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Fall 2015

EFTI Research Ties Human Emotion and Ad Design

EFTI eye-tracking

A research participant wearing the eye-tracking technology

With the technology available today, researchers are able to track an individual’s emotions through wearable sensor technology. This new sensor technology has mostly been targeted towards people with an active lifestyle, but EFTI has taken this technology and is using it in a less-traditional way. UF’s Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute (EFTI), in partnership with Madden Media Inc., has launched a new interdisciplinary project to measure impacts of online destination advertisements by tracking actual emotional and cognitive responses. This project is a part of larger study – “Mapping iMotion” which aims to integrate emotions with experience design using state-of-art technology such as an eye-tracker and  arousal sensors.

Marketing companies, like Madden Media Inc., spend millions of dollars on online advertising to encourage people to visit certain places based on emotional ties to the destination. Knowing the emotional disposition of a potential tourist is essential to their business and successfully marketing destinations throughout the United States.  One of the goals of tourism advertising is to build emotional connection with people, places, and experiences which makes the ability to place facts in context and deliver them with emotional impacts becomes more important. EFTI is trying to examine how key elements of interactive storytelling in online tourism advertising affect viewer’s attention, emotional engagement, and memory towards advertisings and destination, and whether they encourage or discourage specific action.

Research participant participating in the online study

The research participant is wearing the sensor technology and reviewing the various online advertisements

A total of 196 online destination advertisements from 48 destinations in the U.S. were examined and grouped into 4 different segments based on story characteristics and points of view. After a series of web and lab-based experiments, the final 38 advertisements have been profiled using eye-movement, emotion tracking, and a self-report questionnaire.

Apart from providing proper design of online advertising components, it is expected that each storytelling technique deliver a unique value to the experience of online advertising, thereby delivering great value for both viewer and advertiser. By leveraging various combinations of interactive storytelling, advertisers can maximize the impact of online advertising and create successful cross media marketing campaigns. EFTI will continue to incorporate with new attention and emotion measuring technology in order to provide point-to point and actionable insights for enhancing experiences at tourism destinations.

The future of advertising is in our hands as consumers. With the spread of this technology and research, advertisements will more accurately appeal to our individual needs and emotions.