With the news this month that Google has patented ‘pay per gaze’ technology, whereby advertisers could be charged based on views of their adverts gleaned from wearable devices such as the much-vaunted Google Glasses, we’re offered a fascinating insight into how advertising will evolve.
With the advent of Web 3.0, also known as the internet of things (and probably a whole host of other marketing terms by the time it reaches mass market status!), bright minds in digital are already focused on the monetisation of this new era. Machine to machine communications and wearable technology are the next golden age of the web, and as such, brands will want to get involved. Considering that the relatively free nature of the web and all the services and content we get to enjoy are shored up by advertising, it would be remiss to ignore this necessary flipside to internet innovation.
Eye tracking technology has been available for some time now, and it is something that all marketers have benefited from as they can commit creative that draws the eye to places where the eye is already drawn. This development is set to take it to the next level though and enable advertising to be priced and paid for at the point at which the advert is actually looked at. In a world which is struggling with the challenge of viewable impressions, on the face of it this looks like a very good solution.
So what might come after this? It all depends on both technology and technology adoption trends of course, but it’s not such a stretch to think that perhaps in years to come, you’ll be able to add emotional response levels based on sensors or implants in the brain itself. Imagine that – not only can you be sure that your advert has achieved a viewable impression, but also that it has been looked at – AND whether that gaze elicited a positive or indeed negative emotional response to your message. While this may feel rather sci-fi, it’s closer than you might think. Wired ran an article about the work done by a Netherlands University to use brain scans to measure perception, at this stage focused on understanding what letters and words a person perceives and computes. This brain/technology interplay is only going to get more sophisticated as time progresses.
Google Glasses and their future ilk could also enable laser-focused ad targeting as well as better impact measurement. These individual screens are only viewed by a single person at a time, so it’s not too ‘out there’ to imagine they could be deployed for true one-to-one advertising too. We’re already seeing charity poster campaigns that present different messages to children and adults, technology that unlocks smartphones based on a detailed scan of the eye and patents that will enable ambient action-based ad serving based on factors such as audio, temperature, conversation and mood. Once these innovations evolve and become ubiquitous in the wider physical world, the form, function and relevance of advertising will be beyond what most of us can imagine today. Pay per gaze could well be joined by useful metrics such as pay per touch, pay per smile, pay per cheer and pay per spoken catchphrase or key message to name but a few.
In many ways, lead generation already fits this new pricing opportunity perfectly. With all our products, from white label competitions to display to multi-channel lead generation, integrating custom questions is already in play. These make it possible for any type of data to be collected as part of the lead generation process. Want to test brand recall, emotional traction or purchase frequency at the same time as building out a prospect database? No problem – just include an extra field to ask for the answers.
Admittedly, leads cost more than impressions, clicks and indeed gazes too, especially when you are costing and measuring a campaign based on the provision of more unusual data. But considering the richness, engagement and response data included, along with the lack of financial risk and the relative speed at which these consumers move through the purchase funnel, lead generation is an absolute bargain for marketers – and will remain so as advertising continues to evolve.