Emotion in Marketing QuoteEmotions. You know you need them. You know they help drive action. You know video is a great way to bring them out. But how the heck do you actually do it? And which emotions are you looking to arouse, anyway?

Hold up a minute. If you’re thinking either one of “do emotions actually drive sales?” or “c’mon, we’re a B2B company, do we really need to get all mushy”, the answer is yes and also yes. But we’ve already been there and done that. Go ahead, if you’re really dying for the elaborate answer, and read up on those topics. But the reader’s digest version is this:

There’s no doubt about it – emotions drive action. So you should probably be using emotion in your videos in a smart and strategic way. If you’re not, you might be missing out on some extra ‘cha-ching’!

So the real question is: if emotions in video will get you where you want to go, how do you get to emotions?

Knowing which Emotion to Evoke

The first step to creating effective emotional videos is to determine what you want your audience to feel. So if you’re feeling grumpy one Wednesday afternoon and you want your audience to be able to empathize with how you feel, go for it! Use that as a little inspiration.

Ha! … Kidding.

Like we always emphasize, the creation of every video asset should be strategic. As in, what’s the purpose of this video? What action do you want viewers to complete? With a little strategic direction, you can now choose your emotion with more purpose.

Current research breaks emotional triggers into two main actions post-viewing: sharing and buying. While your specific goal may sit along a spectrum somewhere between building awareness and converting qualified leads, these two categories of emotional impact will get you well on your way.

Emotions that Drive Awareness

Building Awareness with VideoIf you’re creating a video to build more awareness for your brand or a specific product, event, or newsworthy item, you’re probably looking to drive shares. In addition to awareness, sharing can also help to both increase search rankings and qualify prospects.

A recent study conducted by Frac.tl, a full-service digital marketing agency, evaluated the emotions that contribute to sharing. The study found that videos evoking surprise and anticipation-related emotions were more likely to be shared. The most impactful, in particular, were:

  1. Amusement
  2. Interest
  3. Surprise
  4. Happiness
  5. Delight
  6. Pleasure
  7. Joy
  8. Hope
  9. Affection
  10. Excitement

So infuse your videos with a little laughter or triumph and watch your shares climb.

Emotions that Drive Conversion

Convert with EmotionWhat if you’re looking for deeper funnel results? In Barry Feig’s book Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons That Get People to Buy, he uncovered 16 emotional opportunities that drive conversion:

  1. Desire for control
  2. I’m better than you
  3. Excitement of discovery
  4. Revaluing
  5. Family values
  6. Desire to belong
  7. Fun is its own reward
  8. Poverty of time
  9. Desire to get the best
  10. Self-achievement
  11. Sex, love, romance
  12. Nurturing response
  13. Reinventing oneself
  14. Make me smarter
  15. Power, dominance and influence
  16. Wish-fulfillment

Tying Emotions to Video Production

Choosing the right feeling is half the battle. Well, actually more like 10%. If you can’t execute on that emotion in video planning, production, and editing, then no one’s going to be feeling all the feels; neither you, your viewers, or emotional Eve over there.

Video Scripts for EmotionScript:

First and foremost, to nail a great, feelings-full video, you need a great story. A compelling one. The best stories reel your audience in, they’re irresistible and they present your message in such a way that viewers hear, understand, and remember your message.

When creating an emotionally-charged story, remember to provide gaps for “emotional cleansing”. In other words, allow your audience time to regroup and be won-over by emotions again. As Thales Teixeira, Assistant Marketing Professor at the Harvard Business School, explains:

“Build an emotional roller coaster. Viewers are most likely to continue watching a video ad if they experience emotional ups and downs. This fits with psychological-research findings about human adaptability. When we come into a warm home on a cold winter day, or when we receive a pay raise, we experience pleasure, but the feeling is transitory; the novelty soon wears off. So advertisers need to briefly terminate viewers’ feelings of joy or surprise and then quickly restore them, creating an emotional roller coaster—much the way a movie generates suspense by alternating tension and relief.”


Pick acting talent that is believable. There’s not much worse than knowing a video was made to be funny but finding it just so cheesy. This will have the exact opposite impact than you were hoping for.

Talent for Emotional VideosYou can solve this one pretty simply: when you’re scoping out talent, look at all talents’ previous work. Is it believable? Does it make you laugh, cry, desire, fear, or emote in any way? And more importantly, do you think what you’re feeling was their intention? Hint: crying because their acting is so bad doesn’t count.


Music can have a profound impact on our emotions. In fact, when participants of a study at the University of London were shown the same visual stimuli with different music, their interpretations and related emotions differed significantly.

Which means that your music choice is paramount. … err no pressure.Emotional Music for Video

The genre, instruments, frequency, and dynamics of a musical piece can all impact viewers of your marketing videos. But no worries. From identifying to sourcing the right music, we’ve got you covered in “How to choose the best music for your video marketing projects”.

Testing for Emotional Effectiveness

Let’s face it: if your video isn’t making you and your video production team reach for the tissues or grip the edge of your desk with the force of a mini Godzilla, you’re probably doomed.

But not actually.

Phewf! You’re a sample size of only a few and more than likely not your target audience. This is where video testing comes in to play. Which, P.S., means that even if you are dripping with feelings, you’ll still want to test the effectiveness with representatives of your target audience.

Conduct a small focus-group of (relatively) unbiased consumers in your target group and ask them what they feel. Or even better – watch their reactions during the video (since a large percentage of us aren’t actually in touch with our emotions, anyway).

Where do you find these focus-group participants? Rockstar community members are a great place to start.


Emotions go beyond the nervousness you had when you took your first free kick in minor soccer, and can impact more than your mood at your next performance review. They can have measurable impacts on business success.

Plus, with a systematic approach you can be the hero that brings on the feelings AND converts the prospects. I mean, what more could you really want?

Kimbe MacMaster