Subtle Changes to Marketing Language Have Significant Impact on Campaign Performance, Persado Analysis Finds

Persado, the leader in using AI to generate the best-performing marketing creative harnessing the power of words, today released findings of its inaugural report, “The Write Stuff: How CMOs Can Use AI to Develop Data-Driven Marketing Creative,” on stage at Shoptalk 2019. At a time when retail marketers must leverage science instead of guesswork to craft digital marketing creative that stands out from the noise, this first-of-its-kind analysis explores how and why language impacts the performance of marketing campaigns across industries and channels.

“Persado’s analysis demonstrates the deep level of quantitative and qualitative language insights marketers need to confidently craft campaign creative in today’s ecosystem.”

Persado examined more than 8.3 million marketing messages across four key industries (retail & e-commerce, financial services, technology and travel & hospitality), which reached a combined 2.4 billion customers through six marketing channels (web pages, social media, display ads, SMS, email and push notifications). The results show that subtle shifts in marketing language can have a dramatic impact on brand engagement and revenue performance, with differences between the best and worst performing messages totaling as much as 400 percent. In retail and e-commerce campaigns, for example, some words used to describe products, services, discounts and offers increase engagement more so than others:

  • Consumers are more likely to engage with messages that vaguely convey product pricing compared to messages that call out specific prices. Additionally, using the word “complimentary” instead of “free” can increase engagement by as much as 21 percent.
  • When encouraging consumers to act quickly, messages about limited quantities are more effective than those about limited time. However, phrases like “ends today” can generate as much as 49 percent more engagement than “online exclusive.”
  • When sharing promotions with consumers, quantitative offers perform better than words about qualitative offers. Further, using percentages drives on average 23 percent more engagement than specific dollar amounts.

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Assaf Baciu, Persado Co-Founder and SVP of Product & Engineering, introduced these findings during a 2019 Shoptalk session on using artificial intelligence to understand human emotion, expressing that retail marketers can leverage data-powered technology to drive revenue and connect with customers.

“In an era of data-driven decision making, the expectation of retail marketing teams to deliver positive ROI on every campaign is rising to new heights. Forward-thinking CMOs know they must make their marketing creative as accountable as every other aspect of the businesses they serve,” said Baciu. “Persado’s analysis demonstrates the deep level of quantitative and qualitative language insights marketers need to confidently craft campaign creative in today’s ecosystem.”

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Additionally, the report explores how much each of the six dimensions of a marketing message, including emotion, description, formatting, positioning, and call-to-action, contribute to overall campaign performance, as well as how those trends change across channels. Key findings include:

  • Language prompting a call-to-action is the most influential factor contributing to campaign performance on email bodies (40 percent), display (32 percent), and web pages and banners (48 percent). However, it is the least influential factor contributing to performance on email subject lines (8 percent), with other elements like emotional language (57 percent) inspiring consumers to engage instead.
  • Descriptive language about products, services, discounts and offers has the greatest effect on SMS campaign performance (35 percent). This language also significantly consistently contributes to campaign performance on email subject lines (24 percent), display (20 percent), email bodies (17 percent) and Facebook (17 percent), suggesting that marketers can quickly increase campaign performance by pinpointing the descriptive language most likely to resonate with their audiences.
  • Formatting contributes to nearly half (44 percent) of the performance of ads on Facebook, and emotion contributes to another 40 percent. Stylistic elements like emojis, symbols and imagery, combined with emotional language, together can help catch the consumer eye in an increasingly crowded newsfeed.

This analysis comes in the wake of the company’s launch of Descriptive Insights, the latest addition to Persado’s comprehensive suite of marketing analytics capabilities. With Descriptive Insights, Persado gives customers unmatched knowledge of how specific words and phrases related to product classifications, promotions, offers and services influence marketing campaign engagement.

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