How to Use Emotional Impact on Your Facebook Ads


Kevin Urrutia




January 23, 2022

Facebook advertising doesn’t get as much attention today as it once did — at least in some circles. Today, more companies than ever before are focusing on other marketing channels, like Instagram and Snapchat.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways you can benefit from Facebook advertising as a budding startup business. 

Facebook is now the fifth-most-valuable company in the entire world, with a market value of around $746 billion. With 2.38 billion monthly active users, 1.15 billion of which are mobile-only users, and 1.56 of which go online every day.

So, with those numbers in mind, it makes sense that startup companies would want to craft Facebook campaigns that have a positive lasting impact. A smart move would be to create ads that capture people’s attention before any other competitor can get to them. While there are plenty of tips around doing this on the web today, the thing we’re going to focus on today is emotion.

One analysis of around 1,400 successful ad campaign studies found that campaigns with entirely emotional content performed around twice as well as those with rational content. When you spice up your campaigns with emotion and excitement, you can capture the minds and hearts of your audience.

Here are a few ways that you can do exactly that.

Understand the Loss Aversion Technique

If you’ve ever done something, not because you genuinely wanted to, but because you were afraid that you might miss out on something important if you didn’t do it, then you’re a slave to what some people call “FOMO” — the fear of missing out.

Maybe you were invited to a party during high school, and you didn’t want to go to the party really, but you didn’t want to miss the chance of running into your friends. We frequently do things simply because we’re more afraid of missing out than we are of actually taking the risk, or taking the plunge.

One study of millennials found that around 69% are victims to this experience of loss aversion, and people are terrified of being “the only one” who hasn’t had an amazing experience.  For instance, look at this ad from the Carphone warehouse:

The English phone company uses the concept of loss aversion not by telling people they could “save £194” a year on their phone tariff, but by implying that they could already be wasting that much. This simple marketing technique pushes people to save themselves by taking action. 

From a Facebook ad perspective, did the same thing with this ad, that tells people they need to get a tool if they want to see serious viral growth:

To use this technique in your own startup Facebook marketing efforts, remember to:

  • Make your Facebook ad offer “limited” or “restricted” to a certain number of people, to include a sense of urgency;
  • Make your reader feel like they could be a part of an amazing community, and they’re missing out by not taking action;
  • Mention the number of people who are already benefitting from your service or product.

Use Curiosity Gaps

Read through sites like Buzzfeed or Upworthy, and you’ll read a headline with a phrase like, “A neighborhood mom thought she caught her teen babysitter smoking and was hilariously wrong.” Ever wondered what makes those click-bait articles so effective?

You hate them, and you know for a fact that they’re designed to get you to click through and read some half-hearted article, or browse through an endless slide-show of pictures, yet you still feel compelled to go ahead and find out what the title is talking about.

Both Buzzfeed and Upworthy are masters in the content space because they create irresistible headlines using “curiosity gaps.

The best way to describe a curiosity gap is to say that it’s something that makes your reader want to get clicking. For instance, Copy Hackers saw a 927% boost in clicks on their website when they added curiosity to the mix.

Look at this ad from Hubspot on Facebook: 

It works because it doesn’t tell you that downloading something or subscribing to a service could get you higher rankings on Google. Instead, it simply asks you how well you’re doing. If you don’t know, then you can click directly on the CTA button and find out.

The curiosity gap formula doesn’t have to be centered around a clickbait headline or title. However, it does have to ask a question that your customer wants to answer.

Remember, if your startup target audience doesn’t care about the question you’re asking, then that’s not going to get you anywhere, so make sure that you know exactly who you’re talking to, and remember:

  • Ask an important question;
  • Imply that you’re going to answer an important question;
  • Or say something interesting but leave the punchline on the other side of a link.

Make them Happy

Marketers should always be trying to make their customers happy. It’s just good business.

A study conducted in 2010 of the most-shared New York Times articles found that emotional articles were the ones most frequently shared. The same study also found that positive posts saw more interaction than negative ones, on average.

