The Data Is Clear: Emotional Content Clicks

by Tiffany Parnell, Senior Copywriter - 01/19/16


When it comes to making a purchase, people are more likely to base their decisions on emotion—even if they’ve performed research and considered statistics and other factually based information. Find out why you need to harness the power of your target audience’s emotions.

According to an infographic from Domosphere, Google processes more than 4 million search queries and Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content every minute, and this number has likely increased since the initial data was compiled in April 2014. With so much Web chatter competing for consumers’ attention, marketers and analysts have been searching to answer an important question, “What sets viral content apart?” Evidence suggests that viral content reaches people on an emotional level. It makes them feel something.

Finding Moments of Connection

Several studies have shed light on the role emotions play in content marketing. One of the most recent, conducted by AOL Insights, examined 7,300 content moments, which are defined by a white paper describing the results as “…an occasion when a person engages with a specific form of content, such as an article, video, or blog post.” Content moments elicit feelings—for example, people may feel entertained, relaxed, or inspired after the content exposure.

The Eight Driving Forces of Connection 

By studying content moments, analysts identified eight driving forces, or content segments, that lead people to interact with content. They were also able to determine the highest-ranking topics in each segment and find out which segments resonated most with specific audiences.



Applications for Health Care

How can marketers in the healthcare space use this data? Results revealed that people commonly search for health and wellness topics to find specific information. Baby Boomers, moms, and African-American adults comprised the top three audiences engaging with content in the “Find” segment, which accounts for 16 percent of content moments. According to the white paper, consumers who engaged with content in the “Find” category sought answers to questions, wanted to learn something new, or were simply seeking advice—and engaging content left them feeling ready to tackle new challenges.

The AOL Insights study supports the findings of myriad other researchers. Katherine Milkman and Jonah Berger, professors at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, for example, examined nearly 7,000 pieces of online content produced by The New York Times and conducted laboratory experiments to determine what makes content share-worthy. They found that emotion-inducing content had the greatest chances of going viral, and positive, uplifting, and awe-inspiring content was shared even more frequently than content that produced a negative emotional response.

Key Takeaways

If you’re looking for connections, creating surprising or inspiring content may be just as important as presenting relevant, useful information. The next time you write about a commonly searched topic like heart disease, weight-loss surgery, or the benefits of a joint replacement procedure, don’t overlook the potential impact of a moving patient testimonial.

Learn more about creating content subscribers want to read.

 Read the "Crash Course in Content Creation"

Topics: Audience Segmentation & Targeting, Content Strategy

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