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USA Today, others are targeting ads to your mood

From Digiday

Lately, media companies, including The New York Times, ESPN and USA Today, have rolled out ad products that they say can match ads to people in certain moods.

USA Today Network in 2016 started categorizing its content by topic and tone, and scoring it based on the emotions it’s believed to most evoke. Last year, it started to sell advertising based on that knowledge with a product called Lens Targeting. Kelly Andresen, svp and head of Get Creative, USA Today Network’s content studio, said the publisher is trying to show a link between the emotions a story is likely to evoke and ad performance. An ad campaign for a nonprofit that was targeted to people reading inspirational stories resulted in a 25 percent higher donation rate than ads that weren’t targeted, she said.

“We’ve seen a gradual increase in RFPs, advertisers aren’t asking for audience by demographic but psychographic,” Andresen said. “This is one step to find those psychographics instead of numbers you can get from outside parties.”

The New York Times rolled out a tool earlier this year called Project Feels that lets advertisers target ads to content based on emotional responses the content is predicted to have.

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