The importance of appealing to emotions
It’s no secret that the majority of people do not have the best opinions about advertising. Changes in the way consumers retrieve and process information online have made advertising even harder since so many people actively try to avoid seeing ads.
Recent research has shown that two out of every three millennials have ad blockers installed to keep ads away from them, and even when they watch their favourite shows, the “cut the cord” movement they are largely a part of means that they are finding more ways to bypass ads. Despite the danger, this poses for the economic health of the internet, it is easy to understand how we got here. Let’s be frank, a lot of advertising can be intrusive, off-message, and pretty annoying in general such as pop-ups and pre-roll video ads. Still, not all the technological changes that are happening are bad for advertising. New advances in emotion measurement technology now allow for greater insight into what messages resonate in audiences.
To understand how this works, consider the data provided from Facial Action Coding System (FACS). FACS is able to intelligently read a persons face when watching videos and use that information to determine how businesses can make better decisions about messaging their content to larger audiences. This is not the stuff of science fiction anymore. Though emotional measurement is still a field in its infancy, there are already dozens of different research companies that have compiled comprehensive repositories of data on how peoples reactions to digital content reveal their emotions behind it.
What this means for companies is that they can optimize their messaging by targeting specific emotions they need to access in consumers. This also paves the way for better predictions in sales and performance by having proven science to bolster analysis. Content such as movie trailers, political ads, and regular television commercials can now be modified in a way that guarantees engagement. The possibilities of how this can change various industries are endless but still very much practical.
Some people may find this a bit uncomfortable but when thinking back to why so many people avoid commercials in the first place if those same advertisements were crafted better and tailored to reach their emotions, there is a very strong chance that audiences may begin to flock back to being much more receptive to view them. Perhaps advertisements that are optimized to spark strong emotions in people may be considered something more akin to art than annoying thirty-second spots. After all, part of the reason people love films so much is that they are surefire ways to assuage the very human hunger to feel emotions that range from happiness to fear. This is why though horror movies are generally not considered great works of art, they consistently perform well at the box office and will never go out of style because many humans do have an emotional need to feel fear.
Being able to appeal to a person’s emotions builds an indisputable connection between you and them. Once that connection is bridged by a powerful emotion, it is up to the messenger to choose from what it is they need to get across. Sooner or later, the emotional measurement will be used by companies everywhere. However, waiting for it to become common practice can be a huge missed opportunity since utilizing it now would put a company on the cutting edge of digital communication. For many companies, they simply can not afford to wait that long.