The Trick to Getting Clicks: Make an Emotional Connection with Your Ads

Eggs with facial expressions drawn on

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads, when done correctly, can be one of the most economical ways to drum up business for your brand. As this is fairly common knowledge, though, how do you ensure that you both land real estate on the SERPs and stand out from the crowd? The key lies in making an emotional connection with your ads. Here’s how!

How PPC ads work

First, a brief overview of what PPC ads actually are. You may have heard the process described as like bidding on an auction, and that’s exactly right.

Google Ads are probably the most famous form that PPC Ads take. With these, you write your ad, select the desired audience by choosing the relevant keywords you’re targeting and set a budget. Google then assigns all ads a quality score, and the ones deemed to be most relevant and valid for particular keywords appear on the search engine results pages.

The most distinctive characteristic that sets these ads apart from other forms of advertising is the fact that you don’t actually pay until people click on your ad—hence the name! If you can master this art, then, PPC ads provide a fairly affordable way to reach a large audience.

Things to consider when crafting a PPC ad

Question mark in bubble written on paper Image source: Mark Fletcher-Brown (via Unsplash)

Along with the structure, rules and character limits imposed by the ad platform you’re using, you should run through the following when writing your ads:

  • Intended audience
  • Target keyword(s)
  • User intent
  • Tone
  • Call to action (CTA)

Once you establish the audience you’re trying to reach, the target keywords should follow fairly easily. To meet user intent and earn a good quality score from Google, make sure you are addressing the user’s needs and offering a clear solution.

In terms of tone, picture your ideal customer and aim to speak directly to them. This means sticking to a voice and using terminology that will appeal to their particular demographics. Finally, round off your ad with a clear call to action that encourages your audience to take the next step and visit your site.

The role of emotions

Sticking to the guidelines above is all well and good, but you’ll hardly be alone! Most people can manage the basics of PPC ads, so you need to do more if you want to earn a desirable spot on the SERPs. Your potential customers have to decide between a number of options, so what’s going to make your copy stand out? To take your creations to the next level and thus supersede your competitors, make an emotional connection with your ads.

When your ad sparks an emotional reaction in someone, it means they feel seen. This is an incredibly powerful sensation. As a result, it usually triggers some kind of reaction. That’s right—we like to think of ourselves as logical beings, but emotions actually play a huge role in our decision making.

Don’t believe us? Take in these wise words from psychologist, Dr Peter Noel Murray:

“For consumers, perhaps the most important characteristic of emotions is that they push us toward action. In response to emotion, humans are compelled to do something.”

If your ad hits the right note, hopefully that emotional connection will lead to a click that takes them to your page!

How to make an emotional connection

Monkey holding a mirror to its face and looking at the reflection
Image source: Andre Mouton (via Unsplash)

As we said, people want to feel seen. While of course it’s essential that your ads are crafted in a way that is likely to be rewarded by search engines and other ad platforms, what you really need to focus on is the person to whom you want to appeal. Making sure the copy is creative and relatable is way more important than cramming the keyword in wherever you can. In fact, doing the latter could ruin your chances of appearing on the results pages at all!

What it boils down to is eliciting a response and encouraging the person to act on it. The exact way you go about this will depend on what you are selling. One of the most common approaches is to present a problem and then swiftly show how your product or service is the solution. This often takes the form of a question and an answer. Using pronouns is also a great way to make people feel like they are being spoken to or about.

For example, if you are selling an online subscription for hay fever medication, your ad copy may read: Forgot to check the pollen forecast and about to spend your first BBQ of the season inside having a sneezing fit? Don’t let allergies control your life! Sign up for our postal meds today and never let hay fever get the better of you again.

OK, so this won’t have you bawling your eyes out or rolling on the floor laughing, but there are some subtle emotions being tugged at here. If you’ve ever been caught out by hay fever and had a day in the sun blighted by sore eyes and a runny nose, you know that it sucks. Reminding people of this can bring up feelings of dread or fear. The idea of missing out on a fun occasion is also something people find pretty triggering.

Once you have them in this emotional space, your product swoops in and saves the day! The customer then feels compelled to click on the ad, because the act of doing so rewards them with a sense of relief that they are taking action to prevent the problem from occurring.

Pick the emotion carefully

If you’re creating an emotional ad, there are obviously lots of angles you can take. When deciding on which emotion to appeal to, start by establishing the persona that you are adopting in the ad. In other words, what role is your brand or product playing in the scenario you construct? In the hay fever ad above, for example, the product plays the role of saviour. You can also explore options like friend, teacher or bad news messenger (who then quickly provides a solution). Zone in on your target customer and think about what their emotional triggers are likely to be.

Positive emotions

View of field and sky with sun bursting through

Image source: Aaron Burden (via Unsplash)

Positive emotions that you can attempt to provoke with your ads include happiness, affirmation, nostalgia, acceptance and support. A specific benefit of positive emotions is that they cause the brain to release dopamine. Recent studies suggest that dopamine plays an important role in our formation of memories. Triggering this kind of reaction in your audience may therefore make it more likely that they remember your advert and/or brand. Sneaky!

People like to feel like they’re part of a group. A great way to encourage feelings of acceptance or support is to play on in-jokes that only certain demographics (in other words, your target audience) understand. The only downside here is that your ads could quickly become outdated—a particularly big no-no if you’re trying to appeal to younger age groups.

A more fail-safe approach may be to go with a bit of good old flattery. Affirming people’s existing views about themselves or the world is an effective way to encourage them to choose your brand. If you make them feel good about themselves they’re likely to want to stick around and hear more of what you have to offer!

Negative emotions

Blurry scene of dark clouds, trees with rain drops on the lens

Image source: Joy Stamp (via Unsplash)

Sometimes, playing on negative emotions (like anger, guilt, sadness, fear or disgust) can actually wield the best results. Just think about those yearly Christmas ads from supermarkets that have everyone weeping!

According to data obtained by Helen Edwards of WordStream, stoking fear in your target audience can produce the most engagement. Running a campaign for a breast screening agency, she created a positive ad (pointing out how early detection leads to 100% survival rate) and a negative ad (highlighting a scary statistic on the number of years those in whom cancer is detected late can expect to live). The negative ad produced 125% more appointments for the company.

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Once you’ve provoked the desired negative emotion, you soothe those feelings by clarifying the benefits of what you’re selling. By offering a solution you’re flipping it into a positive!

Make an emotional connection with your ads

By now we’ve given you plenty of reasons to create ads that make people feel some kind of way. In the short term, making that emotional connection can push someone to choose your ad over your competitors’. In the long term, it will establish brand loyalty. Finding different ways to achieve this will ensure that your ads stay fresh, relevant and creative.

Short on ideas for your ads? Check out our top tips on how to get your creative juices flowing!