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August 2021

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2021

The new study 'Why Do Some Advertisements Get Shared More Than Others' by Prof. Jonah Berger of the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and Daniel McDuff of Microsoft Research published in Journal of Advertising Research, explores the emotional triggers - happiness, sadness, and even disgust - that make people want to share advertising content. Prof. Berger is also the author of the books, 'Contagious' and 'The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind'. The study investigates the link between emotional responses to video ads and sharing. The researchers found that positive emotions resulted in more sharing, but so did feelings of disgust. Prof. Berger says, 'Everyone wants their content to be shared - from companies with their ads to 'influencers' with their videos to content marketers with their content. But actually getting consumers to share is harder than most people think.' Prof. Berger mentions that for the study they used facial expressions of participants as indicator of emotions. He says, 'It certainly seems easier to ask people how they feel or have them rate their response on scale. But there's a problem: Self-reports are often inaccurate. People don't always have a good sense of what they are feeling, and even if they give you an answer, it's not always correct. Further, people sometimes bias their responses based on what they think you want to hear. So, facial expressions can be a valuable alternative. Our face often signals how we're feeling even if we don’t realize it.' Stating the key findings and implications of the study, Prof. Berger says, 'While ads that made people smile were more likely to be shared, some negative emotions, like sadness or confusion, decreased sharing, while others, like disgust, increased it. Consistent with other research we've conducted, this highlights that rather than just being about feeling good or bad, sharing is also about the physiological arousal associated with different emotions. Emotions that fire us up to take action, like anger and anxiety (and in this case, disgust) boost sharing, while emotions that power us down (like sadness), decrease sharing. This has a number of important implications for marketers. First, if you want people to share, making them feel good isn't enough. Feeling content isn't going to make people share. You have to fire them up. Make them feel excited, inspired, or surprised. Second, you don't have to shy away from negative emotions. Because they fire people up, anger, anxiety or even disgust can be leveraged to encourage word of mouth.' Read on...

Knowledge@Wharton: What Makes Some Ads More Shareable Than Others?
Author: NA



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