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The ability to elicit emotions in people has been an integral part of marketing for decades, and for online video advertising it is particularly important if you want people to share and engage with your content.
But the emotions people feel in response to particular video ads differs greatly across the world, and between different demographics such as age group and gender.
In this post I’m going to cover some key global trends in terms of emotional reactions to online video ads.
The trends data comes from Unruly, which collected first-party data from more than half a million consumer responses to thousands of video ads across the world.
And to learn more on this topic, book yourself onto Econsultancy's Video Marketing Strategy Training.
1. Online video ads are most likely to make people feel happy
Across the world, the emotion people are most likely to feel when watching a video ad is happiness, which I suppose is kind of nice even for a cynic like me.
Google’s Friends Furever ad is by far the biggest happiness-inducer of all, making people who watch it feel four times happier than the average video ad.
Not only that, but the iconic Android ad is also five times more likely to make people laugh than the average video ad.
It’s also the most shared video ad of all time, with 7m global shares at the time of writing.
Worth bearing in mind when planning your own video marketing efforts.
2. But laughter is the least common reaction
With happiness so far up the ranks you’d think laughter would fair well too, given how closely linked these emotions are.
But surprisingly laughter is actually the least common reaction to online video ads across the world.
Some brands are still trying to be funny, though, and long may they continue, particularly when they’re producing content like this classic from PooPourri…
And pretty much anything Old Spice puts out gets my vote…
3. Location matters
Depending on where you are in the world your emotional reaction to the brand in question changes after watching a video ad.
People in the USA are far more likely to love a brand or buy a product after watching a video ad online than European consumers.
Brazilians are even more easily influenced, with two-thirds of them having a more favourable view of a brand after watching a video ad, compared with 58% across the ASEAN market and 41% in the US.
Europeans are much less likely to be influenced by online video ads. Only 28% of UK consumers think more favourably about a brand after watching one, and only 26% of Germans.
4. Some videos ads can have a negative impact
Think twice before doing anything too ‘out there’ and make sure your audience is actually going to appreciate it, because in some cases video ads can do harm as well as good.
A fifth of people who watched Mountain Dew’s Super Bowl ad, ‘Puppymonkeybaby’, had a less favourable view of the brand after watching it.
Can’t think why…
5. Christmas ads cause inspiration and exhilaration
Who doesn’t love Christmas? It’s cold, almost certainly raining, you get to spend lots of money you don’t really have on stuff that nobody really needs, and by the time the big day comes you’ve already been subjected to at least four months of festive joy.
Despite what the more cynical among you might think, however, Yuletide marketing does actually make people feel good.
The launch of Christmas ads in November and December (or August in some cases), results in a global spike in inspiration and exhilaration.
The 2015 John Lewis Christmas ad
6. The age & gender split
Age and gender play a significant role in the way somebody reacts emotionally to an ad.
US males aged 25-34 are most likely to feel happiness, inspiration and pride while watching video ads.
Their baby boomer counterparts, however, are most likely to feel confusion and disgust (I’m picturing my dad here and chuckling away to myself).
Women aged 25-34 in the US are similar to their male counterparts in that they’re most likely to feel happiness and inspiration when watching a video ad.
Female baby boomers, while also confused, are most likely to feel warmth and surprise as well.
This is all very interesting, but the question we’re clearly all thinking is: why do baby boomers find video ads so confusing?
Answers in the comments below, if you would.
7. Reasons for sharing differ around the world
Depending on where you are in the world your reason for sharing a video ad might differ somewhat.
In the US and Europe, emotions are the key drivers of video sharing, so play to the heartstrings if you’re targeting that market.
Those in South-East Asia, Brazil and Turkey, however, take a more logical view, and the focus in those markets should be more on giving consumers a practical reason to share content.
Conclusion: know your audience and think positive
The first thing to take away from this research is that you can’t show the same video to everyone and expect a positive result across the board. You need to cater for your audience.
That means getting to know them first, either through research like this or by carrying out your own investigations into your specific audience.
The second big lesson here is that positivity seems to win the day, and if you can make people feel happy they will be more likely to share your ad and feel positive about your brand as a result.
But again, this depends on your audience. I can imagine certain charity brands, for example, might find it inappropriate to put out a smiley, upbeat video.
So take findings like this and use them to inspire your video content, but remember that a blanket approach is never a good idea.
What worked for one brand might not work for yours.