Why Mood should be an Important Consideration for Advertisers

Date posted: 8 Apr 2020

Posted by: Garett Farrell

Post category: Insights

Our proud nation is great at getting through tough times with our wicked sense of humour and stoic attitude to adversity. Despite the current circumstances, there are some hilarious videos and memes doing the rounds which are keeping everyone’s spirits up. Mood dictates how we adapt to circumstances, and maintaining a positive attitude is important for our wellbeing.

Mood should be an important consideration for advertisers too, now that almost all advertising can be delivered exactly when and where the advertiser chooses. There are some great deals out there to reach your target audiences cost effectively at the moment, but we always advise our clients to make sure they are considering how their brand communicates with their target audience given the environment.

This led us to looking at mood difference between 2 broad target audiences – men and women. Using IPA Touchpoints Time Diary Survey, we have conducted a very simple piece of research to demonstrate the differences between men and women when it comes to mood.

Firstly, women are 15% more likely than men to feel that external factors can affect the amount of attention they give to advertising. External factors being – their mood, the time of day, the day of week, where they are.

We can also infer from this that more attention will be given to the ad if the combination of external factors is just right – arguably when you’re in a better mood you’re more susceptible to advertising.

Hitting your target audience when they are in a good mood is not a guarantee that your advertising will be better received, it is a good place to start. We looked at when men and women perceived themselves to be in a better mood from Mon-Sun by time of day, Mon-Sun (green is in a good mood; red is in a bad mood).

source: IPA Touchpoints Diary Survey, 2019, sample side: 4101 UK Adults
source: IPA Touchpoints Diary Survey, 2019, sample side: 4101 UK Adults

Men perceive their mood to fluctuate less, but it is women who definitely see themselves as being in a better mood in general and particularly towards the end of the week.

Mood plays a key part in our decision making. A 2011 US study found that at the start of the day, or immediately after a break, judges were 65% more likely to grant parole. Whereas, as lunchtime neared this decreased to nearly 0% – perhaps the side of effects of being hangry! (Jonathan Levav, Columbia Business School, ‘Extraneous Factors in Judicial Decisions’, 2011).

Mood also influences how much we remember ads. In 2016, Research from University of Amsterdam, looked at the way mood impacted ad recall. They asked participants to review a newspaper and found that readers in a positive mood remembered 28% more ads than those in a bad mood (‘In the Mood for Advertising’; 2016).

Effective advertising shouldn’t just focus on positive mood. Research in 2009 identified that ads that make claims like ‘everyone is doing it’ or ‘over 1 million sold’ are more effective when people are in a state of fear (V. Griskevicius, ‘Fear and Loving in Las Vegas’). Similarly, Cialdini & Kenrick found that if the consumer’s mood is negative, they are more likely to be more generous to help lift their mood. This is something that charities have capitalised on for a long time (1976.’ Altruism as Hedonism’).

What we all know is that consumers aren’t always rational; they have mood swings that are influenced by a variety of external factors. For advertisers to identify exactly when this occurs and take advantage of it is hard – but perhaps not impossible….

….a-dapt – a tech start-up, are trying to help advertisers benefit from the different mood states of consumers. They have developed a platform that can analyse in real-time people’s facial expressions from phone camera images and from this determine their mood. They can then serve the user appropriate content or ads based on their mood  – imagine being served an ad for Kleenex if you look sad or an eye test if you squint a lot!

For now, let’s just take out 2 things: firstly, the impact your ad will have will depend on the mood of the individual at that precise time. Secondly, men are a bit grumpier than women – but we probably knew this already!

If you’d like more information, please feel free to contact me, Garett, Head of Planning at Smithfield Media on 07539 729 732.

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