Why Use Fear In Your Ads To Increase Conversion

Because fear is one of the most powerful marketing techniques. For decades, advertisers and marketers have been using fear to shape consumer behaviour. Effective use of fear in marketing is essentially the reason products that supposedly help deal with bad breathe, body odor and various types of viruses are always popular. 

Fear is one of our primitive survival instincts, which once served to protect us from predators and survive in dangerous environments. As humans, we still experience the same fears as our ancestors – the fear of danger or isolation, only the context has changed. The fear of coming across feral cats or giant raptors has been replaced with a fear of walking on a dark street alone at night.

In the 20th century, companies begun to use fear as a powerful and persuasive technique. Edward Bernays was first to apply psychology to advertising, targeting the unconscious mind of consumers to prompt them to purchase. Thanks to Bernays propaganda-focused advertising techniques, the sales of cigarettes among female consumers skyrocketed in the 1930s.

His contemporary, John Watson, took everything in a fear-focused direction. According to him, fear, rage and love were the most powerful motivators of human behavior and marketers leveraged this knowledge to create highly successful campaigns.

So, how does fear look when applied to the digital environment? There is a basic three step formula you can start practicing today to increase success and response to your ads.

1.     State what your audience is afraid of. 

According to surveys, many Australians are afraid of computer hacks and personal data safety. A fear-motivated message that would appeal to this audience can sound like this:

Nearly 25% of businesses are at risk of data breach. Is yours one of them?

2.     Emphasise the fear. 

Describe potentially terrible consequences that could be caused by this event.

Data breaches have become a sad reality for many business owners. Not only they put employee data at risk, they compromise customer security and damage their trust in the company.

3.     Say how you can help. 

We offer comprehensive data security solutions that will ensure your business and employees are safe.  

This process showcases a path from emphasising fear to offering a solution. Be wary of using this technique too often as no one wants to deal with a business that constantly sends negative messages. In fact, some businesses purposely avoid using words that evoke fear in their ads and promotional campaigns. Nevertheless, fear continues to be effective tool when it comes to conversion rates of a message. 

In this blog post written by digital marketing guru Neil Patel, he compares a fear-based ad to positive one.

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Can you guess which message was more effective?

The negative ad had 18.8% higher conversion rate in comparison with the positive one.

There are countless ways to use fear to motivate user purchase intentions. The secret here is not only to create a sense of panic and urgency, but to show your customer a path to safety and how they can use your assistance.

Is your website sending a wrong message that might be driving users away? Get in touch with Click Creative to find out more about using emotion-based and other techniques that can instantly help your website convert better!