Advertisers, Good Moods, And ESP

A huge crowd of youngsters as audience

It’s hardly news that advertisers spend their time trying to make you feel good about their products in the hope that you will buy them. They know that an emotional response has a greater influence on a consumer’s intent to buy than any other factor, above and beyond whether the consumer actually needs the product.

“Emotions are the primary reason why consumers prefer brand name products,” notes Psychology Today, “After all, many of the products we buy are available as generic and store brands with the same ingredients and at cheaper prices. Why do we decide to pay more for brand name products?” The decision to buy is most often based on how the brand’s ‘character’ makes us feel. Consumer expert Millward Brown agrees, commenting that advertisers consequently waste no time on factual elements and instead stick to tried and tested methods of getting the target audience to feel stimulated: “They want viewers to come away from these ads feeling positive in some way: moved, rewarded, pleased or proud, to name just a few responses,” and these good feelings can be prolonged by making the decision to buy the product.

Emotion plays a significant part in every buying decision we make. However, the ‘how will I feel with this in my life? How will I feel without this in my life?’ mental equation when shopping isn’t the only factor at work it seems. Yahoo’s recent study has showed that the mindset of the shopper at the time of purchase is equally significant.

Yahoo’s Receptivity of Emotions study used a special smartphone app in the US and UK to gather weekly data on the emotional states of the participants. When examined in conjunction with an online survey of 4,000 people in the US, UK, Germany and Canada, it showed that consumers are more receptive to content when they are in a good mood. In fact, reaching consumers when they’re in the right mood can increase an ad campaign’s success by 40%.

When consumers are feeling positive, they are 30% more likely to engage with native video content, 28% more likely to engage with content marketing and 21% more likely to engage with direct marketing. And the power of positive thinking is just as strong as relevant, targeted online ads that relate to what someone is doing boast a 71% click rate success, while 67% said in the survey that they would click the ad if it reflected how they were feeling, even if it had nothing to do with what they were currently doing.

So while this is a revelation, is Yahoo suggesting that advertisers should develop ESP?

Not really.

Not yet.

The study analyzed emotional states through the day and found that US and UK consumers feel ‘upbeat’ 46% of the time. For advertisers to benefit from the study they would have to analyze the data further to see if the positive feelings were linked to times of the day and followed any patterns, then serve up the ads at those times.

In the future, it’s not inconceivable to imagine Inside Out-style wearables that measure well being alongside heart rate and number of steps for example. Then things would really get interesting…

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