Consumer mood and digital marketing – how emotional context can make ads 40% more effective

According to a new study, consumer mood can make all the difference to the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns. If you can reach your target audience when they’re in the right state of mind, you could see a dramatic increase in the impact of your digital ads.

Yahoo’s Receptivity of Emotions study found that when consumers are feeling upbeat and positive, they are around 40% more likely to be receptive to digital advertising. Its researchers found that on average, consumers in both the UK and the US report feeling ‘upbeat’ about 46% of the time.

The research

Determining when consumers are feeling positive and putting a percentage on it can be tricky, so Yahoo’s researchers gathered over 18,000 mood data points over a week-long study. They used a specially designed smartphone app to gather the data, and supplemented it with online surveys completed by more than 4,000 people in the UK, US, Canada and Germany.

The results indicated that:

  • When consumers are feeling happy and positive, they are 30% more likely to engage with native video content and 28% more likely to engage with content marketing. They are also 21% more likely to react positively to direct marketing.
  • 71% of users said they would be more likely to click on or react to a digital ad if it reflected what they were doing at the time
  • Upbeat smartphone users were found to be 15% more likely to immediately follow up on digital ads they saw on their devices than those in other, less positive moods.

Yahoo’s managing director Nigel Clarkson said of the findings:

“Digital marketers all appreciate the importance of reaching the right person, on the right device, at the right time. But the ‘right time’ should be about more than the webpage they’re viewing at that moment. We should be striving to take a consumer’s emotions into account as well.

“The idea of aiming to engage with consumers when they are feeling upbeat may seem obvious at first, but never before have we been able to appreciate the extent of the impact it can have on a campaign’s success. Nor have we had concrete insight into when during the day this emotional state is most likely, and what types of marketing will benefit most. These new insights reinforce the importance of context in marketing, and take it to a whole new level.”

How to capitalise on positive consumer moods

If marketers can capitalise on these ‘upbeat’ windows of time during the day, they could see a significant improvement on their ROI and conversion rates. But how do you pin down these windows of time and optimise content delivery to capitalise on upbeat consumer moods? The Yahoo study offers some pointers, as researchers found that the most consumers reported feeling upbeat and positive between 11am and 2pm. This time of day is also linked with times when consumers tend to engage in ‘life management’ activities, such as organising schedules, looking for answers and searching for inspiration.

Do you think the mood of the consumer plays a part in the effectiveness of digital marketing, and can marketers influence this with the emotional content of their campaigns?

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