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7 Must-Try Persuasive Techniques in Advertising in 2024

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By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

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Using the Internet, we see thousands of advertisements a day. From watching our favorite shows in movie websites to checking our email inbox for new coupons, advertising is overflowing our lives. Most of those advertisements are presented digitally on our technology devices, such as our phones or laptops. That the number of Internet users has been increased dramatically, businesses focus on digital marketing strategies to attract customers through social media.

However, competing against multiple advertisers, you need to be concerned about persuasive marketing, which is regarded as the key to reach the right users and promote conversions for your brand. Entrepreneurs need to convince their target audiences that the product they sell is suitable for them. On the other hand, many businesses have difficulties identifying their right digital marketing strategy, which makes them struggle a lot to develop their companies.

This article will cover the definition of persuasive technique in advertising, the main categories of the term, and 7 must-try persuasive techniques in advertising.

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What is the persuasive technique in advertising?

Before getting to know what seven persuasive techniques in marketing you should try are, let’s make sure we are all clear on their definition, why businesses need to use them, and how they can change consumers’ opinions.

So what is the persuasive technique in advertising? The persuasion process is applied in many cases, from debating at schools, making plans to go travel with friends to negotiating sales deals, persuasion bases based on knowing the other party’s motivation, or fears to gain their attention and influence their decisions. In those cases, you try to persuade the reader or listener. Persuasive advertisements are so similar that they are the method you use to convince a buyer of your featured products via visuals. They are designed to evoke the action of purchasing a product or service.

That means persuasive techniques are taken advantage of to support advertising works and help brands attract public attention. These methods try to focus on a various factors that range from age, gender, race, or religion demographic. No matter what they are specifically about, these tools have proved their power in engaging the viewer’s minds, triggering others’ emotions and feelings, and even changing their attitudes, leading to bigger decisions. Using these tools, businesses, and advertisers will reach their consumers more quickly and gain what they want: sales, clicks, and votes.

The key explanation for the strength of persuasive advertising techniques is that consumers have a desire to spend as little as possible but get more good deals in return. Knowing that trend in consumer’s insights, advertisers spend more time building up the right digital marketing strategy for their brands. If you are owning a business or advertising a product, this method is very helpful. Persuasive advertising can be used in almost every company’s marketing campaign via digital devices like television, digital, print, audio, billboards, even PPC.

The more people use the Internet, the easier it is for advertisers to get data and understand their consumers. Most of the advertisements are served through phones, PC, or laptops, which provide marketing companies information about our location, browsing history, social media, and even online shopping practices. Having this data in hand, they can know detailedly what you like and what you need at the moment. From that, they will create target content that matches perfectly with your interests, making them more relevant than ever before. Moreover, advertisers tend to use persuasive techniques to support the information they find, which means consumers are likely to be convinced to purchase from their shops.

Theory about persuasive advertising techniques was first designed about more than 2,000 years ago when Aristotle gave birth to the term and categorize it into three groups. He divided the way rhetoric is used in arguments into Ethos (appeals to ethics), Pathos (appeals to emotions), and Logos (appeals to evidence and facts). This is also known as the rhetorical triangle that is still mentioned and depends on nowaday in many majors, especially marketing strategies to persuade consumers. The features of these three categories will be presented with more details in the following part.

The rhetorical triangle model
The rhetorical triangle model

In general, persuasive techniques and strategies are increasingly in use by advertisers via multiple fields (TV, radio, direct email, newspaper, websites, and especially social media sites. To work well with those techniques, we need to get creative and find the most suitable advertising strategy. Choosing the techniques to use, advertisers should consider whether it is effective in influencing the behavior of the target demographic or not.

What are the three main categories of persuasive advertising techniques?

Ethos persuasive technique

Ethos is the persuasive technique appealing to audiences by focusing on credibility. The technique calls upon the superior character of the speaker, presenter, writer, or brand (in case of running a business). Easily understanding, ethos technique has the target of convincing the audience that the advertiser or the speaker is reliable and ethical. The final decision and opinion of audiences will be created based on the trust when their respectable people sign off on it.

When it comes to commercials and advertising, the ethos technique is considered one of the best ways to unlock trust between businesses and potential buyers. An advertisement using the ethos category of persuasive technique is one playing off the consumer’s respect for a brand or speaker. Thanks to that respect gradually built in the consumer’s mind, the speaker will appear as a convincing and trustworthy person whom they should listen to. Among the three types of persuasive advertising techniques we are about to mention, the ethos category is used mostly for emphasizing the strength or plus points of a brand and speaker’s characteristics.

