Psychological persuasion, trust and tone: The three cornerstones of successful PPC

| 02 Dec, 2015

Digital can seem distantŠ— and consumers may sometimes feel that they are viewed as nothing but a money pit.

However, there are ways to make the message you are sending - as well as your brand/product image - more personal and authentic using psychological persuasion, trust-based marketing and tone. In social media, this is fairly easy to manage. In PPC advertising, however this can be slightly more difficult Š—– though not impossible if the right tactics are applied.

Psycological Persuasion

  • Psychological persuasion -The attempt to influence a person's beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors using psychological techniques
  • Trust-based marketing - Marketing to consumers using trustworthy communication and information in order to build relationships
  • Tone - The general attitude or feel of what you are communicating perceived by the receiver


Psychology is all about understanding why people make the decisions they do Š—– consciously and subconsciously.

The psychology of marketing is actually fairly simple - essentially you need to put yourself in the consumerŠ—Ès shoes. What do they need, want and value? In doing this, you will be able to understand what you need to communicate in your ads in order to appeal to the consumer and ultimately get them to convert.

According to Ginny Soskey, Section Editor for HubSpot's Marketing Blog, there are a number of techniques that can be used to psychologically influence the consumer. Three of these could be applied successfully to PPC ads:

  • Priming -ξWhen the user searches for a particular product they are already primed as they are want something specific. Your ad needs to associate with this need and fulfil it, so keep your ads relevant and unique.
  • Scarcity -ξThis is based on the theory of supply and demand. If something is rare, people want it more. Make this demand obvious in your ads using phrases like 'Only 10 left', 'DonŠ—Èt miss out' and '1,000s have sold'.
  • The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon - This happens every day. You encounter something for the first time and then all of a sudden it's everywhere you look. Online marketers can actually create this confirmation bias using remarketing or retargeting for search ads by showing ads to users who have already shown interest.


Credibility is key, and winning your consumers trust is essential in ensuring consumer loyalty. Every day we engage in relationships that are based on trust with our spouses, children, friends, and even our colleagues. Advertisers need to build and maintain this kind of rapport and congruency in the communication they have with their consumers.

The message in your PPC ads must be congruent with the values of your brand. Just like the psychological aspect, building trust requires perspective and understanding of the consumer. The tactics for building and keeping this trust in PPC seems to be underplayed, perhaps because one sees ad copy as just words - fairly distant and robotic. However, you can still go that extra mile and exceed expectations using ad copy. In order to be trusted your brand must be trustworthy - as TescoŠ—'s CEO, Terry Leahy says, 'A brand is a promise, and in the end you have to keep your promises.'


An advertiser needs to develop their brands tone of voice so that it's distinct and consistent. This helps to build familiarity, trust, loyalty and reliance - and gives personality to your brand.

Depending on what you are trying to market and what the end goal is, your tone may vary from personable to fun to authoritative or informative. This corner stoneŠ—Ès link to the others is once again the importance of understanding your audience before you use a particular tone. People are looking for info that will meet their needs and values, so get under their skin and appeal to these desires.

Your PPC ad copy can vary in terms of register and style depending on what the goal is.

Informative and helpful tone - Do you want the consumer to apply for a quote on a short term loan? Try to use a professional, respectful tone using informative ad copy that refrains from making fun or judging.

Fun and personal tone - Are you selling coffee machines? A comfortable more relaxed tone is recommended where one can identify with the ad copy and see the appeal of purchasing a luxury item that will give them great pleasure.

It's safe to say that there is far more to PPC advertising than just a headline, ad text, display URL and landing page. With the use of remarketing, retargeting for search ads, shopping ads, extensions and more, one has to always take into account that a human mind is taking this all in. The consumerŠ—'s searches are based on their needs, wants, values and desires and so in order to be successful the message portrayed must appeal to these in every way. Using the various techniques and advice above, the message a brand portrays can be unique, authentic, persuasive but trustworthy, and ensure that any promises made to the consumer are kept.

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