Be on: human behavior – measuring emotions to improve effectiveness of online video ads

Cannes Lions has been Inspiring Creativity for 60 years. It is the world’s greatest celebration of creative communications in all its forms. Over seven days in June each year the whole creative industry comes together to learn from the best and celebrate the work changing the communications landscape.

The learning programme in 2013 features 120 sessions from more than 300 world-class thinkers to inspire and educate the 12,000 delegates that are attending. And this year we are bringing some of our great session to YouTube.

Check the schedule and the events to your calendar on


Video advertising avoidance and visual disengagement with TV ads has become one of the most serious problems that the modern advertising industry faces.  

This, coupled with the exponential growth in video consumption online, is the main reason that advertisers are increasingly migrating TV money online. However, as performance of traditional online advertising has declined, and in a world where users are increasingly consuming content based on social recommendations and peer-to-peer networks; leading brands have increasingly adopted pull driven mechanics for delivering effective brand and product messaging

Brands are now developing “snackable” video content (usually called viral ads, branded content or branded entertainment) for online consumption. The basic idea driving this development is that while users may actively seek to avoid classic ad formats, they are showing an increasing and simultaneous willingness to connect with some brands voluntarily.

As for the recipe for success in video advertising – the multi-billion dollar question quickly arises – what are the rules of creation in this new pull driven content landscape? What works – and why?

Ekman and Friesen (1978) proposed the Facial Actions Coding System (FACS) to identify basic emotions from facial expressions. FACS has proven very useful in marketing contexts to expose users direct emotional response – but for many years it has relied on manual interpretation, which has made it error prone, slow and expensive. However with the growth of technology, we can now apply FACS testing to thousands of people across the world in 48 hours, using opt-in user panels and normal webcams.

Using this new technology platform Be On and RealEyes have tested over 300 different ads, from standard 30 second TV ads to the most successful viral ads, across a total audience of over 100,000 people from 25 countries. So come and join Be On for a world first view into what emotions have taught them about how users respond to various forms of video ads and content, at scale, and across the world.

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