To help you understand how Ethos is used in advertising, let’s check out the following examples.

The ethos technique is all about credibility. The basis is proved in a commercial of Infiniti, which was featured, Steph Curry. He is a celebrity who is not known for his taste in vehicles. However, due to his popularity and stature, the product was validated and promoted well.

NBA star Steph Curry teams up with INFINITI as Global Spokesman
NBA star Steph Curry teams up with INFINITI as Global Spokesman

Another example related to the history and origin story of Anheuser-Busch’s founders has shown the strength of ethos technique in connecting a brand with fundamental rights. In telling the stories to audiences via their “Born the Hard Way” spot, Busch’s turbulent immigration from Germany to St. Louis was illustrated to explain the importance of immigration and multiculturalism indirectly.

One of the very strong instances of ethos technique is the Heineken spot. This commercial video was a short story when Benicio Del Toro came to a bar with a cup of Heineken. In some seconds, he talked about how he and the Heineken brand are widely recognized and globally well-known. The advertisers are so creative that they add a pretty funny meta quality to the video through the film of two tourists spotting him and asking him for a photo, but they turned out to realize he was not Antonio Banderas as they expected.

While tying the celebrity of famous people to the brand, advertisers have dedicated to the business’s credibility and its engagement with target consumers.

Pathos persuasive technique

The second persuasive technique using in advertising is Pathos, which appeals to the emotions. Everything involved, such as senses, memory, nostalgia, or shared experience, are all used to convince an audience. The pathos technique will not only make the audience understand but also feel. Emotions of humans are all easily triggered in many ways. For example, we can get excited by a very cute puppy, turn emotional by a devastating family image, or joyful due to a beautiful love story. From great odds, inspirational songs to imagery, they can all call upon your feelings of happiness, fear, envy, and more.

In terms of consuming industry, pathos is applied to create responses that will then lead to the decision to buy something. That’s why pathos technique is becoming more popular among commercials since it will evoke your feelings and your responses, which help businesses increase their sales.

If you are running advertising work for a product, it is highly suggested you start with language because the words we read as well as the sounds we hear can generate specific feelings. Besides, advertisers tend to use sex appeal more. It is successful mong the pathos advertising techniques, especially for fashion magazines. Also, humor, snob, and patriotism appeal to become well-known and familiar with advertisement examples.

The pathos advertising technique is used in a famous campaign called “Good Goes Round” led by General Mills and Cheerios. In the advertisement, emotions of audiences are built up via good vibes with positive words. Listening to the background sound of the words “Good goes around” going with the imagery of sunshine, smiles, and bright colors, we are likely to feel the positivity and happiness. In fact, the commercial was so successful in encouraging audiences to take part in Cheerios.

In addition to the good vibe, the pathos technique also appeals to unpleasant emotions such as fear and worry. One example of it is an advertisement made by the British Heart Foundation. The video told a touching story of the narrator, who had died right at her sister’s wedding because of heart disease. The feeling of sadness and worry arises when we see the video and hear the music added. The message of “Don’t let heart disease happen to you” was spread globally, which encourages people to protect their health.

Another strong example which also touched unpleasant feelings of human is the commercial made by Zillow. In the video, a family was suffering from the loss of their wife/mother. The father realized that his son was regarding the brightest star in the night sky as his mother who is looking down on him. He decided to search on Zillow, found a home near the grandparent’s one, and bought it to cheer his son up. Surprisingly, the new home had a skylight in the son’s room, which let him see his mother’s star every night and reduce his sadness. Via the commercial using pathos technique, Zillow proved itself the type of website that can relieve the sorrow through its functionality

Zillow commercials tug at the heartstrings by playing off the emotion of finding home
Zillow commercials tug at the heartstrings by playing off the emotion of finding home

Logos persuasive technique

The last category of persuasive advertising technique is Logos which focuses on logic and reasons to convince an audience. It is also known as The logical appeal because when using logos, a speaker or brand will appeal to logic. To be more specific, when listening to reason, statistics, facts, charts, or graphs, every point made by speakers will be more trustworthy and audiences are likely to be convinced. Regarding advertising and marketing, those data provided while persuading will make buyers believe that the product is right for them and their decision is so reasonable although the data is sometimes not really sensible.

