It’s common knowledge that, when properly analysed, our social media activity provides highly valuable information for the publicity sector. The latest Facebook controversy, uncovered by Australian media, concerns a study that Zuckerberg’s company allegedly conducted on youths and adolescents to ascertain their moments of greatest emotional vulnerability and inclination towards certain behaviour, for example weight loss, and to use this data for advertising purposes.
Without resorting to complex medical equipment, the service proposes a very simple, light-hearted test to fairly large sample sets of web users, asking them to express their opinion regarding groups of images. However, rather than seeking a rational response, the aim is to probe that area of the unconscious mind where, according to the company’s founders, 95% of our purchases are decided. Once the data has been collected, the results are passed to the neuromarketing team, which statistically analyses the information to identify the levels of emotional response to a certain image, thus clearly establishing what works best even before the production phase has been concluded.
One of the latest Honda campaigns used the results of Engagement Insights tests to propose a virtual test drive, considering various suggestions concerning the position of the car, the most suitable angle to transmit a sense of reliability or the best characteristics for a virtual showroom, and so on. “If you can tap into the unconscious, you can learn a lot more about your customers,” explains Chris Christodoulou, CEO of Saddington Baynes. “You can better hone your way of communicating. It’s not just about creating pretty pictures, but about creating them so you’re absolutely sure that they’ll work.” To obtain this result, the path is abounding with opportunities for advertising. But if we just slightly widen our perspective, the question is not devoid of more disturbing implications.