How Psychology can help you create better ads

Por Alex Gutierrez
Alex Gutierrez

Psychology is the science of human behavior and mental processes.

It can help you understand how your customers think, feel, and act, and what motivates them to buy your products or services. By applying some basic psychological principles, you can create more effective and persuasive ads that appeal to your target audience and increase your sales.
In this post, we will explore some of the most common and powerful psychological strategies that advertisers use to influence consumers and how you can apply them to your own marketing campaigns.


Reciprocity is the tendency to return a favor or a kindness that someone has done for us. It is based on the principle of social exchange, which states that people expect to receive something of equal or greater value in return for what they give. Reciprocity can create a sense of obligation and loyalty in your customers, and make them more likely to buy from you or recommend you to others.
One way to use reciprocity in advertising is to offer something valuable for free, such as a sample, a trial, a consultation, or a discount. This can generate goodwill and trust, and make your customers feel indebted to you. For example, a cosmetics company may offer a free makeover or a skincare consultation to potential customers, hoping that they will buy their products afterwards.
Another way to use reciprocity is to create a sense of urgency, such as a limited time offer, or a low stock alert. This can trigger the fear of missing out (FOMO) and make your customers act quickly before they lose the opportunity. For example, an online retailer may offer a flash sale or a free shipping deal for a short period of time, creating a sense of exclusivity and excitement.

Chica con gorro rojo

Social Proof

Social proof reflects our inclination to adopt the viewpoints of others, especially when we are uncertain or insecure. It is based on the principle of social influence, which states that people are more likely to conform to the norms and expectations of their reference groups. Social proof can increase your credibility and authority, and make your customers more confident and comfortable in buying from you.
One way to use social proof in advertising is to show testimonials, reviews, ratings, or endorsements from satisfied customers, experts, celebrities, or influencers. This can provide evidence and validation of your product or service quality, and persuade your customers that they are making the right choice. For example, a fitness app may show how many people have downloaded it, how many calories they have burned, or how many positive feedback they have received.
Another way to use social proof is to show social media statistics, such as likes, shares, comments, or followers. This can demonstrate your popularity and relevance, and encourage your customers to join the conversation and the community. For example, a travel agency may show how many people have booked their trips, how many destinations they have visited, or how many photos they have shared.

How emotions impact decision making

Emotions are the feelings and moods that affect our thoughts and actions. They can influence our preferences, decisions, and behaviors, and make us more susceptible to persuasion. Emotions can create a strong connection and engagement with your customers, and make them more loyal and passionate about your brand.
One way to use emotions in advertising is to appeal to positive emotions, such as happiness, joy, love, or excitement. This can create a pleasant and memorable association with your product or service, and make your customers feel good and satisfied. For example, a beer brand may show happy and smiling people enjoying their product.

Chica disfrutando de una cerveza

Cognitive framing

Cognitive framing is the way of presenting information or options in a certain way to influence how people perceive and evaluate them. It can affect how people interpret and compare information, and how they make choices and judgments. Framing can help you highlight the advantages and disadvantages of your product or service, and make your customers more inclined or disinclined to buy from you.
One way to use framing in advertising is to use positive or negative framing, depending on the type of product or service you are selling and the type of customer you are targeting. Positive framing emphasizes the benefits or gains of buying your product or service, while negative framing emphasizes the costs or losses of not buying your product or service. For example, a health insurance company may use positive framing to show how much money you can save, or negative framing to show how much money you can lose.

The scarcity and urgency effect

Creating a sense of scarcity and urgency can motivate consumers to act quickly to avoid missing out. Advertisements that emphasize limited time offers or the restricted availability of a product can enhance its perceived value and prompt immediate action.

Mujer disfrutando de un viaje en su Volkswagen Escarabajo

The importance of repetition

Psychology tells us that repetition can enhance brand retention and recognition. However, it's crucial to strike a balance to avoid overwhelming the consumer. Strategic and well planned across various mediums and platforms can increase brand familiarity and product awareness.

Psychology serves as an invaluable tool in the world of media marketing. By comprehending and applying its principles, we can craft advertisements that not only capture attention but also connect with the audience on a deeper level, motivating  fostering lasting relationships with the brand. I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new about the psychology of advertising. Thank you for reading!