Science & Technology

Neurons combines ML with science to predict conscious and unconscious consumer behaviors


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Enterprises have long been using cookies and surveys to gauge what exactly their consumers prefer or want. These methods help with defining marketing and product strategies, but they remain poor indicators of what consumers would actually choose. According to Geo Technologies, as many as 82% of Americans still ignore online ads, finding them irrelevant or unappealing, while Merle & Cooper estimates that 35-48% of products fail on the market.

To address these challenges, Denmark-based company, Neurons, combines the power of neuroscience with machine learning (ML). The company offers a platform that predicts customer behaviors, such as attention and focus, in seconds, helping enterprises optimize every part of their customers’ journeys, from advertising to user experience and tech. Today, Neurons announced it has raised $6 million in a seed round of funding.

Neurons’ predictive platform

Neurons provides a cloud-based customer prediction platform that has three key tools to predict, understand and adapt to the customer decision-making processes: Predict, Explore and Research.

Predict, as the company explains, is a cloud-based attention prediction AI that automatically produces validated heatmaps and cognitive scores to predict customer responses. Its insights help test and decide what creatives would perform the best or which brand design would be best based on brand recognition.

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“Our AI is built on one of the world’s largest eye-tracking databases that are both continually updated and validated through our in-lab research function,” Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy, Neurons founder and CEO at Neurons, told VentureBeat. “With that database, we have trained our AI to accurately and rapidly make predictions on content for human responses like attention, focus, cognitive responses and engagement with 95% accuracy. The AI models are built and validated in-house with our ML engineers and neuroscience experts using modern standards like Tensorflow and Google Cloud Platform tools to enable users to scale based on needs.”

While Predict is automated and based on data, the Explore feature serves as a self-service online panel testing tool. It enables users to build customized tests to collect unconscious and conscious responses — like emotion, memory and motivation — from a targeted audience sample toward a creative asset. 

“We have developed a system where users can easily build and execute studies online, send them out to panels of participants based on their target audience, and collect their responses within a matter of days. They can then use these results to predict in-market responses for a deeper understanding of, e.g., what to say with their brand/products, what channels they should use to communicate, or even what types of content to promote,” Ramsøy explained.

The Research aspect of the platform is a bespoke, full-scale offering for detailed study. As part of this, the company can test participants with hardware-enabled eye trackers and brain scanners (EEG) to gain unique access to their responses to creatives and ads and how they unfold over time. This gives a way to analyze and diagnose where the customer experience succeeds and where it goes wrong.

Growth trajectory

Neurons started in 2013, but the SaaS part of the business was only recently established. Since then, the company claims to have gone from zero to more than 150 customers, including the likes of Google, Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Capital One, NBC, Vodafone and Ikea.

“The growth has been quite aggressive,” the founder noted, with more than a threefold increase in the first six months of 2022 over 2021 SaaS revenue.

Now, with this round of funding from Vækstfonden Ventures, Finance Zealand and Fairpoint Capital, the company will work toward hiring new talent and strengthening its portfolio of products for predicting consumer behavior.

“As part of this, we are already moving way beyond attention prediction, and will soon release Sentiment AI and other models,” Ramsøy stated. “Over time, additional AI products will come, including emotion prediction. A second move is to go beyond mere prediction and provide suggestions, allowing designers, brand owners, and others to not only see whether an asset will work or not but also to get automatic suggestions on what to do about it.”

Other companies working in the same area are Expoze.io, Attention Insight,  CoolTool, Hotjar, Sentient Decision Science and Nielsen Neuro.

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