New Ad Software Deciphers Your Personality

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Advertising software in development will get to know you — and how. IBM is testing new software that analyzes Twitter users’ posts for key personality traits. Ads could then automatically change to target introverts, extroverts and everything between.

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IBM’s software can takes hundreds or thousands of a person’s public Twitter posts and analyzes them for personality traits such as extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness to experience as well as values like hedonism, conservatism, curiosity and social harmony, Tom Simonite reported in Technology Review. Then the software uses that analysis to customize ads that are most likely to elicit a response.

“We want to use social media to derive information about an individual,” Michelle Zhou, IBM’s leader of the User Systems and Experience Research Group, told Simonite. “People with different personalities want something different.”

This software could be used to send more effective marketing emails or messages that appear when users log into social media accounts. Or it could be deployed in customer service as a way to minimize apoplexy. Currently IBM is collaborating with customers to test its new software.

The potential hurdle to analysis: People who use Twitter in a specialized way — like journalists tweeting about their beats, Zhou told Tech Review. Anyone who’s had ad recommendations pop up after doing work- or school-related research online knows that. But generally tweets can be an indication of someone’s personality. IBM compared Twitter activity with psychological questionnaires to create its models.

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Of course IBM’s goal here is to just take what Amazon.com already does with its recommendations a step further. If online ads stop being for academic degrees I don’t need and wireless insurance I don’t want, fine. If they can show me sales at local cheese shops and discounts on bike tune-ups instead, then go ahead, analyze the heck out of my tweets.

Credit: Green Mamba via Flickr