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Emotional Marketing: How to Use It to Create Powerful Facebook Ads

By The Leadpages Team  |  Published Aug 14, 2018  |  Updated Nov 17, 2023
Leadpages Team
By The Leadpages Team
Emotional Marketing: How To Use It To Create Powerful Facebook Ads

Editor’s Note: Maggie Stara, an independent digital marketing specialist, penned this fine post as a Leadpages Guest Blogger. Marketers know that people don't buy products, they buy better versions of themselves. And while rational messages might lead us to a logical conclusion, it's the emotional marketing that leads us to take action. That's why I've gathered together some of the best emotional facebook ad examples that I could find. If you're prone to get teary-eyed when you watch videos featuring golden buzzer moments from America's Got Talent then this post, my emotionally-tuned-in friend, is for you. The reason these videos get so many views, comments, likes, and shares is because they leverage the power of emotional marketing. We watch these videos because we’re dying to know what the contestant will perform and why it inspired thousands of people to talk about it and share it. These videos make us feel curious about the nature of the act, sad due to the performer’s likely turbulent backstory, and happy that they get their chance to shine. Not only that, but they also have a tendency to bolster our own self-esteem and sense of belonging by engaging us to watch, share, and discuss it with others. In this post, I'll be giving you 7 tips for creating your own golden buzzer moments by leveraging the power of emotional marketing in your Facebook ads. If you can effectively apply these tips to your ad creation process, you'll be able to captivate your audience, boost your trust factor, and ultimately increase your return on ad spend (ROAS) as you're able to increase engagement, lower your cost per click, and create loyal customers willing to buy from you again and again. All because you’re appealing to their emotional side. Are you ready for your golden buzzer moment? Then let’s do it!

What is emotional marketing and why is it so powerful in getting sales?

what is emotional marketing

Neuroscientists have actually found that 95% of our purchase decision making takes place subconsciously drawing largely on emotion or ‘gut instinct’. We feel first, think second. Ignoring this fact and appealing to logic over emotion often leads even the most carefully constructed ads to flop. Why? Because it's not able to captivate our interest enough to pause the inertia of scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through our Facebook feeds. But emotional marketing is so much more complex than just getting an emotional reaction out of someone in order to get them to buy our products and services. What it really comes down to is actually incredibly simple: we buy from people that we know, like and trust. This is sometimes referred to as the know-like-trust framework and is an excellent model to apply when you consider your consumer's journey with your brand. Moreover, the single most significant barrier to our purchase-making decision is fear. And by getting your audience to know, like and trust you—you naturally begin to eliminate fear from the sales process. Think of this in terms of building a romantic relationship with your partner. Asking for the sale is like asking them to marry you, which you probably wouldn’t do on the first date right? I hope not. So you have to lead up to this part by building a connection first and by letting the relationship develop and grow over time. It’s a no-brainer, right? Well, the same is true of the web users you hope to convert into customers. Finally, by leveraging emotional marketing it’ll not only be easier for you to get new customers but you’ll also be building brand loyalty at the same time, leading to more effortless repeat business and increasing your customer retention. So now that we know why emotional marketing is important, let’s go into the tips and tricks that will help you to get your ideal customers to know, like, and trust you—thus leading to more conversions and a higher return on your ad spend.

Tip #1: Build social proof

Facebook is a social network. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh wow, thanks Captain Obvious” right? Well, it's something that's obvious and obviously forgotten by 90% of the advertisers who spend money on Facebook ads. It’s important to remember that your ads aren’t just competing with other people’s ads. Your ad is competing with everything else your audience could look at and engage with on Facebook. That means that your true competition is the updates from your customers’ friends and family. If your ad for fungal creme is competing for your customer’s attention with pictures of their newborn niece, then you desperately need some social magic to captivate them. The first of way to build social proof with your ads is to initially run your ad with a post-engagement objective, which means you're hoping to gain comments, likes and shares. Then, when you later run the same ad in a campaign with a traffic or conversion objective, it will already have more authority in your customers’ minds due to this social proof. Consider the ad below.

