Music Match Ads

Katy Perry, Emotion, and How to Match Ads to Your Users’ Mood

Music and Emotion

There’s nothing like a great song to put you in a happy mood, or for that matter, a sad song to make you teary-eyed. Hollywood has mastered the use of music to evoke a specific emotion in their films; sport teams know the importance of music to pump up for the big game; and even in the Vicomi office, we have a perfectly constructed playlist to put everyone in a good – yet productive – mood.


This strong link between music and emotion has been well studied in the science community (study, study, study), but it is also something that as humans, we intuitively know. If you need convincing, just check out this video of Katy Perry cheering up a crying baby.


Moods and Advertising

Horizon Media, a successful media-services agency, announced that they would be matching ads to their listeners’ mood. Based on the type of music their audience is listening to – and even the time of day they are tuning in – the media giant wants to create ads for the predicted emotion of their listeners. Similarly, in April, Spotify announced they would be adding a feature allowing advertisers to reach potential customers based on particular moods and playlist types.


Perhaps it’s this strong connection between music and emotion that has inspired radio advertisers to match their ads to potential customers’ moods, but what about applying this idea of “emotional context” to ads placed on other types of content?


Websites such as publishing sites and blogs, post content that evokes emotion all the time. A touching piece about a mother and son reuniting can evoke just as much emotion as any Katy Perry song. If Horizon Media can use “emotional context “to match the mood of their listeners, then advertisers on these publishing sites, can also use this information to find the right audience, and design ads that fit the emotion of the article.


Ads and Mood Mismatch

But what exactly does it mean to “match the emotion” of a piece of content?


A recent study in the Journal of Marketing, found that a “mood mismatch” between the television show and the advertisements made the ads much less effective. The study found that people are more likely to skip “highly energetic” ads when they are in “deactivated” mood from watching serious or dramatic shows. They are also less likely to remember the ad’s message.


This study suggests that knowing the mood of their audience is not just helpful, but crucial for creating successful advertisements.


Emotional Intelligence and Advertising

Besides avoiding mood mismatches, there are other ways advertisers can apply emotional intelligence to create better ads. Using our tools for measuring readers’ emotions, we have found some other interesting insights regarding “emotional context” and the ads that users click on.


For instance, we discovered that when feeling angry, readers click on ads that provide immediate results. However, happy readers tend to click on more ads. This is in a global view and it varies depending on the type of publishing site (i.e. sports, fashion, news, etc).


Applying these types of findings – with even more to come – advertisers can create more successful commercials while publishers can improve the click rates of the ads placed on their content.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that it’s crucial not to “play” with user’s emotions. Facebook, for instance, has been criticized for a recent study where they adjusted the emotional content of the stories and updates sent to users’ Facebook feeds. As to not jeopardize your users’ trust, those looking to gain insights into their users’ emotions should do so in a passive, observational way.


In Conclusion

So, maybe its time for advertisers and publishers to take a cue from the music world. A better understanding of users’ emotion may be the key to creating better advertisements and could be instrumental in generating revenue and ensuring the sites’ success.


Have any thoughts, or questions? Let me know below in the comments.


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