Advertisers Are Now Able to Customize Ads Based on Personality

Images used for advertising online and on television play an important role in shaping products’ impressions and triggering emotions. However, an ad that is appealing to one person might look irrelevant to another person. Imagine if it were possible to personalize ads that are viewed by different consumers on the basis of their personality types?Images Hue Tint Color

Case study

People leave digital footprints on Twitter, text blogs, Facebook and other online sites. These footprints can determine if users are more introverted or extroverted by nature. They can also tell if users are open to trying new things or not. In a new study, researchers show how the digital data can be leveraged to personalize ads based on types of personality. The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

The goal of the study is to create an experience making ads more relevant to consumers. This is according to study author Sandra Matz, PhD. She says that it is a way to provide better services to consumers. 

Researchers began by using computer algorithms in the extraction of 89 features of images. The features include saturation, hue, color diversity, level of detail and number of people. The researchers recruited 745 volunteers who they asked to rate their liking of the images on a scale of 1-7. The volunteers completed a personality test to evaluate them in 5 areas:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Agreeableness
  • Extroversion
  • Neuroticism

The researchers used the data to determine the images that were more appealing to the five personality traits.


Researchers found, for instance, that extroverts preferred images that were simple and featured people. The open-minded people preferred images without people and images with cool colors like black and blue. Those high in neuroticism preferred calm and less stimulating scenes. The researchers then used the information to allocate personality types for every image.

In the study that followed, the researchers dug into if the personality traits they assigned to the different images predicted the consumer preferences accurately. The volunteers saw images that were related to products in one of 3 categories: beauty, holiday or phone. They then rated the appeal level for different images. Matching “personalities” of images to the participant’s self-reported personality considerably predicted the preference ratings.

The researchers learnt that the fit between images and personalities played part in manipulating a consumer’s interest in purchasing the product. People preferred images matching their personality and showed favorable attitudes towards these brands.


Brands mostly target certain age groups, gender or social groups using ads. However, personality-matching advertisements could allow marketers to target wider groups of people. A consumer who might not be interested in online shopping at one store might discover items that are appealing to them. According to Matz, online marketers mostly focus on large audience but they can now predict individual’s psychological traits giving them individualized experience.




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