Soon, web ads that adapt to your personality to send product sales soaring

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London, Dec 8 (ANI): Websites will now be showing advertisements just the way you want to see them, thanks to a new "ad morphing" system that can tailor the ad content according to users' personality type.

Glen Urban, an Internet marketing researcher at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleague John Hauser have created the novel system to make ad search a little more personalised.

Urban said people who are looking to buy things online tend to behave in distinctive "cognitive styles" when presented with information-deliberative or impulsive, holistic or analytical, and visual or verbal.

Thus, changing the appearance of banner ads to fit in with personality type, it is possible to make the ads more appealing to the user, he said.

Urban said that on the web, no face-to-face diagnosis is possible, and web shoppers don't usually respond to questionnaires. This leaves online merchants with few ways of working out what sort of customer they are dealing with, reports New Scientist.

Now websites can be primed to "read" potential customers from the way they interact with web pages.

It uses a program called the Bayesian Inference Engine running unobtrusively on a user's computer to monitor the person's click patterns and so to determine how they respond to different textual and visual cues. This is then used to categorise the user's cognitive style.

The information is stored in the user's web browser as a chunk of data - a cookie - that website operators can use to serve up banner ads that fit the user's personality type.

Another algorithm monitors what happens when such a banner ad appears - "click through", "buy" or "ignore" - and this is fed back to the inference engine, so that its predictions get better over time.

The researchers observed that in a controlled panel study for a large automotive manufacturer, the percentage of participants who clicked on a banner ad went up by 57 per cent when "morphed" ads were served up instead of one-size-fits-all ads.

The system will enhance existing behavioural targeting techniques used with banner ads, said Urban.

These techniques exploit cookies that contain browsing history and search data.

However, if online shoppers opt out if the system, the morphing cookie that has them pegged will be deleted.

Live trials of the system will begin in January, when a large telecoms company, which Urban prefers not to name, will deploy the technology. (ANI)

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