Emotional context could make digital ads 40% more effective

Reaching consumers when they’re in the right mood could increase the impact of digital advertising by as much as 40%, according to new research from Yahoo.

The Receptivity of Emotions study examined consumers’ emotional states and how receptive they are to advertising throughout the day, finding that US and UK consumers are ‘upbeat’ 46% of the time – the most common mood. Crucially, the research found that when these consumers are upbeat they are 24% more receptive to content in general, but 40% more likely to be receptive to digital advertising specifically.

Yahoo’s research represents one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted into the role that emotions play in consumers’ receptivity to advertising.

Based on a recognised emotional measurement framework, Yahoo gathered over 18,000 mood

data points during a week-long study of consumers in the US and UK, using a specially developed smartphone app. This was supported with additional insights from a dozen in-depth interviews and an online survey of over 4,000 people across the US, UK, Germany, and Canada.

Examining the success of different forms of marketing across these four countries, the Receptivity of Emotions research found that when consumers are upbeat, they are 30% more likely to engage with native video content than in other emotional states. They’re also 28% more likely to engage with content marketing, and 21% more likely to engage with direct marketing.

In fact, a consumer’s mood was found to have almost the same effect on their likelihood to engage with digital ads as what they are doing at the time, meaning emotional context is almost as important for digital marketing as current activity. While 71% of consumers in these four countries would click on or read digital ads if they better reflected what they were doing at the time, two thirds (67%) would do the same if they better reflected how they felt.