Editor’s note: Wayne Huang is research Manager at Twitter, Chicago. Olivier Tilleuil is founder and CEO at marketing research firm EyeSee, New York. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “How AI can help marketers reach the distracted generation.”

The transition from traditional to online media channels has undoubtedly changed the rules for advertisers – especially when the target groups are made up of Millennials (or Generation Y), the generation behind one of the biggest disruptions in media consumption. Content might still be king but what if there’s no one to crown it? To discover the secret of engaging and striking content, Twitter and EyeSee analyzed different advertising setups using AI technologies that track people’s emotions and gaze via Webcam.

Getting through to the mobile-first generation. During the 1960s and the 1970s, television was one of the most important mediums for disseminating information, delivering entertainment and fostering socialization. Half a century later, 47 percent of Gen Xers and Millennials do not watch traditional television, while every third household is without a cable or satellite subscription. The smartphone has become the new pivotal gadget and now we have multiple screens fighting for our attention.

Shifting the research spotlight to the subconscious. Although Millennials have distinct consumer habits, they are as bad at self-reporting as any generation before them – they struggle with articulating their emotions, they are afraid of social judgment and, ultimately, cannot always grasp the actual reasoning behind their actions. However, behavioral research methods based on AI – such as eye-tracking and facial coding – can provide information on how different marketing content stimulates the brain, whether it evokes emotions and how those emotions impact final purchase behavior.

Marketers have merely moments ...