Emotional Research Is Here

Emotional intelligence, not to be confused with IQ or being emotional, is the capability of individuals to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Interestingly enough, emotions are a huge driver for consumer decision-making. Successful brands are conducting Emotional Market Research to identify emotional values in order to position themselves against competitors and increase authenticity in their storytelling.

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The future of business will be based on having a strong emotional connection with the consumer. Brands that adapt their research agendas to gain a better understanding of the role that emotions play have a powerful advantage.

Examples of Emotional Market Research


Three years ago, there were a handful of Research Firms that specialized or even scratched the surface of emotional research. Companies like Affectiva and RealEyes were the two dominant players in the space. Today, Emotional Research is one of the top 5 emerging research methods, according to the latest Greenbook Industry Report. These tests are fairly easy to implement by using webcams. Typically remote panels of users view ads or products in their homes or offices, then the camera detects facial expressions and then provide what is called “emotional analytics.” In essence, the technology unearths the authentic feelings of individuals in real-time and intensity-level.

Eye-tracking technology: Ranked ninth on the list of emerging methods and becoming widely adopted by many research firms, this technology records conversation alongside an automated system analyzing eye movement. From a selling standpoint, eye-tracking software deciphers a potential customer’s preferences in regard to web page layout, brand placement, or even the product itself. Some studies have eye-tracking technology correctly identifying the honesty levels of subjects at an 83% accuracy level.

In a way, eye-tracking technology is a form of an online survey, albeit in a different language, it’s able to measure the intimate tastes of respondents.  In fact, online surveys and eye-tracking technology could be a marriage made in marketing heaven, as their union truly focuses on a key issue in any manner of research sampling: honesty.

Neuromarketing: Many assume that Big Data is just a big pile of data collected for quantitative research. Scientific research disagrees with this assumption, at least the one conducted by the Applied Neuromarketing Consortium at Northwestern University. One of its chief researchers, Dr. Martin Block, explains how neuromarketing works:

Using big data, transaction data, and social data—along with conscious and unconscious-mind shopping behavior data—to present a new single view of how marketers may be able to influence behaviors.

Ultimately, the goal is to develop novel marketing models to integrate the best from big data analytics as well as influence, based on how brain stimuli relate to perception, memory, and decision-making. Big data may provide information on “what” people did, but Neuromarketing explains the “why” they did it according to swaying stimuli.

There are other, smaller examples, such as utilizing GPS technology to record the actual movement of shoppers instead of relying on their memories later on in a study.

QuestionPro has added a number of innovative tools to the mix as well, including “Live Discussions”, which harnesses feedback, using a custom, real-time, qualitative platform to probe deeper into a respondent’s mind. Conversational Form, which is currently in beta, combines Artificial Intelligence and innovative techniques to humanize the survey experience in a chat-like conversation, which in turn, captures better user responses.

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While there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to emotional research, the technologies are still developing and methodologies are being perfected. However, the subconscious resistance to emotional research remains. Not embracing this form of research, however, could negatively affect customer experience, resulting in a huge impact on overall business revenue.