Increasing the Efficacy of Emotional Appeal Ads on Online Video Watching Platforms: The Effects of Goals and Emotional Approach Tendency on Ad-Skipping Behavior

Abstract: Using an experimental tool that tracks the viewers’ real-time ad skipping behavior, the current research tested when and why a highly arousing emotional appeal ad that induces a set of complex discrete emotions can reduce the ad-skipping rate on social media such as YouTube. Across three experiments, we showed the following results. First, the ad-skipping rate of emotional appeal ads was lower among consumers who had the goal of watching emotional (vs. informational) videos. Second, this effect was mediated by the ad-elicited empathy. Third, the effects of the emotional appeal ad on ad-skipping behaviors were contingent upon the consumers’ predisposition of approaching emotional experiences. Among consumers who approach emotional experiences more, higher levels of empathy resulted in lower ad-skipping rates and longer ad-viewing duration when the emotional appeal of the ad is matched with the emotional goal of video watching; in contrast, among consumers who approach emotional experiences less, the opposite effect was found.