Home » Emotainment is the new storytelling: New study shows the impact of emotional resonance on consumer behavior

Emotainment is the new storytelling: New study shows the impact of emotional resonance on consumer behavior

by Mohammad Ghazal

In a world where functionality often overshadows emotions, the concept of “emotainment” (Emotional Entertainment) is emerging as the new style of content to help people reconnect and reignite their creative spirit. Providing a thriving digital venue for this is TikTok, which leads the charge as the best platform for creating lasting emotional bonds with users.

Making connections that genuinely resound with users and evoke positive emotions such as joy, happiness and inspiration is a challenge today, when few things feel novel anymore.

For brands and marketers, this can be a challenge, as emotional resonance is the key to inspiring customer loyalty and shaping their behaviors. Crafting narratives that resonate with their target audience through a wide range of emotions – from empathy and nostalgia to inspiration and hope – is the way brands can create memorable impressions.

To unveil the remarkable impact of emotional resonance on digital media platforms, leading research firms Ipsos and MediaProber conducted a first-of-its kind research study in 2023 on the Impact of Emotional Entertainment on Business outcomes in the United Arab Emirates, and also drew on data from the 2021 study: The Neuroscience Behind TikTok’s Relevance study conducted by Ipsos and Neurons in the Middle East, North Africa and Türkiye.

To understand the science behind emotional resonance, IPSOS and MediaProber used innovative research technologies that looked at different metrics, to identify moments with high emotional engagement while using digital media channels. The research revealed that users experienced about five of these  moments across key digital channels during a 30-min session, with TikTok users having 1.2x higher positive feelings compared with other digital channels.

TikTok also emerges as the clear leader in delivering high-quality attention, with users spending 92% of their time on it compared to 8% on TV (Percentage of time spent on TikTok vs TV – when given the choice between the two in a naturalistic multi-screening environment). TikTok’s short-form video content captures users’ hearts and minds, holding active attention with 1.6x more time spent on each video (UGC & Ads) compared to other digital channels.

Goosebumps-inducing content has an impact that lasts beyond the momentary physical reaction, uplifting users’ moods long after using the platform. TikTok was the only platform to lift users’ moods after using it, generating a 2.6x higher mood increase than other digital platforms, solidifying its status as a source of positivity and inspiration.

“This groundbreaking and first-of-its-kind marketing study examined the impact of high emotional moments on user experience and content engagement online, while also identifying business opportunities for brands to captivate audiences,” said Bruno Ribeiro, Global Head of Research & Insights at MediaProber. “We looked at unique psychophysiological records from participants using digital channels to accurately detect moments with high emotional engagement. Our findings revealed how goosebumps-like moments are integral to a business strategy that aims to enhance user experience, content satisfaction, and brand impact.”

Emotionally engaging content has been fine-tuned by users, encompassing an artful blend of native content, positive tone, human characters, and music – which delivers an authentic touch, engage users effortlessly with the platform’s lingo and trends, elevate their followers’ mood and thus amplify emotional resonance, leaving a lasting impact on viewers.

“This scientific research on emotional entertainment clearly demonstrates the profound impact that emotionally engaging content can have on digital users, particularly on TikTok,” said Ramesh Redekar, Director & Head of Brand Tracking, MENA – IPSOS. “And the effect goes beyond entertainment and engagement as users are driven to take action. This type of content not only enhances the overall evaluation of the platform but also uplifts users’ moods – Consequently, they are more likely to remember and respond to advertisements and develop brand affinity,” he added.

Emotional resonance on TikTok significantly influences shopping behavior. Ipsos’ 2022 Brand Shopping Motivation research study in UAE, KSA and Türkiye showed 68% of shoppers reporting that emotionally engaging content motivated them to shop on TikTok. Brands can leverage this emotainment prowess to elevate brand recall, loyalty, and purchase intent. With users actively engaged in consuming content, ads on TikTok are more memorable, generating 2x higher ad recall compared to other platforms.

The 2023 study revealed that users who experience moments of high emotional resonance are 1.5x more likely to purchase a product or service across various digital media channels. Notably, on TikTok, the impact of emotional resonance is further amplified, making users more open to try, consider, and purchase a product or service.

These findings highlight the immense potential TikTok offers for brands seeking to create authentic, emotive and lasting connections with their audience. By leveraging the power of emotainment storytelling, brands can inspire action and elevate the overall impact of their marketing efforts on TikTok.

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