How to Convince Consumers to Share Ad Content

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “How to Convince Consumers to Share Ad Content”

Your clients invest heavily in the creative aspects of the advertising. One of the best returns on investment happens when consumers share ad content across social media channels. Back in the day, memorable ads stayed with consumers and worked their way into casual conversations. What should an ad possess in order to become more sharable?

What Makes An Ad Shareable?

The average consumer sees over 6,000 ads per day. Some of these messages are personalized. Other ads aren’t. Some pitches are promotional, while other ads are all about branding.

Jonah Berger, a Wharton marketing professor, and Daniel McDuff, of Microsoft, based their latest research on the ‘emotional triggers’ in ads. Their previous research showed that the emotional intensity in advertising increases the likelihood that consumers will share the content.

In the past year, Berger and McDuff arranged for consumers to watch “a random set of commercials on their home computers while their webcams recorded their facial expressions.” Berger and McDuff believe that consumers aren’t always in touch with what they are feeling. In addition, consumers might want to mask their true feelings. However, a webcam can record emotions that immediately appear on consumer faces.

The Range of Emotions

Marketers might also believe that consumers only share humorous ads or messages that make them laugh out loud. That’s not true. The research suggests that ads which generate the most intense emotions, both positive and negative, are more likely to be shared. For example, ads that make people angry, anxious or disgusted can also prod users to share with their friends and family members.

In some cases, extreme anger can backfire for a marketer. Peleton experienced this situation when its 2019 holiday ad portrayed a woman who came “across as unsure, timid, fearful, and needing approval.” Consumers shared the ad, along with scathing reviews about how the company patronized women. Some experts will say there is no such thing as negative publicity. Peleton execs likely didn’t intend to insult anyone with their messaging. In fact, they may have become more of a household name because of the controversy.

On the other hand, marketers who appeal to positive emotions such as awe, excitement or humor benefit from ad sharing and positive buzz. Berger and McDuff point to the popularity of some of the humorous Super Bowl TV ads in 2020. Marketers may have paid over $5 million for the spot during the big game. But when they hit the right tone, viewers shared them on social media

In 2020, research from Unruly showed that the most emotionally engaging coronavirus ad in the U.S. was from Google: “Thank You Healthcare Workers.” This finding is an interesting twist on advertising as it connected with emotional vulnerable consumers and positioned Google as a caring brand.

While many consumers are still unemployed or working at a lower rate, they are seeking deals. They will take advantage of promotional offers and when they find them, 90% would share the information with “others in the same profession or life stage.” 

Convince Consumers to Share Ad Content

Your clients may want to convince consumers to share ad content. However, they should remember that sharing an ad doesn’t necessarily drive more consumers to buy a specific product or service. You can help your clients boost revenue by checking out the profiles on Coupon Users and similar audiences in AudienceSCAN. Available from AdMall by SalesFuel, the profiles reveal which ad formats work best to convince consumers to take action.