Moz Ad shows power of social proof

Even if you had no idea what Moz is all about, you’d probably look at the impressive number of shares, views, comments and likes and play the video to find out more. That’s the power of social proof. The second way to do this is by including some social proof within the ad itself. You can do this by featuring reviews, testimonials, and mentioning the exact numbers of people who already use your product or service within the ad copy as you can see in the example below.

Leadpages Facebook Ad - word of mouth advertising

This is emotional marketing at its best as it’s essentially a digital form of word of mouth advertising and it triggers the know, like, and trust factor in the minds of your customers. Because after all: 45,000 entrepreneurs can’t be wrong, right? And if single mom named Janice from Florida gave your product 5/5 stars then why wouldn’t single mom named Lynda from New York feel more at ease in purchasing your product? Of course, she would. Note: this method is most effective when you get really specific with it by demonstrating how your product or service helped someone. It can be the difference in impact between:

ad comparison with testimonial

As a parent of a teen struggling to get clear skin, which ad would you be more likely to click through on? The reason the second one is so powerful is because it tells a story and emotionally-charged storytelling creates a rush of dopamine in the brain. It takes you through the customer’s journey from their before state (shy, struggling to belong, low self-esteem, bad skin) to the after state (confident, part of a group, clear skin). This ad leverages emotional marketing by acting as a trigger for the viewer who can identify with Molly’s experience. Note: for this to work effectively, it’s important to also know who your customer is and what their pain points are which your product solves for them.

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Tip #2: Utilize User-Generated Content (UGC)

If you’re in the process of building your brand, you may not have a lot of reviews, photos, or articles that have been written by the users of your product yet. But if you do or when that time comes, these articles can be an incredibly powerful and inexpensive way to use emotional marketing in your campaigns. UGC is powerful because of its raw, human, unedited realness that makes it incredibly relatable. It’s inexpensive because your audience members create the content for you and will likely share it with their friends and family if it's featured in a blog post or Facebook ad. In fact, one survey found that 76% of people trusted content generated by consumers more than content created by brands themselves. In this same survey, it was found that this trend was particularly strong for younger generations. Because of this, if your product is aimed at younger demographics, you definitely need to be thinking about how to leverage this in your marketing efforts. This is particularly true if Instagram is an important part of your emotional marketing strategy as UGC on Instagram can be incredibly effective if executed well.

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Source: Buffer Instagram

You can also create a custom hashtag for your brand that your customers can use when they post about your products and give them a chance to get featured. Apple’s Instagram account, for example, features solely content submitted by their customers using the hashtag #ShotoniPhone.


This is one of the best examples of showcasing customer stories and building the kind of trust factor we’ve talked a lot about in this post. Photos that are taken by customers also look a lot more like ones posted by friends and family so this makes Apple's content appear more natural in the Facebook feed and less like an ad. Note: just make sure you have permission from the original creator if you’re using their content in a paid advertising campaign!

Tip #3: Don’t sell them anything… yet

Think about how many times you’ve been stopped on the street by someone asking you to sign up for something or buy from them. In most cases, this probably happened before they even told you who they were, what their product or service was, and why you should even care.