Apple is a famous brand that used logos technique to showcase its new features. One typical example is the iPhone X. When applying logos rhetoric, advertisers need to provide the best reasons to persuade their consumers to make a purchase more quickly. The new iPhone X is remarkable by its durable glass and Face ID software. Therefore, advertisements of Apple focused on explaining why you should choose iPhone X instead of any other smartphone.

Another example of logos persuasive advertisement is the ad called “I can’t believe it’s not butter” which was made by a food company taking advantage of the demand for healthy options. The advertisement repeated the word “organic” and “vegan” multiple times to prove that their products are made with the goodness of plants. Via the logos technique, advertisers and brands have built their popularity and credibility, claim themselves as the most logical and useful option among others.

When talking about logos persuasive technique, we shouldn’t forget Nissan Commercial which was trying to introduce its new system called “ProPilot”. In the advertising clip, there was a daughter and father driving on a highway. At that time, the daughter tried to drive faster to get through some construction. The father immediately told her to turn on the ProPilot system which Nissan had featured in their cars for the sake of both lives. The ProPilot system then really proved its functionality by saving her while she was about to veer off the road because of distraction led by a Star Wars battle scene. It automatically corrected the trajectory of the car thanks to the sensor system.

As you can see. Nissan uses logos technique to send the message that when youngsters get distracted, its ProPilot system will just save their lives one day. Through facts and logic, the brand will then increase their sales

To sum up, they are the three main categories of persuasive advertising techniques. However, it is different to identify how can you put ethos, pathos, and logos into practice and make a good marketing strategy to attract customers. Let’s dig into some common persuasive techniques which are recommended to you.

Persuasive techniques in marketing you should try

Reach your audience through social media

Because there are more and more people using the Internet nowadays, it will be an ideal opportunity for businesses to selling products through those digital platforms. However, while reaching audiences through social media, you should consider targeted advertising which means nailing down them according to demographics, behaviors, and interests. When you know who you should focus on and who potential consumers are, a good marketing strategy will be created by sending the right messages to the right persons. This technique brings you many benefits which include saving money and time since you can spend your advertising budget on the right one who is more likely to relate to your ads and make a purchase in the future.

Facebook is the giant among multiple media platforms with 2.6 billion monthly active users and about 2 million advertisers working right now. Therefore, as a business advertising via Facebook, you need to focus on targeting properly and creating audiences. Or else, your content and posts will probably get lost among billion advertisements of competitors.

There are some tips for you to target audience while advertising through Facebook in order to ensure the potential viewers can see your content and in turn, lead to decisions. They are:

  • Narrowing down your audience group: This categorizing should depend on demographics, interests, behaviors, and location. The basis of it is that when you target customers more specifically, you will find it easier and quicker to reach users who care about your brand and your products. In turn, it can also lower your CPC

  • Registering for Facebook custom audiences: This will help you create a retargeting strategy. This will make research of who have engaged with your products before and seemed to be concerned about them. From that, those customers will be targeted well for the purpose of raising sales.

Use social proof & testimonial

We are likely to be persuaded by following the actions of others, which means consumers tend to buy a product more quickly if it is used and reviewed well by others who bought it before. This term is called Social proof or Social influence. It is when safety and validity are created when we make the decision of making a purchase if we are considering the most popular products. Some examples of social proof that can be listed are reviews post, comments, testimonials, or rating systems which all help advertisers selling their items by convincing customers to follow the pack and buy something.

For example, a persuasive advertisement can include the following messaging:

  • More than 6,000 customers have enjoyed the product

  • Bestseller

  • Most popular

Use social proof & testimonial to convince viewers to follow the pack and buy the products
Use social proof & testimonial to convince viewers to follow the pack and buy the products

The story is quite the same when it comes to Testimonial or Celebrity Association which also bases on the influence of one or a group to the opinion of a person. It is also one of the oldest sales tricks while businesses decide to attach a celebrity or a public figure to advertisements to promote a product. Those people can be Hollywood actors and actresses, music artists, television stars, or sports players who are followed by multiple fans in the world. When they involve a product or mention an item in their video or interview, it is enough for their fans to spend money purchasing similar products.

Testimonial is an old but gold tool to sell more services through advertising. Advertisers tend to invite celebrities to join their commercials or ads so that the viewers who look up to them will take into account the process of buying the products.

Increase authority

Authority or experts are those who most of us respect and trust. They appear as people with many good characteristics, from being credible, knowledgeable, to trustworthy. Therefore, when consumers consider whether to make a purchase or not, especially the big one, they tend to check out the origin and the people behind those products. If they are from those who are seen as experts in this field, sales will be increased because consumers are likely to buy more quickly.

