Emotion Analytics Facial Coding Market Research

Eyes as Windows to the Soul: How to Gather Emotional Ad Responses with Eye Tracking


With so many screen distractions today, audience attention is dispersed across many competing elements of the page. In this challenging environment brands, media companies, agencies and publishers need to develop impactful digital content, and then serve and place this content in a way that it captures the viewer's’ attention and emotionally engages them.

Using Affectiva’s emotion recognition software, market researchers are now able to demonstrate what captures viewer attention and engages the viewer emotionally by measuring unfiltered and unbiased consumer emotional responses to their digital content.

Affdex facial coding and emotion analytics combined with eye tracking offers a unique solution. Facial coding shows moment by moment how your viewers are engaging with your digital content. Eye tracking measures where viewers are directing their attention and for how long.

Affectiva works with leading eye tracking vendor, eye square, to offer a comprehensive end-to-end solution that enables brands, agencies and publishers to measure attention and emotion engagement to boost ad effectiveness and placement – quickly and cost effectively. We spoke with our partners at eye square to discuss more about the work that they do, how it works, and where they see the future of market research heading.

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What’s the pitch for eye square?

The software measures the respondent's visual engagement with stimuli through eye tracking and Affectiva’s emotion recognition and produces easy to use performance reports.

What does eye square do and how does it work?

eye square has been focusing on implicit research for nearly 20 years. With a strong focus on psychological methods, eye square tries to avoid the pitfalls of just asking people for their explicit opinions by actually measuring their real behavior wherever possible.

Where did you get the idea for eye square?

Our CEO, Michael Schiessl studied at Yale, where he was exposed to the new approach of the Implicit Association Test, which opened his eyes to the need for new methods in order to really understand consumers’ reactions to products.

What was your process in building it?

Michael, along with his business partner, purchased one of the early eye trackers to help the young company get inside the user's mind and understand which parts of a website or pack design were being overlooked. Ever since those early days at the turn of the millennium, eye square has been using eye trackers and other new techniques to get a deeper understanding of the implicit, as well as asking people about their explicit opinions.

As market research has moved online and consumer hardware has improved, eye square’s eye tracking software has followed suit. For the last few years, we have been using survey participants’ own webcams to track attention as they view the stimulus at home on their computer screens.

What role does emotion and emotion technology play in the concept of eye square?

The implicit aspect of human information processing has always been central to our research. System 1 processing, emotions & gut feelings play a primal part of almost every decision humans make. Although eye square always tries to measure viewers’ attention with eye tracking, if we as researchers fail to understand how a viewer emotionally reacts to a stimulus, we can't get the full picture of why they behaved as they did and said what they said when we asked them for their opinions.

How did you arrive at Affectiva's technology to help achieve your vision?

In offline research, eye square measures emotion with GSR and EEG, but has been searching for the perfect solution to measure emotion online--in Affectiva’s technology we have found it. Combined with our webcam eye tracking, we can now understand what participants look at and how they emotionally react to what we show them.

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How do you use Affectiva?

As part of a survey, participants are invited to turn their webcam on and record their gaze and facial emotions as they view the stimulus on screen. The combined outputs help our clients make informed decisions about what was seen and how viewers responded.

What are your metrics for success, or company goals? Can you share how you believe emotion tech contributes to those goals?

Emotions, attention and behavior in combination build a powerful prediction model for us and our clients. Obviously, attention is the gatekeeper for the information processing funnel, but just understanding attention is insufficient; we must go deeper and understand the emotional precursor to explicit, cognitive reactions. This is where Facial Emotion analysis is invaluable.

Our clients have been able to determine which parts of their online platforms receive the most attention, how far down their newsfeed attention spreads, how it differs as users read more and see different types of content and where the spikes in emotional reaction are best placed within the user's newsfeed. Our clients now have the opportunity to explain to their own clients how best to use emotional content within given platforms.

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Which features of your product are you most excited about? What's the next step for eye square?

The fact that we can run implicit studies online, anywhere in the world within a matter of hours is fascinating.

As so many people are starting to own wearable, intelligent technology, our vision is to tap into this pre-existing resource and track participants’ emotional reactions as they go about their daily lives using their own hardware.

What do you see as the future of market research?

A general shift towards measuring behavior and not opinions (although these still matter) and further down the line, market research participants wearing eye tracking glasses and emotion sensing hardware to help them with their own lives who are open to sharing this information with market researchers to help them improve products, ads and services for others.

About eye square

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 12.47.03 PM.pngeye square is an international market research institute with a focus on psychological methods. For over 15 years, they have been one of the leading innovators in implicit research. Their clients include leading international companies in the field of consumer electronics, e-commerce, finance, automotive, pharma, and media. They help companies develop innovative products and to adapt their communication strategy to today’s technological and medial change. To learn more, visit

It’s very easy to get started with eye square - let them know what you would like to test by contacting and they will get everything setup for you. 



Emotion Analytics Facial Coding Market Research