This idea of building on happiness is a good one to keep in mind for your Facebook marketing strategies. There’s a chance that the more positive you go with your ads and messages, the more likely you’ll be to get likes, clicks, and engagement.

So, how does your startup make people happy?

It’s simpler than you think.

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook then you should already know that bright colors are great for creating a happy, and friendly vibe.

That’s why this ad from Eventbrite is so naturally positive. Not only does it depict happy things like balloons and crowds, but it uses bright colors too.

Another option for portraying happiness through imagery is to simply use pictures of smiling faces.

It seems simplistic but think about the last time you were hanging out with your friends feeling down in the dumps. Chances are that if they were all sat around you frowning, you’d continue to feel sad and uncomfortable. However, if your friends were smiling, laughing, and encouraging you to feel better, you’d gradually find yourself smiling and laughing too.

Why? Because happy people make us feel happy.

Smile and the world smiles with you, cry, and no-one will like your ads on Facebook.

Of course, the words and phrases that your startup uses can make a positive impact too. For instance, saying things like “How to be Successful”, instead of “How to avoid failure”, can portray a more positive image. Everything from your copy, to your imagery, should depend on the type of emotion you’re trying to portray.

Learn to Manage Negativity Too

Just because you should be focused on keeping your customers happy, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know how to handle negative feelings too.

Sometimes, a Facebook ad that generates negative emotions can be just as effective as one that portrays positive ones. This is particularly true in cases where you can make people feel negative about something, and then also offer a solution that helps them to overcome that feeling.


A study by the researchers at Tel Aviv and Stanford GSB university found that small amounts of slightly negative information can actually strengthen the positive opinion that customers have about a particular service or product.

The key is to make sure that you get the right balance.

In the image above, Contently’s message is pretty negative. It says hey, marketers, blogs might not be good enough anymore. But it also draws attention to the other things that you can do to build engagement with your audience, like infographics or using video.

So, how can you use negative emotions in your Facebook ads?

  • Use a negative headline to capture attention, then offer a solution;
  • Let your audience know about problems that happen with your product or service, so you appear more transparent;
  • Remind people of something negative that they encounter regularly that you can help to fix.

Offer Hope

Finally, hope is one of the fundamental emotions that we experience as human beings. It’s the thing that keeps us going when we’re having a hard time at work, or struggling to make sales targets.

We experience bad things, sure, but we hope that things will get better, and that’s a very powerful emotion indeed.

In the world of consumerism, we know that things aren’t likely to make us happy in the long run, but we keep hoping that if we buy the right collection of items, we’ll at least be more comfortable, and maybe that will be enough.

A lot of Shopify’s ads are built around positivity, inspiration, and hope. Like this one:

They encourage users to take action by putting hope and inspiration first:

If you focus on hope in your Facebook advertising efforts, you can start to develop a better image of yourself as a company; one that has a goal towards a stronger, or better tomorrow. You might even find that you end up creating a deeper relationship with your audience members, by designing a single image of the future that you can all share.

Just remember:

  • Never make promises that you can’t follow through on – false hope is not a good thing to offer, particularly as a startup that’s beginning to generate a reputation;
  • Try not to be too sappy with your inspirational posts – you don’t want people to get sick of you;
  • Remember to practice what you preach.

Emotions on Facebook

There are countless ways that you can use emotion on Facebook, and these are just some of the solutions that we consider to be the most effective. In fact, according to a report published in 2016 by Nielson, emotions are crucial to all advertising success, generating a 23% more positive response than non-emotional adverts.

Although applying emotional tactics to your startup marketing campaigns might seem complicated, it actually only requires a little bit of creativity and originality. Find out which emotions appeal best to your audience, and learn how to leverage them for better ecommerce sales.


Author’s Bio: Ivan Kreimer is a content marketer at Foundr, a leading media company that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their online businesses. His advice has been featured in Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, KISSmetrics, among others.

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