Creating an emotional connection with consumers will ultimately improve conversion rates, writes ADmantX’s Giovanni Strocchi.
Cute children, emotive music, and a focus on the joy of giving – the imminent release of John Lewis’ Christmas campaign is now an eagerly anticipated part of the festive countdown, which illustrates just how powerful emotion can be in engaging the consumer.
The use of emotions in advertising is nothing new and has long been a vital and trusted mechanism in creating effective and successful campaigns.
The most memorable ads are often those that leave us scrambling for a box of tissues, or elicit potent feelings such as love, fear, joy or compassion.
But it’s not just TV commercials that need to appeal to human sentiment; advertising across all channels – including digital – must offer consumers an immersive and emotionally charged experience that is relevant to its context.
So why is the emotional connection so important and how can advertisers and agencies create a poignant and engaging digital experience that resonates deeply with individual consumers on a large scale?
The value of an emotional response
Long-term consumer relationships are driven by emotion and a positive emotional reaction to advertising will set a brand apart from its competitors, increase brand loyalty, and encourage customer to spend more.
Emotional ads outperform non-emotional ads on a variety of metrics including profitability and research by ad tech company Unruly revealed 70% of consumerswho experience an intense emotional response to a video ad are very likely to purchase the product it features.
In today’s ad blocking environment it is increasingly simple for consumers to avoid digital advertising with a single download. This situation emphasises the need for the advertising experience to be a relevant and positive one, without being intrusive.
Emotional advertising in action
The most successful advertisers associate their brand with particular emotions to increase brand recognition and loyalty and there are plenty of examples of emotional advertising in action.
In its ‘Sweeet’ campaign McVities uses adorable animals to associate the brand with feelings of comfort and lovability, with the fluffy kittens and puppies intended to evoke the same emotional response to that of eating a McVities biscuit.
McDonald’s takes a different approach with its ‘Good Times’ ad campaign, which uses familiar, highly relatable interactions between families and friends to align its messaging with fun, freedom, and happiness, and to highlight the brand promise of simple, easy enjoyment.
Tesco also jumped on the emotional bandwagon earlier this year with an ad featuring cute kids preparing breakfast in bed for their mums on Mother’s Day. The video tapped into emotions such as parental pride, nostalgia, and love, combining these with a touch of humour for a highly effective campaign.
Emotion in the digital world and the power of context
Using emotion to maximise the impact of digital advertising is essential, and creative design plays a large part in achieving this, but the biggest challenge advertisers face with digital is ensuring their ads are placed in the correct emotional context.
Display creative depicting joyful, happy families just won’t work served alongside a sad news story about the plight of child refugees. Equally, heart wrenching charity video ads would be the wrong choice for a consumer searching for deals on next year’s ski holiday or a new car.
To ensure the emotions elicited by their ads are aligned with those of the consumers they are reaching and the content they are viewing – to understand the correct emotional context securing a positive brand message recall – advertisers can make use of advanced innovative technologies such as semantic Natural Language Processing, the only cognitive technology for to classify page meanings.
This advanced technology enables the detailed analysis of web pages at a URL level to uncover the true context, environment, and emotions conveyed, including the correct use of words with multiple meanings.
By using these tools advertisers can predict a consumer’s likely emotional response to web content and ensure the creative and messaging they serve is in the most effective context. This allows the ultimate combination of the right emotional message for the right audience in the best emotional context to maximise impact and ultimately conversion rates.
The success of the John Lewis Christmas campaigns can be credited – in large part – to their contextual relevance. At the start of the festive season, with the prospect of a fun-filled Christmas on the horizon, the emotionally charged content resonates perfectly with consumers.
By leveraging advanced technologies such as semantic understanding, digital campaigns can be just as successful at delivering highly emotive content perfectly suited to the context of the user.
Ads with an emotional brand message must be placed in the best emotional context for brands to create emotional connections with audiences.