Vicomi Cracks the Hidden Layer of Emotional Targeting

August 24, 2015

9:00 pm

Brands and site owners who are in the business of publishing content struggle to be relevant to their readers and keep them engaged. One of the major reasons this happens is because they don’t know how readers feel about their content and what kind of content to offer next.

Understanding reader sentiment is a challenge. Unless my readers comment and express their feelings explicitly, their sentiment remains a mystery to me.

Why a mystery? Because likes, shares, and tweets can’t show us how readers feel about our content.

Shares can’t tell you if readers liked what you wrote; it’s just a counter. Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s good for SEO, and it serves as an excellent trophy celebrating your marketing skills. But it’s not effective if you’d like to know how readers feel about your content and how to create more content that elicits certain emotional responses.

Vicomi aims to fix that and much more. Their new system, Feelbacks, offers to replace social likes and shares. Not entirely, of course, but just as a measure of the emotional reaction to content, and as a way to browse through content according to their emotional state.

With Feelbacks, readers can share their feelings about the content they just read by choosing how they felt about it on the Feelbacks interface.

Vicomi's mobile app

Once they have expressed how they felt by clicking a button that expresses their emotion, they’re offered content that matches their mood (e.g. Happy, Angry, etc.)

As a result, users have a more personal experience and consume more content and ads, depending, of course, on their mood (more about that later).

And since Vicomi knows already how readers feel because they explicitly expressed it, they can throw in ads that target readers according to their mood (i.e., emotionally targeted ads).

Eli Ken-Dror, Vicomi’s CEO, says  “The more life becomes digital, the more people appreciate brands and experiences that understand, listen and interact with them.

According to a survey we conducted with many of our content partners, we found that the way readers feel has an effect on how they consume content. For instance, in news websites, if someone is angry, he’s going to consume more content, looking for other articles that will fuel his current mood.”

For over a year now, Vicomi has run on more than 11,000 sites. During this period, the company gathered a remarkable collection of data tidbits regarding users’ emotion-based activity. Some of the things they found are already backed by research and should interest everyone who’s into content marketing. For instance:

1) Did you know that readers that feel angry are looking to get even angrier?

It’s well known that anger is the most viral emotion on the Internet. When people feel angry, they are actively looking to do something about their anger. While we’re reading, frustration grows because we can’t do something about our anger, so we find other ways to vent and express our feelings.

And here I thought that leaving an angry comment was enough to vent anger. According to this new data, consuming angry content makes you consume even more angry content, which makes the Internet an angrier place.


2)When people feel angry, they click on ads that provide immediate gratification.

Why? Because when we’re angry, we tend to have less self-control. Anger makes us more impulsive, and as I said earlier, we’re looking to channel actively that anger.

People who are not angry have more patience and are more open to explorations.

But what about what makes people happy? And what happens when they’re happy?

3)If happy, a reader will most likely choose content that is not another happy story.

Why do we do that? Are we looking to be less happy while we’re reading happily?

New research might help to explain why we counter positive emotions with what might seem sometimes negative ones. As you might know, our emotions and reactions don’t always line up. That’s why we cry tears of joy or nervously laugh while experiencing a negative experience.

We have an inherent need to keep an emotional equilibrium and composure (i.e., there is such a thing as too much of a good thing).

This means that readers will choose a story that doesn’t make them happy when they are angry as well as when they are happy.

4) People feel happier when reading articles on their smartphone rather than a desktop.

“We found that the size of the screen has an influence on readers’ happiness levels. We found that people are happier when they consume content on their mobile devices compared to desktops and laptops,” says Ken-Dror.

Why this happens is anyone’s guess, one can assume that people browse the web on mobile more while not at work. Whatever the reason, if you have a ‘happy content site’, you better optimize it for mobile viewers.

5) Readers click on ads more when they are happy.

Let’s face it; most ads already sell us the illusion of happiness. That’s why feeling happy increases likelihood to click.  Also, there’s research that claims that ads that correlate with our emotions have a powerful effect on us. They are more efficient because emotions make the memory last; and who don’t want to be remembered when advertising?

Vicomi also packs powerful analytical tools – graphs and insights that hand publishers their audience’s emotions on a platter.

Vicomi's analytics

Targeting emotions is going to change the way we curate and present our content. According to Ken-Dror, this is a turning point for Ad Tech. Emotional targeting will disrupt the industry:

“Our platform analyzes based on emotions, an entirely new layer that, coupled with today’s metrics, will further the effectiveness of personalized content.”

If you own a site, take a look at Vicomi.

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I'm the CEO and Co-founder of Press on It, a familial digital marketing agency that specializes in Growth hacking businesses, products and humans. I'm a productivity buff, interested in habit creation, human psychology and life hacks. You can read more about our amazing story or check out our digital marketing services, thanks!

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