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How to Use Emotional Targeting in Ad Campaigns

Emotions are powerful. We all know that. But what’s not so obvious is that when it comes to advertising campaigns, focusing on emotional elements can heighten the quality of your storytelling and the authenticity of your content, as well as consumer engagement and brand affinity.

Emotions are so powerful in campaigns that they can even evoke a greater intent to buy. In fact, Kissmetrics Blog mentions a research study, conducted by Pringle & Field, that finds “emotional campaigns outperform on almost every metric.” This includes revenue, profit and share gain.

So how do we successfully, and gracefully, use emotional targeting in our campaigns? What emotional aspects can we research and tap into? Read on to find out!

Psychological triggers

Emotions can lead people to take certain actions. So when developing a campaign, you’ll really need to think about why people are buying. Think about your product or service. Does it create a certain feeling — good or bad? Could it possibly make consumers think of specific life events? How do those life events correlate to their possible emotions? In general, feelings of happiness lead to more responses, shares and ultimately, sales.

This approach actually has a name: it’s called joy marketing. Eventbrite does this well in its Facebook ads. It makes sense — Eventbrite is an online event registration company for social events, so of course the ads should be inclusive to all and display happy people. However, other brands can take note of this strategy and apply it to their ads as well.

Throughout Eventbrite’s Facebook ads, you can see the company using three main tactics to elicit a certain emotion:

  • Bright and contrasting colors
  • Photos with smiling people
  • Language with positive connotation

What’s the underlying message each of these tactics is sending? Happiness. And this becomes two-fold. The viewer will likely feel the positivity that the ad exudes and begin to associate that with the specific offer and the brand itself.

Memories and associations

Similar to psychological triggers, memories and associations also play a large role in the buying process. No matter what your product is, you’ll want to extract the happiness out of it however you can. If it’s a product that’s typically associated with happy times, then you’re ahead of the game. If not, you’ll need to find a way to associate it with something positive in sentiment. When people connect your brand to happy memories or life events, you’re creating the emotion needed for more interaction and more intent to purchase.

Let’s take TurboTax for example. We all know that tax season isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite time of year. The reality is, TurboTax is starting on the negative end of the spectrum simply through association of a less-than-ideal life event. However, the company has a great opportunity to create a positive angle, which it has clearly recognized and implemented. In its advertising, TurboTax ties in meaningful life events (marriages, birth of children, etc.) to show that they can use those events to get their customers a higher tax return. It created positive emotions for the customer for multiple reasons: they’re reminded of those happy times, which can distract them from the burden of tax season, and they now understand that this company can get them more money. TurboTax found a strategic way to creatively extract the positive aspects out of its service.

Regardless of your product’s usual sentiment, you can apply creativity to showcase the positivity. We look at Hershey’s Chocolate for a great example of this. The company tweeted an Easter message with the copy, “Who makes your #Easter all the more sweet? #HelloHappy.” The picture includes Hershey’s chocolate and two small children enjoying the chocolate in all their holiday happiness. See the ad here. The sweets company mastered it with this one: associating positive memories with the product and making people truly intertwine the two — almost like you can’t imagine a happy Easter without your Hershey’s chocolate bunny.

Social aspects

It only makes sense that social elements would play into these buying emotions, as well. Feelings of inclusion and belonging go a long way when people are considering different products. More specifically, consumers want to relate to the people they see in the ads or even feel like they’re involved with a meaningful cause. If they feel like they belong with those people, or feel like they could belong if they bought the product, they’re more likely to purchase.

This can be a tricky one to master, but we see companies like Coca-Cola doing this well. For instance, look at the company’s “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” campaign. This shows the effectiveness of social input in advertising dating back to the 1970s! The company saw enormous brand engagement through this campaign, receiving more than 100,000 letters that shared consumers’ approval and also made requests for music for future commercials. The soft drink company was able to capture the essence of consumer engagement using positive emotions and feelings of happiness and togetherness.

The efforts from Coca-Cola still live on today, as it brought back the “Share a Coke” campaign and used the personal touch of first names on the cans. It uses the same emotional positioning of inclusiveness and friendship as its campaign in the 1970s. Check out the more recent campaign here.

FOMO

Sorry, what?

FOMO: a term that Millennials have created that stands for “fear of missing out.” Essentially, it’s a feeling that comes up when a person sees something happening that they think would be fun or cool, and they don’t want to miss out on it. Although it’s a relatively new term, it is a serious physiological element to consider. People alter their lifestyles, routines and schedules in order to not experience FOMO, so brands can certainly benefit from getting a grasp on this emotional concept.

Who can you learn from in this area? A company focused on growing website traffic called Sumo. The brand uses a sense of both exclusivity and urgency to leverage feelings of FOMO within the consumer. How? The company includes copy in its Facebook ads that make it seem as though everyone else is already using the software and that if you’re not yet using it, you’re missing out. According to the Kissmetrics Blog, Sumo uses these four considerations in its copy strategy:

  • Includes a number of users already reaping the benefits of the service (which is huge in the business of website traffic growth, as you wouldn’t want your competitors to get ahead)
  • Asks a question, hinting to something great that the viewer is missing out on
  • Makes the reader curious about the community and entices them to want to be a part of it
  • Gives a time limit on the offer, adding to the sense of urgency

You can see the company’s example here.

As you can see, there are so many considerations for emotional input during the buying process. With plenty of opportunities for tapping into these emotions, research and strategy are essential — you need to know your consumer well enough to understand how they’ll react.

Have you experienced the effects of emotional targeting? Or maybe your company has taken this approach? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Sources:

Kissmetrics — How Emotional Targeting Converts More Leads
Kissmetrics — 12 Genius Ways to Apply Emotional Marketing to Facebook Ads
HubSpot

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