Yahoo's Receptivity of Emotions study was based on quantitative research among 600 people aged 16-54 in the US and UK who used a custom-developed smartphone app to complete a week-long survey, and qualitative research involving 12 in-depth, two-hour interviews in New York and London along with further 15 minute surveys with 1,000 people each in the UK, US, Germany and Canada.
This examined consumers' emotional states and how receptive they were to advertising throughout the day and found that US and UK consumers were 'upbeat' 46% of the time – the most common mood and one which was most likely to be encountered around lunchtime (between 11am and 2pm).
And, crucially, when these consumers were upbeat they were 24% more receptive to content in general, but 40% more likely to be receptive to digital advertising specifically.
Across the four countries in the study, upbeat consumers were found to be 30% more likely to engage with native video content than in other emotional states.
They were also 28% more likely to engage with content marketing, and 21% more likely to engage with direct marketing.
Overall, the research suggested emotional context is almost as important for digital marketing as current activity: 71% of consumers said they would click on or read digital ads if they better reflected what they were doing at the time, while 67% would do the same if they better reflected how they felt.
Upbeat UK and US smartphone users were 15% more likely to immediately follow up on digital advertising on their smartphones than those in other emotional states. Upbeat users were also 25% more likely to say that digital advertising on smartphones provides them with inspiring prompts.
"The idea of aiming to engage with consumers when they are feeling upbeat may seem obvious at first, but never before have we been able to appreciate the extent of the impact it can have on a campaign's success," said Nigel Clarkson, managing director, Yahoo UK.
Digital marketers focused on the importance of reaching the right person, on the right device, at the right time need to appreciate that "the 'right time' should be about more than the webpage they're viewing at that moment. We should be striving to take a consumer's emotions into account as well".
Data sourced from Yahoo; additional content by Warc staff