Facial Recognition – Shaping the Future of Marketing

In Columns, Technology

Deep down, everyone is supposed to be a little narcissistic. Humans are supposed to be attracted to their own faces and faces that look like our own. Then it might not be too surprising to learn that facial recognition is supposed to be the next big thing in the marketing industry. The facial recognition market is expected to double by 2024, this can be seen as an opportunity for the marketing industry to jump into it as soon as they can.

How does facial recognition work?

Facial recognition basically works by identifying certain facial landmarks, if we may call them that. Things like the distance between the eyes, and the distance between the chin and the forehead are used by the facial recognition software to develop a unique facial print or signature. This is then compared with the facial prints in the database of facial signatures or prints. The face needs to be scanned when the person is looking in the general direction of the camera, this is one of the only drawbacks of the current facial recognition systems.

Where does marketing fit into all of this?

Ads need to evolve with the changing times. An ad that would use facial recognition would be more engaging for the viewer, this would mean that the possible customers would actually like the ads rather than closing an ad as soon as it pops up. The problem with this is that such an ad would need a lot of permissions, either the camera of the device needs to be accessed or the database of facial signatures would have to be accessed by the ads.

Here, a problem arises. Giving advertisers these permissions would mean that they’ll have a unique form of our data: our facial signature. For reasons that are similar to why people opposed Aadhar, if our facial signatures are in the wrong hands, they can be used for a lot of things. Ironically though, we give up our image rights when we post images on certain social media platforms, so that data has already been out in the open for a while.

The best thing that comes from facial recognition is that marketers can actually detect the mood of the person. If an ad has something that people don’t like about it, it’ll be easier to understand and it’ll involve a larger group of people compared to a test group. Product recommendations can also change because of a person’s mood. Mood detection has specifically been used for the testing of certain websites in the past to see which section of the website got the best reactions.

Snapchat has been at the pinnacle of this revolution of using facial recognition in marketing with its filters and lenses, and brands are moving towards Snapchat to create branded lenses and filters which advertise their products in a way.

Obviously, it’s hard to see any growth without the assurance from the brands that our facial signatures will not be misused. Safety always comes first anyway.

(The article is authored by Nishant Nijhawan, Intern, Techxty.com. Nishant is a student of computer engineering at Delhi Technical University who believes in optimal usage of technology.)

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