Writ Large on Your Face: Observing Emotions Using Automatic Facial Analysis

Suggested Citation

Dieckmann, A., & Unfried, M. (2014). Writ Large on Your Face: Observing Emotions Using Automatic Facial Analysis. NIM Marketing Intelligence Review, 6(1), 52-58.



Prof. Dr. Anja Dieckmann,
Dr. Matthias Unfried
Publication title
Write Large on Your Face: Observing Emotions Using Automatic Facial Analysis
NIM Marketing Intelligence Review

Write Large on Your Face: Observing Emotions Using Automatic Facial Analysis


Measurement of Emotions, Automatic Facial Analysis, EMO Scan



Emotions affect all of our daily decisions and, of course, they also influence our evaluations of brands, products and advertisements. But what exactly do consumers feel when they watch a TV commercial, visit a website or when they interact with a brand in different ways? Measuring such emotions is not an easy task. In the past, the effectiveness of marketing material was evaluated mostly by subsequent surveys. Now, with the emergence of neuroscientific approaches like EEG, the measurement of real-time reactions is possible, for instance, when watching a commercial. However, most neuroscientific procedures are fairly invasive and irritating. For an EEG, for instance, numerous electrodes need to be placed on the participant’s scalp. Furthermore, data analysis is highly complex. Scientific expertise is necessary for interpretation, so the procedure remains a black box to most practitioners and the results are still rather controversial. By contrast, automatic facial analysis provides similar information without having to wire study participants. In addition, the results of such analyses are intuitive and easy to interpret even for laypeople.

These convincing advantages led GfK Company to decide on facial analysis and to develop a tool suitable for measuring emotional responses to marketing stimuli, making it easily applicable in marketing research practice.


Share Publication

Other articles of the MIR issue “Emotions in Marketing”

Here you can find more exciting articles of this issue.

To the entire issue

No Motion without Emotion: Getting Started with Hard Facts on a Soft Topic

The power of emotions is evident in almost all areas of marketing and consumer behavior. Consumers often strive for “affect optimization...

Read more

Stressed Out: How Stress Develops and How to Cope with It

Our experience of stress depends on how we evaluate the circumstances impacting our individual well-being. In principle, any event can be...

Read more

Feels Right … Go Ahead? When to Trust Your Feelings in Judgments and Decisions

Not only are subjective feelings an integral part of many judgments and decisions, they can even lead to improved decisions and better pr...

Read more

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The Ups and Downs of Divorcing Brands

Relationships with brands are like relationships between people. Even when they were very close, they can fail for diverse reasons. The d...

Read more

There’s No Passion; I Need Passion: Why Some Brands Excite Consumers So Much

Not all brands have the potential to develop into meaningful objects for consumers. They need to serve certain psychological and symbolic...

Read more

Do Pleasant Emotional Ads Make Consumers Like Your Brand More?

Emotionally pleasant TV commercials are often preferred over merely factual ones. A large-scale study of Belgian TV ads confirms this not...

Read more

Interview: Success with pleasure

Read more
Scroll to top