‘Surprised’ emotions in video ads drive conversions during pandemic, study says

Linda J. Dodson

Table of Contents

Dive Brief:

  • Video ads that showed surprised emotions in the first three seconds spurred a 360% jump in performance from start of the pandemic to lockdown, while ads with happy emotions saw a decrease of 64% in conversions, according to a study that video advertising company VidMob shared with Marketing Dive. The company used the purchase rate for online consumers as the key performance indicator for ad effectiveness.
  • Calm videos saw a jump in purchase rate of 156% during lockdowns. Ads showing women drove a 325% increase in performance, compared with 41% decline for ads showing men, the study found.
  • Viewers also responded positively to ads with outdoor settings, which experienced a 60% increase in purchase rate while ads showing indoor settings saw a 57% decline as lockdowns took effect. VidMob analyzed almost 8,700 ads from 44 e-commerce and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands that ran sales conversion campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Audience Network from Jan. 1 to May 8, per the report.

Dive Insight:

Video advertisements that showed “surprised” emotions, outdoor settings and women have been more effective than other kinds of creative during the coronavirus pandemic, per the VidMob report. 

The surge in online shopping by consumers who are staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic makes sales conversions a significant indicator of the effectiveness of video advertising. Brands that seek to drive online sales should consider how their video creative affects the shopping behavior of consumers. That’s especially true for social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram that have increased their support for online shopping during the pandemic.

As VidMob’s study indicates, consumers are more likely to respond to video ads that show surprised emotions rather than happy feelings. That difference reflects the emotions that consumers are feeling amid heightened worries about personal health, job security and the economic outlook. Brands needs to ensure that the emotional content and tone of their video ads match the feelings of consumers. During the pandemic, the most common reason for consumers to buy products and services is their helpfulness or ability to meet a specific need, a separate study by researcher Morning Consult found.

It’s not surprising that people would react more positively to ads that show outdoor settings as people tire of staying indoors or working from home during the pandemic. VidMob didn’t provide a reason for the positive reaction to ads showing women, though the result may reflect the response of women shoppers who responded to videos showing someone relatable. Women make 70% to 80% of consumer purchase decisions in the U.S., making them a key target audience for a variety of products, Forbes reported.

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