The dynamic nature of pay per click campaigns makes them hard to master, and the necessity of saying everything you need to in a scant few words makes it even more so. One of the most effective things you can do to increase your PPC success is by injecting some emotion into your advertising text, and that’s something you can do effectively even when your ad space is limited.
Neuroscience Shows Why Emotion is So Effective in Advertising
The human brain is immensely complicated, and while it’s our large, complex brains that have helped us become an advanced and successful species, there are some side effects to the way in which the brain operates.
One of these is to do with the way the different parts of the brain interact with one another. Essentially, there are some parts of the brain that are in conflict, and they don’t work well together. A classic example of this is the logical part of the brain—the frontal lobes—and the emotional part of the brain, which is the limbic system. These two regions of the brain can’t be fully active at the same time, and this is why it’s hard to think clearly when you’re feeling highly emotional. It’s also the reason why people make impulsive choices that are based more on emotion rather than reason, and why later on when the emotion wears off, people realize that they’ve made a choice they wouldn’t ordinarily have made.
Another crucial facet is that the part of the brain that controls emotion is easier for the brain’s control centre—the cerebral cortex—to access than the logical, reasoning part of the brain. And this means that for most people, emotions are easier to access than reason. So when faced with a choice, for most people the emotions kick in before logic has a chance to say its piece.
What does this have to do with advertising? One thing: ads that evoke genuine emotion are vastly more successful than those that don’t, because ads that evoke emotion prompt people to take action they might not have otherwise. With PPC advertising this is hugely beneficial, because PPC advertising is all about prompting people to take immediate action. When a PPC ad evokes some kind of emotion, the viewer is prompted to click much more readily than if no emotions were involved, and PPC ads that target emotions can therefore send your click-through rates sky-high.
Emotional Ads don’t focus on Products
Think back to the last advertisement you saw that made you feel emotional. What was the emotion, and why were you feeling it? Chances are the emotion you felt was absolutely nothing to do with the product being sold. Most people don’t get emotional over a hamburger or home insurance—what they get emotional about is the way the advertising message is delivered.
Two of the UK’s most popular TV advertising spots of 2015 were a pair of Christmas ads that show the power of emotional advertising to perfection. The John Lewis and Sainsbury’s advertisements were the two most popular UK TV ads on YouTube in 2015, and the reasons for that aren’t anything to do with the products; it’s all about the fact that these ads tug firmly and steadily on the heartstrings.
While the longer format of these ads lends itself very well to emotional advertising, the same principles can work equally well for the short-and-sharp format of PPC ads.
Adding Emotion to PPC Ads
The one tricky element with this strategy is that you just don’t have a lot of space to work with; the plus side is, you don’t have to tell a lengthy story in order to evoke emotions. A single picture or a few well-chosen words can be equally effective.
The key is to figure out which emotions are the most effective, because with PPC ads you only have space to target one. As with most things in advertising, this is about knowing your audience, but it’s also important to think about the persona of your ad. For example, is the ad a best friend with a hot sale tip, or a best friend with some bad news? Flattery and nostalgia are ideal for provoking positive emotions that prompt a viewer to click, but negative emotions such as fear—for example the fear of missing out on items that are “priced to sell”—are even more effective. Either way, crafting your PPC ads with the express intent to evoke some kind of emotion is virtually guaranteed to make them more effective.