Examining customer demographics has become a marketing baseline. Marketers who are ahead of the curve now include mood targeting techniques in their strategies. Neuro-imagery scans show that when consumers evaluate brands, they generally weigh their emotions based on personal feelings and experiences rather than information such as features and facts.
One study found that ads with emotional content generated twice as much profit as those based on rational content. Emotionally connected customers are also more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied.
While mood targeting has great potential to change the way you provide for customers, this strategy could easily backfire and hurt your brand without careful implementation. When using this tactic, keep these five principles in mind.
Capture The Right Kind Of Data
Building emotional connections begins with capturing the type of data that will accurately reveal the customer’s state of mind.
In addition to questionnaires and focus groups, one way to gather this data is through emotion-sensing technology (EST), which records users’ daily emotional states so that they can be marketed to based on their behavior patterns.
Though still relatively new, retailers have taken notice of this strategy. Jaguar, for instance, has Wimbledon spectators wear biometric cuffs to measure emotions. And Sam’s Club’s cashierless store in Dallas may experiment with facial recognition technology.
Below are three ways to measure EST.
- Wearables: Use smartwatches and bracelets to monitor how consumers feel while shopping, and use the data to improve your CX. For instance, in 2016, eBay launched pop-up stores to track how people felt when they shopped for Christmas gifts. The eCommerce giant tracked this data with wearables and biometric booths. The test revealed that the heart rate of 88% of consumers jumped by 32% during their shopping experience, revealing that many consider holiday shopping stressful.
- Smart Speakers: Many smart speakers include an option to measure mood based on voice analytics. Amazon has patented a new version of its virtual assistant Alexa, which can automatically detect when you’re ill and offer to sell you medicine.
- Facial Recognition Technology: In addition to other purposes, facial recognition can measure visible emotional reactions. In the UK, Kellogg Co. used facial recognition technology to test audience reactions to digital ads for its cereal. They showed consumers multiple versions of the ad and found that while one version produced the most laughs during an initial watch, it produced little engagement on the second.
When considering EST, remember to keep privacy and ethics in mind. For stronger emotional connections and personalized or contextual experiences, use emotional data in tandem with your usual gathered information.
Use Authentic Emotions
If you want to win over customers’ hearts, show your brand’s values in your ads. Consumers who emotionally connect with your values will buy more of your products and services, visit you more often, pay attention to your communications, and recommend you to others. Nike has especially mastered the art of emotional authenticity with its customers.
For its 30th anniversary, Nike’s campaign featured a determined Colin Kaepernick.
Examining the intuitive emotional reaction to the ad, Kantar Millward Brown found that viewers smiled when Kaepernick said, “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” and “don’t ask if your dreams are crazy.”
Despite the backlash, the campaign led to almost 4 million daily posts, 7x more mentions than Nike would experience on a typical day, and a 31% increase in online sales after running the ad.
To ensure you form meaningful connections, keep the following in mind:
- Go with emotions that are brand-aligned. 86% of people say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they support.
- Investigate and understand which emotional triggers will affect your target audience and drive them to action.
- Use positive emotions that will resonate with a broad audience. If your ad includes a negative emotional scenario, provide customers with a solution to the problem.
- When going political, choose a message that resonates with the majority of your customers. Many consumers lashed out in protest following Nike’s anniversary campaign, but overall, the ad was successful.
Consumers want to buy a better version of themselves. Remember to connect with them by showing how your product or service helps them achieve their goal.
Target Engaged Customers
The level of engagement customers have with your brand determines whether your targeted ad will be well received. Customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% share of profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared to the average customer.
New Balance used emotional targeting technology to determine which consumers were likely to engage with their videos. Mars mined behavioral data to pinpoint people at their weakest moments as a way of showcasing snacking ads.
It’s not enough to know which customers to target – you must also know when to reach them. One study found that digital advertising’s impact could improve by as much as 40% when consumers are reached at just the right time. If your customers reside in the UK or US, the statistically better time to send campaigns is between 11am and 2pm when they’re in an ‘upbeat’ mood. During this time, UK and US smartphone users are 15% more likely to immediately follow up on smartphone digital advertising than at other times of day.
Emotional context placement makes ads more effective and increases the chances of clicks. 71% of consumers said they would click on or read digital ads if they better reflected what they were doing at the time, while 67% would do the same if they reflected how they felt.
Invest in Emotion Analytics
Emotion analytics can help determine if your targeted ad makes viewers happy or sad by revealing its emotional impact in real time. You can see if there’s a disconnect between the emotions you want to create, and those that customers are experiencing. In fact, emotional analysis is two times more accurate than traditional sentiment social listening.
Retailers are already using emotional analytics to improve digital ads. To find out whether different soundtracks affected viewers’ emotional response to its ad, Mars Inc. looked at emotional analytics, which informed them that indeed, there were fluctuations in audience emotion in response to different music they heard.
People Before Profit
Despite its Black Mirror plotline-like appearance, mood targeting is here. When using this tool for targeted marketing, pinpoint specific emotions for each stage in the buyer’s journey. Adopt responsible marketing practices and avoid emotional manipulation.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” So put hearts before profits in your communications, and treat consumers with true understanding and respect.