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How Does Emotion Affect Peoples Buying Behaviour

How Does Emotion Affect Peoples Buying Behaviour

It is rather undisputed that humans largely rely on their emotions when making purchasing decisions. In fact, Antonio Damasio, a Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern Carolina, says that emotion is required in almost every decision. Since this is the case, as a marketer it is essential that you understand how people are feeling and what how these emotions affect their buying behaviours. In essence, the key is not just to target the buyer but the human.


If we strip things down to the basics, we can ascertain that all emotions stem from 4 main feelings:


- Happy

- Sad

- Angry/disgusted

- Afraid/surprised


We’ll take time to look at two of these core emotions.



When a person is happy, they are more likely to share something on social media. This can be flipped to work in a content creator’s favour, when we say that positive content is more likely to be shared than negative content. Therefore if you are looking to maximise your reach and want lots of followers to share your content, ensure that you are highlighting positive news from within your industry.



Research has shown that negative words are more likely to lead to more people opening the content/clicking on it. Using negative superlatives in your headlines e.g. worst or never work 30% better at getting your attention than no superlative according to research by Outbrain. If you want to flip this idea to positive superlatives such as always and best, you’re more likely to receive worse click through rates. In fact, headlines with negative superlatives were found to have a 63% higher click through rate than headlines with positive superlatives.


The role of imagery

Images are closely tied with emotions. Emotions can conjure up strong images from memories, and images can conjure up strong emotions. They’re instinctual. Take, for instance, the example of those cute puppy images and videos on social media. Rebecca Dyer from Yale argues that seeing these images of adorable animals makes us want to instinctively take care of it. Since it’s only an image and not real life, our brains go a bit crazy! Make sure you choose your images carefully. It’s quite simple when it comes to images: positive images elicit positive emotions and negative images elicit negative emotions, so bear this in mind when you’re sharing content either on social media or on your website.


Whilst classic marketing techniques are effective, it is important to not forget the primal emotions that drive every single one of us!

Posted: 3rd May 2018

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