I don’t know whether it’s my resting happy face or my child-like stature but I get approached by these people almost on a daily basis. This is annoying but also great research for emotional marketing because I’m now able to share the following advice with you: People like to buy but they don’t like to be sold to. Whether the product is a $2,000 TV or a $9 oversized shirt with the words “#1 Hustler” written across the chest—people want to feel good about their purchase. This is why your Facebook ads strategy will benefit if you're able to offer your audience value before asking for anything in return (with the exception of their email address so you can send the valuable content straight to their inbox!) The higher the cost of the product or service you’ll ultimately be asking them to buy, the more value you need to offer before asking for the sale. If you own an online clothing store and you’re advertising a $19 dress, you can probably get away with just running ads to audiences who have never heard of your brand but have an interest in what you’re selling. If, however, you’re a business coach selling one-to-one coaching programs valued at $10,000 each, then you’ll need to give people an enormous amount of free value so that they think, “Wow, if their free stuff is this good, I wonder how valuable their paid stuff is?” Trust is perhaps the most important part of using emotional marketing effectively in your ads and by not asking for anything in return you’re building valuable trust with your customers. Keep in mind though, how you structure your freebie content offers is dependent upon your industry, your product or service and its price point. But the more you can warm people up by letting them know who you are and how you can help them, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you when it’s time to make your pitch.

Tip #4: Get in front of the camera

A staggering 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best return on investment. Video is so incredibly powerful, yet still today only a few brands are using video in their advertising efforts and even fewer are using it effectively. So why aren’t people using it more? Of course, video content takes more effort to create but the main reason people aren’t using it is usually related to fear. Video requires brands to get vulnerable and transparent with their audience, which can sometimes be frightening. This is also exactly why video is incredibly powerful in creating effective (and potentially viral) emotional marketing campaigns. In fact, reports show that consumers are 27.4 times more likely to click on a video ad than static ads. This is because in a world where we see up to 10,000 brand messages per day, video is just about the only thing that does get our attention. Not only does social video get our attention, it also generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. And although it’s great to get likes and comments on your ads, shares are what you’re truly after. Think about social media shares as the part emotional marketing that you don’t have to pay for. So get in front of the camera (or behind it if it’s less scary). You can show your viewers a demo of your product or give them a behind the scenes tour of your headquarters. Get creative with it and remember to leverage the power of storytelling!

Tip #5: Show your audience you care

The next time you see an ad with hundreds of comments, I encourage you to read through them. There’s a good chance you’ll find at least a few that are questions from potential customers or existing customers that have gone unanswered for months.

why you need social proof on Facebook Ads

Source: Agorapulse

Responding to your customers when they engage with your ads can be the easiest way to show them you care. After all, they’re already expressing interest and initiating the conversation. Conversely, not responding to them can be the easiest way to lose a potentially valuable customer. To avoid this loss, you can set up your Facebook preferences to email you every time someone comments on one of your ads. The other way to show them you care is to use very targeted copy for each of your ad sets. You’ll notice each of the ads below is directed at a specific audience even though the product is the same for both:

Cat Howell Ad copy Targets specific audiences

This is a great example of how just because your product or service serves a variety of audiences doesn’t mean your ad should be one-size-fits-all. Targeted copy that hits your customers’ pain points is a powerful part of your emotional marketing strategy and will always convert better than generic, cookie-cutter copy. Let me demonstrate with the following example: Imagine you’re advertising a discount on youth group travel tours to Europe. You’re looking to advertise this to parents of 14 to 18-year-olds with an interest in travel, and also to the 14 to 18-year-olds themselves. You could use the following copy for both ad sets: “Get your discount for 20% off all trips to Europe below!” Or you could split it up: Parents of young travellers:“ Parent of the Year Award goes to you, congratulations! (Or it will once you give them the gift of adventure)Send your child on a European trip they’ll never forget and get 20% off when you book by ____” Young travellers:“Saying “I’d like to go on an immersive language trip” is how we recommend you break the news that you’re going to Europe to your parents. Trust us, it’s way easier than saying “I’d like to eat my weight in croissants, pasta, and pizza while getting my tan on.” And if the promise of delicious food and Instagram-worthy tan lines wasn’t enough - we’re also giving you 20% off all of our European trips if you book by _____! It makes a big difference, right? Showing that you understand your audience through your Facebook ads in this way can make all the difference.

Tip #6: Understand the power of the creative part of your ads.

