tests, in which a respondent turns a dial one way or another to indicate whether they like or dislike a moment. 

But neither of these methods are passive or unconscious, and so leave much of video emotional engagement unrealized. Relying strictly on the study of video abandon rates suffers the same shortcomings as a shoppable ad - it’s the resulting behaviour driven by some emotional trigger. Dial tests suffer the same shortcomings as other non-conscious or non-passive means - asking consumers to actively and consciously reflect on a feeling in the moment. 

So what methods satisfy each of the three pillars? 


Bio-metric and neuroscience measurement are the tools that will deliver against these three pillars for marketers and content creators to varying degrees. Because of its unrivalled temporal resolution and the ability to surface the unconscious response to content passively, Brainsights has built its core measurement platform around EEG, which records brain wave activity every 2ms. EEG measures the unconscious response of people to stimuli, providing a reading of where and how the brain commits attentional resources, what unconscious minds find relevant and emotionally resonant, and what people imprint to memory.


Where necessary, Brainsights augments the EEG data with other tools, including eye-tracking, implicit association testing and explicit methods like surveying. Collectively, this approach provides the important data advertisers and content creators need to measure the emotional engagement and connection to video.