Grabbing the attention of your audiences and showing them the benefits of your product is important for building a strong online presence.
However, the world of digital advertising is incredibly competitive, making it hard for your products and services to stand out amongst the noise.
Persuasive advertising is an advertising technique that can help you attract the interest of your key target audiences and convince them to give your product a try without being overly educational and informative.
When done right, persuasive advertising can go a long way towards helping your brand build more loyalty and appeal to more people.
In this article, we’ll go over what persuasive advertising is and why it’s different from other digital advertising techniques.
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What is Persuasive Advertising?
Persuasive advertising is a form of digital advertising that leverages the interests, desires, and motivations of your audiences to convince them to make a purchase decision with your brand.
Rather than focusing on the benefits of the product or service itself, persuasive advertising tries to invoke an emotional response from audiences using their own feelings and emotions to build a positive association with products.
By framing the products in a positive light, customers are more compelled to purchase from your brand.
Persuasive advertising looks at three main categories of emotion (more about them below):
- Ethos: Ethics, credibility, character
- Logos: Logic and reason
- Pathos: Feelings and emotions
Based on the type of persuasive advertisement you want to create, you should select one category of emotions and build the punch of your message around the ideals of that category.
That helps you avoid confusing messaging and allows you to create an ad that appeals to your audiences for the right reasons.
The 3 Main Categories of Persuasive Advertising Techniques
The goal of persuasive advertising is to appeal to your target audience and gain their trust.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to choose between the three main categories of advertisements that use persuasive techniques and these are Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.
Here are the differences:
The Ethos category of persuasive advertising techniques centers on messaging that establishes credibility and trustworthiness.
You accomplish this by way of a respected expert, celebrity, or well-known brand who can endorse a product or service.
This speaker or brand can convince the audience that they are ethical, trustworthy, reliable, and of good character and that what they say can be trusted.
For a different approach, the Logos persuasive ads category utilizes logic, reason, and rationality to persuade an audience.
These ads that persuade may use data, facts, statistics, graphs, or tables to appeal to the logical mind of their audience.
The goal is not to appeal to the heart and emotions but to alert the intellect that there is something that makes your product or service stand out.
The Pathos persuasive ads category aims to connect with the audience on an emotional level, appealing to either positive or negative emotions.
Ways to convince the audience include the use of memory, shared experience, nostalgia, or the senses. With these, audiences will feel an emotion while also understanding what you offer.
It is a compassionate pitch to convince them to take action.
Examples of Pathos ads that persuade include one with a cute puppy, a loving mother and child, a distraught family, or a painful condition.
Persuasive Advertising vs. Informative Advertising
Persuasive advertising is often compared to another type of digital advertising strategy, informative advertising.
In order to understand what will work best for your goals and your brand, it’s important that you first understand the differences between the two approaches.
What is Informative Advertising?
Informative advertising uses data, facts, and figures to appeal to audiences and convince them to purchase products.
By sharing the provable benefits of a product or service, brands are able to bring in audiences with statistics and truthful facts rather than feelings and emotions.
Another key feature of informative advertising is the focus of the ad being on the product rather than the customer.
Instead of trying to match the important emotions in a customer, informative advertising will demonstrate the value, features, and benefits of products and services without thinking about how the audience feels about the brand.
Which is More Important for Your Business?
Like with all advertising strategies, there are positives and negatives to informative advertising and persuasive advertising.
The key difference between the two is that while informative advertising uses statistics and data, persuasive advertising relies on emotions.
Many brands would benefit from both of these strategies in different applications.
For example, if you were a shoe brand, you might want to have some advertisements that focus on the features of the shoe like the materials and the science behind the design, while other ads might focus on the way you will feel when doing activities in the shoes and the positive feelings that come from wearing them (like the Nike ad below).
6 Persuasive Advertising Techniques
Now that you have a better understanding of what persuasive advertising is, let’s take a look at some of the different persuasive advertising techniques you can use in your own brand’s digital advertising strategies.
These techniques will help you create compelling advertising examples that use persuasive thinking.
1. The Carrot and the Stick
The carrot and the stick is one of the most popular persuasive advertising techniques.
Logically, it makes sense that people prefer to have rewards over punishments. In advertising, a carrot refers to the potential gains that a customer will have from using a product, and a stick refers to the potential loss a customer will have if they don’t use your product.
An ad could call out the benefits of using a product, like better skin for a moisturizing company, or it could point out loss, like the increased chances of a robbery when a customer doesn’t buy your brand’s home security system.
These types of persuasive strategies work because they target some of the most hardwired feelings in our minds.
