Appeal to Emotions

Appeal to Emotions

Emotions form connections. In advertising, emotions can help humanize an ad’s message, which leads to more chances of resonating with viewers. Ads that appeal to emotions focus more on feelings of characters and strong imagery rather than providing a logical reason to believe the ad’s claim.


Generally, we found that mobile app ads that appeal to emotions perform better than ads that don’t show them, and among all emotions, ads that show sadness perform the best. We came to this conclusion by analyzing the results of four various campaigns of a specific app: a campaign that showed a sad ad, one that showed a happy ad, another that showed a neutral emotion (or poker face), and an ad that did not show a character.

emotion-app1-neutral  emotion-app1-sad  emotion-app2-happy  emotion-app2-neutral     

Neutral emotion                Sad emotion               Happy emotion            Without character


Comparing the performance of an ad that showed an emotion versus an ad that did not show a character, we found that the former had 56% lower cost per install (CPI), 30% greater click through rate (CTR), and 65% greater install rate (IR).

When it comes to the comparison between a happy and a neutral emotion, we did not find a difference worth noting. While the happy ad performed better in terms of IR and CPI, the two had the same CR.

Additionally, comparing a happy ad versus a sad ad showed that the latter performed a lot better than the former. The sad ad performed 15% better than the happy ad in terms of CR and had a twice better return on investment (ROI).

Creative Learnings

Our analysis of ads with different emotions showed us that ad viewers responded more to ads that showed a sad emotion compared to an ad that showed a happy emotion. Aside from the emotion itself, it is essential to match the ad emotion with the corresponding background, imagery, and ad copy. To get the right mix, keep testing!


Topics: Creative Insights