8 Powerful Emotional Triggers for Video Marketing

Mar 16, 2016


Our emotions play a massive part in how we, as consumers, function. Everyone has their favorite commercial or online video. Perhaps it’s one that made you sad or one that brought back some golden memories. Believe it or not, nearly every commercial, both positive and negative, act to do one thing: evoke emotion.

Video Makers will use specific words, music tracks, and engaging visuals to help evoke your emotions. The big question, however, is what does it take for you to share the video and increase its appeal? According to the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, the most shareable videos are the ones that trigger emotions, and in particular, ones with a strong emotional pull (positive or negative) are twice as likely to be shared than videos that provoke.

We’ve put together a list of 8 key emotional triggers, accompanied by a few of our favorite commercials.

1) Joy

Most people enjoy watching moments that brighten up their day or at least bring a smile to their face. People have a sense of urgency when it comes to sharing videos that evoke positive feelings. Marketers want to take us on an emotional journey that moves us. Take the example video below. The image of the police force in America isn’t always positive, so the Lowell Police Department set out to change their perception and bring joy all around.

2) Pride

Some of the greatest marketing campaigns revolve around self-empowerment and pride. For some people feeling ‘’beautiful’’ in a world with supermodels, sports stars and actors/actresses dominating every TV commercial, billboard and magazine cover can be hard. In recent years, online adverts have taken a different direction, inspiring us to feel great inside and outside. Dove is just one many companies out there striving to boost self-esteem and change the conversation around the body.

3) Amusement

Is laughter the best medicine? It surely can be described as one of the best ways to increase your videos online engagement. People remember online videos that make them laugh, feel happy or cheerful. Although you may think hilarity may be one of the more straightforward emotional triggers to tackle, it’s much trickier than you may have originally anticipated. You need to find the perfect balance between making someone laugh and being relevant. The funnier the video tends to be, the more shareable it becomes. Australia’s Metro created a fun and simple video, without compromising their overall marketing message of being safe around trains.

4) Fear

Another emotion which marketers like to trigger is fear. The most typical manner in which marketers use fear is by targeting person’s efficacy. Can the viewer do anything about a particular threat or fear? Those that feel they have no control are likely not to take any action. Instead marketers will identify a fear that already exists, they will empathize with that fear, and finally, act to remove that threat with your contribution.

St Johns Ambulance’s powerful advert combined fear and suspense to grip the audience and make them acutely aware of on-call emergency care. Not all brands, however, choose to use a high-fear approach. Everyday consumer products, such as cleaning and hygiene commodities use low-fear appeals to influence our buying behavior positively.

5) Surprise

To a certain degree, surprise is a common factor amongst most online adverts today. To be successful, marketing videos that intend to surprise, usually combine other emotional triggers into one video. Surprises in videos don’t have to be major plot twists or unexpected events that shock the viewers. A surprise can just be informing viewers about a reduction in your prices or the speed in which you deliver something. Nevertheless, we have chosen a marketing video produced by Guinness, which left us astonished and in some way, jubilant. Take a look.

6) Affection

Did you know that videos with a positive feel generate 40% share increase than videos with a negative theme? Although positive and negative videos still result in twice as many shares as provocation videos, when done right, affection videos can instantly go viral.

Like with many other emotional triggers, you need to find the right balance between a warm display of affection and a sloppy romance. Rather than highlight an advert which focuses on a human relationship, we thought we would show a sweeter one. Behold, Caesar’s brilliant advert between a man and his dog.

7) Uncertainty

Uncertainty is used by marketers to try and get their audience to stop, think and change their behavior. Marketers want you to rethink what you believe you already know. Adobe released a series of adverts, designed to make their viewers question what their marketing team is doing. Take a look at one of the videos in their series ‘’Do You Know What Your Marketing Is Doing?’’ below.

8) Trust

Trust is one of the most desirable emotional triggers for a company. Only once a consumer trusts you, will they repeatedly buy your products or services with minimal cognitive effort. Trust isn’t limited to your customers choosing your products or services, it goes much further. Trust also means that your customers will go out of their way to persuade others why your brand is the perfect for them.

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Although we decided to focus on 8 triggers, there are tons that you can use to evoke feelings and emotions amongst your target audience. Remember, people see a range of marketing messages daily. Give them a reason to digest your marketing video and proceed to take action.