Facial Recognition: The Future of Advertising

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Facial Recognition: The Future of Advertising

In the last decade, modern technology has reached new heights. It thus comes as no surprise that facial recognition has emerged as the go-to thing for several industries. It is now being used in sectors such as health, security, mobile banking and retail and marketing applications. In particular, the ad industry is a major exponent in using facial recognition technology. In today’s blog, we will discuss how facial recognition in advertising is changing the landscape of advertising and business as we know it.

What is Facial Recognition? How is it different from Face Detection?

To put it simply, it is a technology that helps you recognize a human face. What you need to understand is the keyword here which is recognition. This is what separates it from face detection. The latter enables you to detect or identify the presence of human faces in a digital image. It does so with the help of machine learning and algorithms. A biometric technology, it detects and identifies humans based on facial traits such as nose, mouth, ears, etc. 

How Does It Work?

The technology combines pictures, videos and real time footage to function. Let us start with an example. If you pay attention, you will notice that as soon as you search the Internet for a particular product, ads keep cropping up. It is almost like Hogwarts with food popping up on the tables in the Great Hall. It is like magic! Well, the technology is, in many ways, quite magical. Let’s break it down for better understanding, shall we?

Step 1 – Face Detection

The first step is a no-brainer. With the help of a camera, you can detect and recognize a human face, be it alone or in a crowd. The chances of detection are high when the individual is looking at the camera. But modern technology will allow you to recognize a face even if that face is at an angular position.

Step 2 – Face Analysis

Post detection and recognition, the face will now be analyzed. Most facial recognition technologies use 2D images as opposed to 3D ones. Since public pictures in a database are mostly in 2D as well, they are more easily identified. While analyzing, the face is marked with distinct features or nodal points. There are eight nodal points on the human face.

Step 3 – Image Conversion

In the next step, the image is transformed into data. Post analysis, the nodal points are converted into numbers in the application database. The whole numerical code becomes what you call a face print. Much like unique thumbprints, all of us have unique face prints too.

Step 4 – Matching

Your face print is now matched with a database consisting of facial codes, compared and identified on the basis of your precise facial details.

A compelling technology, it allows you to identify gender, age and even the makeup of individuals and moving crowds. It can also tell you what an onlooker’s mood is. This helps you gauge their feelings in general towards your brand at different points of time.

Facial Emotion Recognition

This is different from facial recognition. It is highly specialized and allows you to identify emotions from a human’s face. By using image processing software you will be able to tell if a person is angry, disgusted or sad.

How Accurate is It?

The accuracy of facial recognition technology has improved by leaps and bounds. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology stated that facial recognition systems were 20 times more effective in matching from a database of 12 million portraits between 2014 and 2018. Reports also state that the best ones are free of racial or sex prejudice. However, there are various factors that determine its success – clear quality of visuals, lighting etc. are a few. Detecting darker shades of skin, telling apart between teens etc. are areas that need work.

How is it applied in Advertising?

The advertising world is using facial recognition technology on a huge scale. The BBC used the application to assess the emotional engagement, conscious and subconscious, to campaign marketing content. The insights that you gain from using this technology can be used in optimization of marketing campaigns, delivering improved user experience and much more.

Retail Stores

Your brand can use facial recognition technology to improve your users’/potential users’ retail experience. You can now evaluate their behavior so that the buying process becomes better. You can also provide them with tailor-made content. KFC outlets can now suggest menus on the basis of a customer’s age and mood. iPhone’s Face ID feature have made buying and purchasing things easier.

You’d know which items are being reviewed and picked up. This way retailer would get timely stock updates. You can also increase their staying time, give them entertainment and more contextualized goods and services. You can better reach your target audience by tracking their spending and personalizing their shopping experience. You can build customer loyalty by rewarding repeat buyers.

Indoor/Outdoor DOOH

Billboards are not anymore the only out-of-home advertising. Signs at gyms, gas stations, grocery stores etc. are all effective ways to reach customers throughout the day. These are also examples of indoor ooh. With digitization and face recognition technology, you can interact with the users. You can have cameras fitted that will identify their age, gender and expressions. In turn,, you can offer content based on unique signifiers.


Facial Recognition in advertising is surely a major booster for your business. But implementing it could be quite tricky. FastEdge provides you AI-enabled solutions for audience measurement in real-time. Our simple yet state-of-the art technology helps your brand develop customized content for your users. The AI driven insights make your decisions accurate. And all this at a very reasonable amount! Think facial recognition, think FastEdge.

FastEdge LLC is an AI technology development firm dedicated to using technology to make business decisions more accurate, timely, and profitable.  Find out more about us at FastEdge.ai.