2. The Scarcity Principle
You, like many others, probably think that it is cool to have collectibles and items that are scarce in quantity.
It makes the one that you have seem more valuable since it can’t belong to just anyone. This is the scarcity principle in action, and it’s a powerful tool for persuasive advertising.
When you make it seem as though your product is a limited offer, a one-time-only deal, or comes from a limited stock, you can persuade your audiences to make a purchase decision quickly before they lose out on the opportunity.
It taps into emotions of power and self-worth to have products that other people do not have or didn’t get the chance to purchase on time.
3. Writing in the Second Person
Using second-person language with pronouns like “you” and “yours” is another important technique to use in persuasive advertising.
It helps you connect and engage with audiences on a more personal level and can be used to grab their attention and help them visualize your products and services in the present rather than the future.
4. The Call to Value
As marketers, we are all familiar with a call-to-action in marketing collateral.
This is the push you give customers and the action they need to take in order to move to the next step of the customer journey.
In persuasive advertising, it helps to make the CTA a CTV, or call-to-value. That makes it clear to audiences that by clicking the button or the ad, they are benefiting their lives.
5. The Bandwagon Appeal
No one wants to feel left out or left behind.
Joining the bandwagon refers to the process of persuading customers that they won’t be in on the popularity if they don’t have a particular product or item.
Rather than feeling as though they are missing out, a customer will instead try and purchase the product to join in on the appeal and meet their desire to belong.
6. The Celebrity Association
Another powerful tool for persuasive advertising is to use celebrities and influencers to make your appeal to customers more enticing.
People want to be like the people that they admire, and when you use a celebrity testimonial or association, it makes your products appear more desirable and can help your customers decide to make a purchase rather than wait.
6 Persuasive Advertising Examples
In order to excel in persuasive advertising, it can help to have some different examples of what a persuasive ad will look like once it is published.
Let’s take a look at some of the best performing and most recognizable persuasive advertising examples from top brands around the globe.
Heinz, the condiment brand, used persuasive advertising in their partnership with singer Ed Sheeran to appeal to UK audiences.
Ed Sheeran, a notable fan of Heinz, appeared in an ad where he added the product to many different types of food and fancy and luxurious restaurants.
It helped to build a positive association between the singer and the product while making it feel approachable and enticing.
Clorox, the cleaning supply brand, used persuasive advertising with its “Trusted by Moms” campaign.
The campaign used language that focused on how mothers are trusted cleaners and used that as an emotional hook to connect with audiences.
And by avoiding specifics on how many moms bought their products, they were able to build a connection to mothers as a whole.
Lyft, the ride-sharing company, used persuasive advertising in their advertisements where they thanked people who were achievers, hard workers, and also drivers.
By focusing on the customers who needed the product rather than the ride share app itself, Lyft was able to make an emotional connection between people who strive to achieve their goals and the brand itself.
Apple, a global technological brand, appealed to reasonableness and logic to entice its audience to purchase what was, at the time, the newest iPhone.
Instead of comparing the smartphone to competitors, Apple focused on what its product had to offer in the way of technological and physical advancements, such as Face ID software and durable glass, two features its audience finds valuable.
5. Burger King
Burger King, the fast-food restaurant brand, succeeded at persuasive advertising with its “Shadow Campaign.”
Creating an online war of sorts on Twitter, the campaign centered on the promotion of people’s disgruntled tweets about a competitor, Wendy’s.
Relying on emotions, Burger King let the customers do the talking themselves, adding credibility to the messaging.
Also, this is one of the advertisements that uses persuasive techniques that prove fun for the audience, creating laughter.
HP, a global technological device company, targeted a specific audience with its “Nobody’s Watching” campaign.
The persuasive ads campaign centers around the ability of users to easily turn off the camera on their laptops, allowing them to do what they wish without worry of being viewed by others.
By identifying and gearing the persuasive advertising messaging to a specific audience’s concern about their product, HP was able to show why this really is not an issue at all.
Essentially, the message sent out was you can be yourself while using your HP laptop.
You may also be interested in these articles:
- Google Will Allow Users To Control The Display Of Advertising By Topic Or Brand
- How to Get Started Advertising on TikTok
- What McDonald’s And Burger King’s Misleading Advertising Accusations Teach Us About Marketing And Brand Trust
Persuasive advertising focuses the advertising journey on the customer’s desires and interests.
It makes any type of product or service appear in a more positive light, regardless of what it is your brand does. When done right, persuasive advertising will bring in more customers and build brand loyalty through engaging content.
While persuasive advertising is one example of content that delivers, there are many other ways to engage with audiences.
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