The ‘creative’ part of your Facebook ad refers to the image or video content you choose. Never underestimate the incredible power of this piece of your ad real estate. For example, did you know that images of pregnant women actually release oxytocin, the ‘care chemical’, in both men and women? Crazy, right? Talk about putting the ‘emotional’ in emotional marketing! But it gets even better. There’s also a psychological effect called pareidolia which causes us to look for faces in everything from a burnt piece of your morning toast to the mystery stain on your bathroom wall. So if we like seeing faces in everyday objects, then we definitely like seeing them in ads. Additionally, eye contact in an ad has been shown to increase a customer’s trust and the feeling of connection with the brand. Let’s have a look at an example of some smart creative in practice:

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Source: Social Media Examiner

The image isn’t particularly polished in quality, so at first glance, it appears almost user-generated which makes it relatable. Then, with a second look, you’ll see there’s something strange about the shadow and begin to wonder why that is. Naturally, you begin to investigate by reading the copy. The copy then goes even further into sparking curiosity making this an incredibly clickable ad overall. P.S. Noah Kagan, the guy in the image, actually used to work for Facebook so he knows a thing or two about creating great ads! Another example is the one below from Marie Forleo: It’s incredibly bright so it catches our attention, Marie has direct eye contact with the viewer and her hands almost appear as if they’re trying to grab the viewer through the screen. This combined with the text “Will you be adored… OR IGNORED?” makes it an ad creative full of powerful emotional triggers that makes us want to know more.

Tip #7: Tug on their heartstrings

Some of the most successful emotional marketing campaigns in the world barely mention any features or benefits of the brand’s product or service. The following is an ad Nike produced after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals for the first time in 52 years: https://player.vimeo.com/video/171351069 It’s not selling you a shoe and it’s not telling you about any features or benefits. It’s simply tugging at the heartstrings while featuring a story of human greatness. It may not make you go out and buy a pair of Nike shoes right after seeing it, but the next time you’re looking to upgrade your running kit, I can bet that thanks to ads like this you’ll be more inclined to buy from Nike. Here’s another one for you:

This is as an 8-minute long video about the story of actor Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones’ Khal Drogo). It also happens to be an ad for a pair of pants which you don’t find out until the last minute of the video. But by that point in the video, you’re so emotionally invested in Jason’s story that you’re just about ready to buy whatever the product is. Yes, big companies will have an edge with their crazy budgets to make this kind of emotional marketing magic happen but you can certainly leverage the power of human connection through your content, even on a tight budget. The story will always be much more important than the production value.

Your Next Steps to Create Emotional Facebook Ads for Your Marketing:

By now you know the power of leveraging emotional marketing and human connection to get your audience to know, like and trust you and ultimately buy from you. In many cases, it is the emotions that your ads evoke which will have a large impact on the success or failure of your ads campaign. Here are the tips that you can now use to craft the perfect emotion-driven ad campaign:

  • Tip #1: Build social proof
  • Tip #2: Use User Generated Content (UGC)
  • Tip #3: Don’t sell them anything… yet
  • Tip #4: Get in front of the camera
  • Tip #5: Show your audience you care
  • Tip #6: Understand the power of the creative part of your ads.
  • Tip #7: Tug on their heartstrings

With this part handled, it’s time to think about how to use these to connect with your audience by creating powerful landing pages that aren’t overly sleazy or salesy. Finally, I also encourage you to draw on ideas from other people’s already successful Facebook ad campaigns and apply them to your own business. Here are 10 amazing Facebook ads to get you started! And if you’ve got some tips of your own for how to use emotional marketing to make Facebook ad campaigns more successful then please, let me know in the comments below!

Meet the author: Maggie Stara

Maggie Stara Headshot

Maggie Stara is a location independent digital marketing specialist as well as the co-founder and online instructor of Living to Roam, a one-stop-knowledge-shop for all the marketing and travel needs of freedom focused business owners and remote workers.

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Leadpages Team
By The Leadpages Team
Emotional Marketing: How To Use It To Create Powerful Facebook Ads
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