Affdex Facial Coding

The challenge marketers face with consumer response...

Marketers recognize that emotion drives brand loyalty and purchase decisions. Yet, traditional ways of measuring emotional response - surveys and focus groups - create a gap by requiring viewers to think about and say how they feel. Neuroscience provides insight into how the mind works, but it typically requires expensive, bulky equipment and lab-type settings that limit and influence the experience.


Delivering true emotion insight

Affdex is an award-winning neuromarketing tool that reads emotional states such as liking and attention from facial expressions using an ordinary give marketers faster, more accurate insight into consumer response to brands, advertising and media. It uses automated facial expression analysis recognition, also called facial coding, to analyze your face and interpret your emotional state. Offered as a cloud-based software-as-a-service, Affdex is a fast, easy and affordable to add into existing studies. MIT-spinoff Affectiva has some of the best and brightest emotion experts behind the Affdex platform science, providing the most accurate measurement today. This ongoing investment in research and development is focused not just on measuring, but also on predicting...which ads will really work to drive sales and build brands.

               See how Affdex works           Try Affdex Demo


Paul Ekman & Lie to MeHistory of Facial Coding. Foundation of Affdex

The research behind facial coding dates back to early studies by Darwin that concluded expressions are universal & are even shared with animals. Paul Ekman (1972) confirmed universality of 6 core expressions and popularized a facial action coding system (FACS) that is used to consistently describe facial expressions & movements. This system has received wide scale use, and has even been seen in the popular TV show, Lie to Me.


How Affdex Works

Cloud-Based Emotion Analytics:

By employing advanced computer vision and machine learning techniques that recognize and automate the analysis of tacit expressions, Affdex applies scientific methods to interpret viewers' emotional responses, quickly and at scale. Affdex delivers rich emotion insights –- Fast, Easy and Scalable, with just three simple steps.



Face Data Collection

Affdex is designed to use standard webcams found on everyday devices such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Affdex can also be used with external webcams for in-lab and central venue settings. While the user watches online, streaming media, their individual expressions are captured via webcam. It’s unobtrusive, scalable and easy to collect emotion response.

Getting Started with Affdex Data Collection

Online or Offline: Affdex Anywhere is an offline data collection tool that is used for venues without reliable internet connection, or mobile.

Seamless Integration: Affdex is seamlessly embedded inside standard survey tools with a straightforward API (e.g. SPSS, ConfirmIt, SurveyGizmo) with a 1-time integration project; additional coding is not required for additional projects.

  • Affdex integration also includes a Camera Check page to improve data quality & optimize usable sessions, as well as an Opt-in to capture privacy consideration



Cloud Based Emotion Analysis

Once the face videos have been collected, they are streamed to the Affdex Cloud service for processing. In the cloud, Affdex reads emotional states such as surprise, dislike and attention from facial expressions. It employs advanced computer vision and machine learning techniques to recognize and automate the analysis of tacit expressions, and it applies scientific methods to interpret viewers' emotional responses quickly and at scale.




Affdex Analytics

The Affdex analytics provide overall emotion scores and real-time, scene-by-scene playback of facial data. See where viewers smile, which scenes capture the most attention and more, with our dynamic dashboard and benchmarked summary metrics.

The key deliverables in the Analytic Suite are:

In addition, Affdex projects are accessed through a self-service portal for quick & easy project setup, monitoring and analysis. The portal allows Affdex users to have:

  • Secure access to all current & past projects
  • An online project creation & configuration
  • Real-time data quality reports to monitor in field completion rates



Dynamic, Intuitive Dashboard

The dashboard provides interactive traces of key emotions experienced during the ad viewing and is fully integrated with your survey self-report data to ensure a cohesive and robust analysis for your clients. There are views for each emotion.

The emotion metrics include:

  • Net positivity (Valence)
  • Expressiveness
  • Attention
  • Concentration
  • Dislike
  • Smiles
  • Surprise

In addition to the dashboard metrics, Affdex includes several usability features that make creating client deliverables easier and more powerful. These include:

  • Face Finder: Exemplar faces are synchronized with the dashboard content to provide access to real, unfiltered panelist's reactions. This increases power & transparency of the results, adding qualitative detail to your quantitative study.
  • Bookmarks: Highlight and share key findings using bookmarks.
  • PowerPoint Friendly: Views make it easy and effective to share findings via Power Point.



Summary Metrics & Normative Benchmarks

Affdex Summary Metrics drive top-level analysis and
include comparison to regionally-specific norms.


Powering Emotional Insight

The core of the Affdex science is composed of patented emotion algorithms that are state-of-the-art, having been put to the test in over a thousand studies all over the globe. These machine learning, computer vision algorithms take face videos as inputs and provide frame-by-frame emotion metrics as outputs.

Hover over the image or click each section for details on the 3 pillars of our science


Emotion Measures Beyond the Basic 6 Emotions

Affdex delivers both discrete and dimensional emotion metrics:

  • Discrete Metrics: Smile, Surprise, Dislike, Confusion
  • Continuous Metrics: Valence, Attention, Expressive

Affdex leverages our extensive facial video repository to guide and prioritize development of new measures, selecting those that are the most relevant in real life.


Rigorous Science for Real World Use – Accuracy Global Validation

In order to produce highly accurate emotion metrics, Affdex classifiers are trained on both posed and spontaneous, naturally occurring data. In addition to training, we also test our classifiers on both posed and spontaneous data. We insist that our classifiers perform at 80-90% or better to reach production use.


Validation studies have also been completed in Asia, Latin America, US and UK to confirm that key facial expressions are universal. In these studies, we also uncovered that while expressions were universal, the magnitude of the expressions varied greatly. This emphasized the need for market-specific normative data, which is part of every Affdex study.



Continuous Improvement - Platform for classifier training & validation

face database

Framework for labeling & training new AU's to improve accuracy (repeatable & scalable classifier creation & testing)


Largest repository of spontaneous facial expressions (over 50,000,000 real world face frames)


Significant investment in science infrastructure, a dedicated labeling team and automation for classifier creation and testing


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