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Illustration: Axios Visuals

Publishers are investing in new technologies to serve users more personalized content based off of their emotional response towards about certain topics and stories.

Why it matters: For decades, dated metrics of marketing success, like click-through rates, have been used to justify ad spending and other marketing investments. Now, AI will help marketers understand what motivates someone to buy or take action on something, and that may not always be a click.

Between the lines: Facebook has taken a beating from the media for filling feeds with news that plays on readers’ emotions and pre-existing views.   Now, media companies are stealing some of those tricks. 

The difference is that these experiences are customized per user, and your emotional response to any content cannot be seen or influenced by another person's reaction displayed in a feed.

Some of the major players:

ESPN announced at its first network Upfront this year that it can target ads to sports fans across its digital platforms based not only on their interests or demographics—like Facebook and Google do—but on their wildly changing emotions, Quartz reports.

  • It gets most of the data used from consumer behavior with their digital properties, like its ESPN app.

The New York Times' Advertising & Marketing Solutions Group plans to launch Project Feels this year, a data science project where the intent is to understand and predict how emotions and engagement connect.

  • The Times will launch "perspective targeting" based on machine learning as a new ad product, which allows advertisers to target their media against content predicted to evoke reader sentiments like self-confidence or adventurousness.

CNN's Great bIg Story announced "E.Q." (Emotional Quotient)  last year — an analytics tool that examines the emotional impact of stories.

  • It's currently used internally to determine the emotional response of videos evoked across platforms but they are continuing to invest in the technology to develop it for use for clients. 

Go deeper: Marketers: AI will make clicks less relevant.

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.