Facial_RecognitionOne of the new hot features of the iPhone is Face ID technology. Using a range of sensitive cameras and sensors, it can detect unique facial structures of the person using the device. This is currently used similarly to how the thumbprint recognition system in previous iPhone generations worked.

This tech allows for some other interesting functions as well, such as animojis, allowing traditional emojis to reflect your actual facial expressions. In the future, this could go even further and be harnessed for more augmented reality-style apps and features. Marketers are full of excitement over the many ways this could be harnessed.

Facial Recognition Marketing in the Past

Brands using facial recognition as a marketing tool isn’t a new concept. It has been attempted by certain brands before in limited capacities. One of the brands to try to make use of it was Virgin Mobile in 2013. They introduced a short interactive ad, which advanced the story with blinks from the user acting as clicks, and certain eye movements changing the story.

These past attempts at using facial recognition compared to what the tech can do now can’t be classed in the same league as each other. Technology in this area has grown massively in sophistication, meaning it’s able to pick up much finer details. The tech is now also available to anyone around the world.

Taking Advantage of Facial Recognition

Many doors will be opened with this tech for marketers in the future, below are some of the reasons why:

  • User data and personalised ads – One of the most important applications of this technology is related to the gathering, analysing and utilising of user data. It allows for facial expressions to be detected, which can be incredibly useful for marketers, as they can use this information to detect what mood the user is in, or gauge their interest in a specific area of an app. For example, if a user has seen an advertisement they’re interested in, their facial expression will more than likely show this. Marketers can then use this data, both in the long and short term to go on to personalise more ads to the user that perfectly fits their interests, emotions and preferences. Over time with this technology they will be able to build up many likes and dislikes of the user, resulting in better ads and happier, more engaged customers.
  • Ad viewership – For every view an online video advertisement gets online, advertisers get charged a fixed fee. This however, doesn’t necessarily give a reliable measurement of how many views an ad has had, as the best technology available currently only detects whether the ad is downloaded and playing in a user’s browser. This means the ad could be playing without the user watching it. With facial recognition this could all change as advertisers could see who’s viewing their ad and use techniques to force them to pay attention to the ad playing. Despite this perhaps being annoying to consumers, it would drive up the engagement rates considerably.
  • Accumulated data – The data collected from this technology could be used to analyse broad market trends. For example, the tech could be set up in physical stores to track what customers are viewing. With this information the retailer could stock similar items to those that were the most popular, rearrange the store or make other tweaks to boost customer satisfaction and sales.


Privacy Concerns

This technology is not perfect and talks of user privacy have already been brought up surrounding it. Hackers with a $150 budget were able to use a 3D printed mask to trick the iPhone into unlocking. This could be dangerous, as, if facial data is stored on Apple’s servers and this is available to third-party apps that access open AI or can be retrieved by other people, anyone’s data could be put at risk.

If facial recognition does become as big as predicted this also begs the question of how you stop it from monitoring your face when you aren’t aware that it is? And how will you have a say in how this data is used? It presents a lot of unanswered questions about the security and privacy of this tech.

Despite these concerns facial recognition remains a powerful new tool for marketers and is something that should definitely be on their radars.

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