Youfirst’s AI-powered emotion engine launches to help YouTube stars find their power moments

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EXCLUSIVE:

YouTube creators, stars, and influencers have a new tool to add to their arsenal today that will help them hone their videos and target audiences with the right snippets of their output.

YouFirst has launched today to provide an AI-powered answer to an age-old question — which parts of a video create an emotion, and which of the gamut of human responses did it elicit?

Here’s how it works.

A YouTuber sets up their video with a unique YouFirst link. This allows the YouFirst system to deliver the video to a segment of that influencer’s audience as a “sneak preview” or “first look” at the content. Then, before showing the video to the viewer, YouFirst asks for permission to watch the observer’s face and measure their reactions to the video. That might sound a little on the creepy side, but YouFirst is cognizant of the viewer’s privacy.

“We don’t keep the video,” Lujza Bubanova, cofounder and chief security officer at YouFirst, told me. “The video is used to determine emotion tracking data. When the system launches, it checks the lighting and makes sure that we can see the viewer’s face. We then show you that viewer the video. We track their emotional response, delete the video, and use the data for analysis.”

This clever use of AI and facial recognition helps YouTubers determine which parts of their video work, and which don’t. And by “work,” we mean “elicit an emotional response,” something that all marketers are trying to do every day.

“Emotions are crucial for attention and decision making,” Bubanova said. “In fact, even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion.”

It is an area that, thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence, is gaining more traction than ever before.

“The field of emotion analytics is gaining recognition as a much more precise way to measure unbiased reactions of people,” Bubanova said. “The emotionally adjusted content, when compared to neutral output, shows a 3X higher completion rate, 20X higher social action activation, and is 100X quicker at attracting views.”

YouFirst’s AI tracks six basic emotions plus a neutral state for each frame of the video, and measures emotion using two methodologies to allow for different conditions at the viewer’s end.

“The core of YouFirst is a powerful emotion AI that extracts unbiased emotional reaction from facial expressions using two computer vision approaches have been developed to ensure reliable emotion recognition — one uses geometric information, the other appearance data. Both approaches work better in different conditions: If light conditions are weak, then the approach less sensitive to poor lighting is prioritized,” Bubanova explained.

It is a potent proposition and one that utilizes the latest in cognitive computing.

“YouFirst leverages techniques from multiple areas, such as signal processing, machine learning, and computer vision to predict the content engagement ratio as well identify the best and worst moments,” Bubanova said.

In other words, once viewer data has been collected, creators can see the strong moments and weak moments in their videos. Or as YouFirst likes to put it, the “power moments” and the “dull moments.”

While that data is important, it is how YouFirst combines the emotional response data with demographic information that makes it stand out. Not only can it tell you the moments that resonate best, but it can also tell you which groups of people enjoyed which pieces of content. That’s important because it means that creators can use the power moments to not only create trailers for the full video, but they can produce different trailers for different audiences based on the moments that resonated best with a particular segment.

At a time when influencer marketing is making the headlines every week as an answer to traditional advertising and a solution to ad blockers, helping YouTubers create engaging content on the ever more competitive YouTube platform is important.

“One of the most promising segments in marketing is short form online video created by influencers,” Bubanova said. “Well-known influencers, who are recruited for promotional campaigns by brands, can get around ad blockers and banner-blindness and communicate branded messages to a huge audience. Though still being a relatively marginal marketing practice, influencer marketing is a highly effective way for brands to communicate. There is a $6-10 in earned media value (ROI) for every $1 of paid media, 59 percent of marketers increase influencer marketing budgets in 2016, and 53 percent higher purchase intent for native ads.”

YouFirst hopes to enhance those opportunities through emotion analytics, helping creators reach the right audience.

“A video itself does not always reach the intended target group, mostly because the video is not engaging enough or a wrong media channel is chosen,” Bubanova said. “Entertainment has always relied on quality content produced with processes that included, and will continue to include, pre-testing. With such a vast amount of online content, brands will look for ways to make their videos pop. Therefore, the opportunity lies in creating a system that employs the best practices of online marketing automatically.”

YouFirst is available from today.

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