As a result of the world’s first ever in-home biometric study of a live event conducted by Populus on behalf of Formula 1 (F1), F1 gained the following:
Our bodies are the gateways to our inner most thoughts and feelings. Biometric technology in market research promises to deliver a scalable and practical way of tracking real-time engagement with content. F1 and Populus collaborated in order to carry out the first ever in-home biometric survey. The survey is an industry-leading example of the use of biometrics in market research.
The mission? To understand on a second-by-second basis how viewers of F1 Grand Prix reacted to content using biometric sensors which measure Galvanic Skins Responses (GSR) and GSR traces, to compare implicit responses with reported responses, and ultimately to find the core ingredients of what makes an engaging race for Formula 1 fans.
People can’t articulate how they feel easily and therefore asking them will often result in rational responses. The best way to understand people’s emotional response to something is to capture it passively, unobtrusively and in-the-moment, which removes the risk of bias or reliance on post-rationalism. Populus’s biometric approach does just this by capturing and tracking the implicit emotional journeys that everyone goes on when they consume media, in real-time.
We tracked Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) to measure how the autonomic nervous system responds to timely stimuli– the larger emotional load of the content the higher perspiration activity is. Our GSR signals are taken from the palm of the hand which happens to be one of the best regions on the human body for these physiological signals.
By using a natural feedback mechanism, we were able to capture a clear indication on natural behaviour (because the biometric tracker sits in the palm of the hand and does not interfere with normal activity). The fact that there are no wires and respondents can sit in their own home, in their natural environment, simply watching the TV as they would normally means we can be sure reactions are true to life.
It was respondent friendly and appropriate for market research, with 97% of respondents said they would be interested in doing another biometrics study, whilst the device itself is small, easy to use and comparatively cheaper than other biometric equipment. The technique is fully scalable and practical. There is a pool of respondents recruited and ready to use the equipment, offering a cost-effective and fast way to track engagement with content over time.
This large data sets could then be analysed to reveal patterns, trends and associations relating to human behaviour allowing clients to uncover areas of optimisation at a micro level– so in F1’s case as well as looking at peaks and dips in engagement across the race they could also explore what unique camera angles are most engaging, what type of commentary has a positive impact, how & when team radio can be best utilised and the decay effect of using replays.
These learnings can be used to ensure future broadcasting formats are tailored to truly deliver on what grab and hold the attention of viewer over the course of the race.
The application of this methodology will have an impact on any industries that rely on long-form or live content consumption. By delivering large data sets which can be analysed to reveal patterns and trends in human behaviour at the micro-level, the use of biometrics in market research paves the way for greater understanding of content engagement, over a range of periods of time.
As media consumption increases, the brands that survive will be the ones that are able to forge stronger emotional connections so the use of biometrics has been a valuable tool in being better equipped to optimise content towards viewers. The application of the methodology heralds a significant moment for market research, showing the ever increasingly importance of live, long-form content and the ability to measure engagement with it on both a second-by-second basis, and quantitative scale.