How your audience feels can make or break how your content performs

Understanding the mindset of your audience should inform the content you’re developing, according to a recent study

Revmade regularly scours the internet for new studies that offer important insights for marketers. Then we write them up for you in as few words as possible. (Want to get them emailed to you? Sign up here.)

We spend a lot of time talking about what audiences are doing — what they’re searching for, reading, liking, sharing. But we also need to understand how they’re feeling to achieve greater engagement, according to a new study that tested human vs. chatbot interaction

Our take(away): The study found “the effectiveness of a chatbot may depend on the emotional contexts” in which it’s operating. 

Dive deeper: Here’s a quick summary:

  • When customers are mad, they want to speak to a human, not a chatbot. The study found that humans prefer to speak with other humans when they’re angry — to be seen, heard and empathized with. And importantly, to vent. 
  • The study notes this is critical in certain industries, like insurance and financial services, “where interaction satisfaction with a company’s representative is vital.”
  • The human reps were also able to get more valuable information about dissatisfaction for product development and customer service efforts. 
  • Chatbots were equally effective as humans in some areas that surprised the researchers (i.e., when someone is feeling embarrassed, they didn’t prefer one over the other). However, for therapy and counseling (“which require the feelings of being understood, genuineness and empathy”), the research found that humans are still “irreplaceable.”
  • The best solution is a blend of chatbot and human interaction, where chatbots take simple, straightforward informational questions, and humans focus on more complex and emotional contexts. 

How to Apply It

Taking the findings a step further, what does this mean for content marketers? 

  • Understand the mindset of your audience to unlock the best way to engage them: What’s the best tone for the moment? While we intuitively know that this is important, it’s a lot harder to build it into constant practice. A system for understanding your audience’s mindset should come with data collection from many places within your organization, not solely analytics, which can be one dimensional. Round out what you’re uncovering about behavior with context-setting tools such as online reviews/comments, call-center logs and regular conversations with audience members.  
  • Consider what formats work based on the range of mindsets you’re courting. The study clearly showed that talking to a human dissipated audience anger. In that case, video and audio formats that feature humans who work at your company (or believe deeply in its products/services) might be best to mimic the experience of human connection. 
  • Listen, listen, listen — and be ready to adapt. Emotional contexts can rapidly change, and keeping in step with your audience is key to winning their loyalty. But the data is only as good as your ability to act on it, delivering to your audience what they need in the moment they need it. 

TL;DR: Building a system for understanding your audience’s emotional state and delivering content experiences that take that state into account is key to earning engagement and loyalty. 


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