The Effects of Human Emotions in Your Ad Copy

How are you driving customers and sales for your business? Are you striking fear into the hearts of the people reading your ad copy, or given them the hopes and dreams they have always been looking for? There no question that ad copy that draws attention and calls to action, gets the job done.

In addition to write great ad copy, you have to think about all ad copy as a whole. Search Marketing Standard recently had an article focusing on “Writing PPC Ad Copy that Delivers” by David Rodnitzky and focused on human emotions as one of the best practices. The chart shown below was listed in the article, and shows an example of each human emotion and a corresponding ad copy.

All of the text ads above are targeted towards selling the same product, but they are all worded differently depending on how you want to target.

Example of Using Vanity to Bring in Sales
With the massive amount of acai berry and weight loss offers flooding the internet, you can see how well this is working. The promise of having the body of your dreams, is selling acai berry and weight loss pills like crazy. “Look Like a Supermodel” falls perfectly into the Vanity category.

Fear, Vanity and Exclusivity Also Works
On the flip side, you have government grant offers also giving everyone the hopes and dreams of getting free money from the government. (Vanity) You will also see these same offers being played into the “Fear” concept, and how people are getting laid off and left with nothing. Take it another step, and several of these programs have pre-qualifier pages… which puts them in the “Exclusivity” category.

Greed Ad Copy Closes the Deal
Almost all sales or trial offers love to play the “Greed” card. “Order now and you will save 50%, Today Only!” and “Only 42 Trials Left” are perfect examples of greed ad copy and closing the deal. It makes the user feel like they have to order and make the final action, or they will be given a lesser deal later on… making them more greedy and want it now.

This is nothing new, and I’m only using acai berry and government grants because those ads are wide spread right now and you can clearly see the variation of ad copy and how they fit into each of the human behavior characteristics.

Just as much as the wording of your ad copy, the colors being used on your landing page can also effect your end conversions.

Now that you have a better understand how almost all advertising links back to one of the four human emotions, you may not look at advertising the same way again. Are you covering all of your bases with your ad campaigns?

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  1. Great post! I think with the relative anonymity on the web, it's easy to forget about your target audience. In the past, I sold radio. In that business, we always knew that the copy was most important, ad time and duration are irrelevant if the copy is poor! The same applies to affiliate marketing.

  2. Some people might call that kind of advertisingg unethical but it certianly works and I'll bee jumping all over that when I start selling stuff on my blogs and web sites.

    Another great post. 🙂

  3. I've found fear is the best one. It's what people give into all the time, so it's easy to sneak in there.

  4. Zac,

    That was an eye opener for sure. The mainstream media has known this for years, and my ten years in the broadcast television and motion picture industry was also illuminating.

    I observed directors and producers agonizing over the slightest detail in their 30-second commercials. They wanted to pack as much 'response-producing' content into that 30-seconds as was humanly possible. They would argue over props in the background of the scene for 'hours'!

    It was not at all unusual for a post-production creative team to spend one week of ten-hour-days, editing and 'polishing' these commercials. Oh, and weekly tv sitcoms and drama's? At least seven days for a half-hour comedy like "All In The Family", and fourteen to sixteen days for a movie of the week for HBO or Showtime.

    Feature films would typically take 6-months to a year depending on the special effects requirement. Investors providing the necessary budget monies also slowed completion of many movies, or caused them to be 'shelved' before completion at all!

    Great information, now let's put it to good use in our ad copywriting?


    Nicholas Chase

  5. It's great to get some good old fashioned marketing theory adapted to the online space! Sometimes I think people get so caught up in the technology that they forget the age-old tricks of the trade when it comes to marketing to consumers.

    In your experience have you found invoking certain emotions more successful than others? Can some of these emotions backfire if not appropriately used?

    Great post! Thanks!

  6. I really liked your concrete “Adwords” like examples for each of the different emotions. Nice job.

  7. some great break downs there. I’m still trying different styles and your out of the box thinking really added some dimension to my strategies.

  8. This is very interesting. I never really notice ads to be used like that. I think I am going to apply this to some of my ad campaigns.

  9. Zac, glad you enjoyed the article! I got those tips from a direct mail book written in 1980 – just goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same!!!

  10. <a class="replyTo" href="#comment-101378" rel="nofollow">@David Rodnitzky:

    Thanks for reading David. It was a great article. It's funny how some today's best marketing books, are ones from many many years ago.

  11. I have always heard that you should use emotions to sell. People buy from emotion but justify with logic.

    But I have never seen HOW to appeal to emotions before so this is excellent. I am a very logical person so this really helps understand how to appeal to others in my selling.

  12. This is a post every ad copy writer should read. These are great tips for PPC campaigns.

  13. @Dean Saliba:

    Come now, unethical :). It's just targeting your ads to elicit the emotions in people to get them to consider your products. These are great ideas and a slid way to help drive sales!

  14. Thanks for the tips. The way you have explained emotions in ads is brillaint. Hopefully this will improve my CTR!

  15. @Dean Saliba:

    I agree with Creative Writing Ideas: I don't see how such advertising could be unethical unless it were inaccurate.

  16. At first glance I initially thought that you were talking about some of the seven deadly sins, but upon further investigation I realised this wasn't quite the case….playing on human emotions is definitely the key to getting the sales, ain't it!

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