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  • Writer's pictureMary Lim

Ethical Facial Analysis for Privacy-Conscious Brands

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Supercharge your market research, shopper experience, and sales

Ethical facial analytics for privacy conscious and innovative brands
Learn how to collect consumer insights without collecting personal data

According to the Pew Research Center¹, 70% of Americans believe their personal data is less secure now than it was five years ago.

While we cannot rewrite the events of the past, we can work together towards a future where personal data does not have to be compromised — or even collected.

Modern consumers are much more cognizant of the brands they choose to purchase from. Meanwhile, brands need data to increase sales, create better products, and drive decision-making.

brands use data to make better decisions, create more innovative products, increase sales, and optimize the consumer experience
Data-driven decision making is key for growth

Here’s where we introduce the power of ethical facial analysis.


What is ethical facial analysis?

92% of consumers say companies must be proactive about data protection. (PwC)³

Facial technology itself is not new, but the wizards at Zenus (that’s us!) have discovered a way to address major engineering and privacy challenges while offering brands comprehensive analytics. Let’s break it down!

Ethical: Refers to how and where consumer data is collected and processed. To protect people’s privacy, our devices only collect aggregate (group level) insights. For example, 100 happy faces were detected at 5pm. The data is aggregated at the source and cannot be reversed to find an individual. Personally identifiable information (PII) is never streamed or stored.

Facial analysis: Refers to the actual processing of said data. Whereas facial recognition identifies who an individual person is, facial analysis simply detects faces in an area. Our robust algorithms detect hundreds of faces per second, with over 95% accuracy. Brands receive insights such as foot traffic, positive sentiment, demographics (age/sex), and much more. A well-trained system can even detect faces in dim lighting and with masks.


How brands benefit

Now that we’ve covered what ethical facial analysis is, let’s discuss how brands can benefit. There are vast applications for this powerful technology. Below we focus on three of the most popular use cases:

  1. Focus groups

  2. Personalized displays

  3. In-store campaign funnels (data analytics)


Focus groups

Live sentiment analysis is used to measure real-time facial reactions of focus group participants to automate the data collection process and obtain consumer insights at scale
Granular facial reads of focus group participants

Brands use focus groups to gather valuable consumer opinions. This research method requires manual and time-consuming analysis of the participants. Our technology automates and enhances the data collection process by capturing facial micro-expressions over time. Whether for conversations or product tastings, you obtain the true reaction for each participant down to the millisecond. If a smile can be as short as 200 milliseconds, even a trained human eye would have trouble detecting micro expressions.

R&D teams save 75% more time reviewing the actual data rather than transcribing focus group facial reactions
Spend 75% less time transcribing and more time reviewing the data

How it works:

Mount a Zenus smart camera facing the focus group participants. Host your session as you normally would. View the participants’ real-time sentiment update on our dashboard or extract the raw second-by-second data to get more granular reads. On average, R&D teams spend 75% less time transcribing and more time reviewing the actual data.

Note: Each participant’s individual sentiment score is calculated and normalized. This allows you to do a fair and direct comparison between each participant’s reactions.


Personalized POP displays

Brands are presented with an opportunity to improve their visual merchandising strategy and the in-store experience as more people return to physical retail.

“More than one-third of respondents said that seeing the ads on the kiosks influenced shopping behavior.” ⁴

Point-of-purchase (POP) displays are used to attract shopper attention and increase brand awareness. Using Zenus technology, brands and store owners can serve personalized ads based on shopper demographics (age/sex). This allows you to turn an already effective POP display into an unparalleled advertising machine.

Use Zenus analytics cameras to create personalized, tailored, interactive ads for customers that change based on demographic data
Create tailored, interactive displays that catch people’s attention

How it works:

Combine our video analytics technology with a POP display, endcap, or even a window display to create an interactive experience. While on standby, the screen displays a neutral ad. If a male/female person walks by, it instantly switches to a more tailored ad. Incorporate dynamic lighting elements or even an AI chatbot to further WOW shoppers. The best part? Absolutely no personal data is ever collected.


In-store campaign funnels

Impressions, engagements, and conversions are key metrics in the online advertising world. What if you had access to this information offline, in the physical world?

Watch as Panos (CEO of Zenus) walks us through the funnel dashboard view

Brands currently receive only a snapshot of the in-store customer experience: sales data. The Zenus analytics fill in the missing gaps by offering behavioral insights such as real-time foot traffic, qualified leads, engagement reports, demographics (age/sex), and more. This offers brands a more holistic view of their performance that goes beyond sales data. The facial analytics also tie into conversion data (e.g., POS integration), equipping brands with a complete marketing funnel for in-store and in-person experiences.

How it works:

Install a smart camera at key points of interest. As shoppers travel through the store, our devices process and extract aggregate-level statistics about their shopper behavior. Access 12+ metrics anywhere and anytime through a web-based dashboard. Whether it’s a short-term brand activation or a permanent fleet of stores, companies receive a full suite of insights to make better data-driven decisions.


To summarize

Companies don’t have to sacrifice the privacy of their customers to achieve important business goals. In fact, even personalized in-store experiences can be created without collecting any PII.

The future of retail lies within artificial intelligence, namely ethical facial analysis. Ensure your brand is future-proof by taking advantage of our AI-powered solutions for focus groups, personalized displays, and in-store analytics.

Click here to learn more about ethical facial analysis.

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