BBC Advertising to share emotional engagement metrics for campaigns with clients

A study published today by BBC StoryWorks and  facial coding outfit CrowdEmotion titled, ‘The Science of Engagement’ reveals that well executed and clearly labelled content-led marketing is considered trusted and persuasive in quality environments, and has a powerful emotional impact for the brands involved.

According to the study, exposure to content-led marketing can significantly improve consumers’ positivity towards the advertising brands (with a +77% increase in explicit positivity between pre and post exposure). In addition, the study measured* the second-by-second facial movements of people as they experienced the content to measure true engagement and the respondents’ implicit reaction.  The results showed that exposure can also lead to a 14% increase in subconscious positivity.

Richard Pattinson, SVP Content, BBC Advertising and head of BBC StoryWorks, said: “In a time when advertisers are increasing their spending on content-led marketing, it is important that they also feel confident in its effectiveness, and understand the significant positive impact this kind of content has on their brand.”

BBC to offer emotional engagement metrics to clients


To study the emotional impact of brand campaigns on BBC.com, the study the content marketing arm of BBC Advertising, is attempting to understand the emotional impact of content-led marketing by measuring consumers’ subconscious reaction to campaigns on BBC.com using traditional research metrics with facial coding to understand how brands can use content-led marketing to effectively engage with consumers. BBC Advertising plans to offer this insight to premium clients as part of its campaign reporting.

BBC recommends a 5 pronged process for engagement:



The study also shows that transparency and quality were the most important factors in engaging the audience:

  • 64% were happy to read content-led marketing so long as it is clear which brand it is presented by and 64% were happy to read as long as it is clearly labelled.
  • 63% of respondents were happy to see the content as long as it mirrored the quality of the provider’s editorial content. In addition, 59% found the content informative, 55% found it interesting and 57% said they would share it.
  • Integrating the brand drives a greater emotional response and referencing the brand within the content narrative works harder for the advertiser. Integrated content drives a +109% increase in explicit and a +32% uplift in implicit brand positivity. Integrated content also increases key call to action measures of recommendation (+21%) and consideration (+20%).

Research Methodology 

The month-long study was conducted in October 2015. The research included a sample of 5,153 digital consumers of English language international news across six key markets: Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA, Canada and Germany. It focused around three core measurements - an online quantitative survey, facial coding and Implicit Response Testing. For the unconscious measurement, facial movements were recorded on a second by second basis and then coded into six possible emotions: sadness, puzzlement, happiness, fear, rejection, surprise.