Nowadays, this technique is not as overused as it was before. Shoppers spend more time finding the authentic fact of these authority figures. They will do some research about the brand and the expert to stop themselves from being scammed.

Some of the messages which are often used to increase authority:

  • The experienced team had over 30 years of service

  • Recommended and developed by leading experts

  • Doctors advise using this product

Set time & quantity limit

Set time and quantity limit is a technique focusing on the scare of the consumer. We tend to be afraid of losing out on a good deal or a special edition releases. Knowing this fact, advertisers will add some following messages to their advertisement, which prevent customers from putting off buying something:

  • 30% off all orders for TODAY ONLY

  • 10 other shoppers also concern about this product

  • RSVP to save your spot — limited seats available

To set time and quantity limit, businesses often use a scarcity aspect which will make quantities, expiring time limits, and exclusive offers do it job in enhancing the value of a product. While seeing something is desired by many people or that its price is back to the original cost in some time, consumers will go to great lengths to try anyway. It is one of the key reasons why we must have bought something spur of the moment once and regret not making this purchase.

Play with the emotion of the viewer

One of the most popular persuasive advertising methods is Emotional appeal in which advertisements are targeted to reach the public via different states of emotion. Advertisers are suggested to use this method to play with the emotions of viewers because those feelings are easily triggered. From fear, happiness, sadness, to the excitement, they are all researched carefully to inspire people to buy a product or take part in a specific task. The feelings are called upon thanks to the story, music, or imagery of the advertisements, which make audiences get distracted and follow a certain path.

Sometimes, advertisers will remove their rational thoughts and hide the facts to keep the audiences out of the real issues. To be more specific, the following examples will explain to you:

  • Raising a question of who the greater threat is by including two pictures of authoritative presidents, politicians, or parties of many different countries

  • Spreading the message about preventing drug abuse by showing pictures of a teen’s before and after

One emotion which is especially worked with is happiness sticking with humor. The advertisements or showcases focusing on this aspect are designed to make viewers laugh. There are many ways in which humor is presented such as cartoons, sketches, or comic undertones. Although the amount of information related to the item is not provided enough, the idea and message behind them will help advertisers tie the commercials to the audience’s’ minds positively and convince them emotionally to make a purchase.

Make the audience remember you

To make the audience remember your brand, you need to create a catchy slogan that is widely used around the world. You must have known about the slogan “Because you’re worth it” of L’Oréal, “The greatest tragedy is indifference” of Red Cross, or “The happiest place on earth” of Disneyland. Those are strong examples of famous brands in the world use slogan as an advertising technique to make the name of their companies are ingrained in customer’s minds.

When building a strong slogan, advertisers need to combine many factors like a catchphrase, tag-line, and word to use it in commercials or campaigns. The reason why a slogan is a powerful tool for advertising is that when seeing a slogan, audiences will associate with it to some level. They will then likely to be appealing to this brand as well as their product when they go out shopping. Day by day, when the slogan is used many times in many platforms, it will turn into a part of our daily life and language, which means audiences are convinced indirectly to trust and buy what the company is serving.

Famous brands in the world use slogans to make viewers remember them
Famous brands in the world use slogans to make viewers remember them

Also, the technique of repetition is used to make audiences remember you. For example, when you are not attracted to a particular advertisement or slogan, you seem not to buy products from them. However, when they are repeated again and again enough times or you hear and read about it every day in every circumstance, the message will surely stick with your mind.

Therefore, in most advertisements these days, road signs, flyers, billboards, use of colors of a product, and even logos are likely to be used more than one time to make the brand memorable, which can lead to the sales increase.

Spread a positive message

This technique is widely known as Glittering generality, which is filled with positive words having sound connotations stick with them. This is normally used to spread a positive message to the public to make them believe in a company, political party, or products. Although the true meaning behind the message is sometimes hidden, the technique is still so helpful that more and more advertisers take advantage of it.

Some common words which can be seen in ads using Glittering generality may be good, healthy, low fat, freedom, peace, home, sensational, or delicious. For example, a particular program for those who want to lose weight or a product for diet tend to claim themselves to burn “most” of the fat

Examples of the most effective persuasive ads

After having better knowledge about some common persuasive advertising techniques, we will prove the power of those methods via five famous advertisements.

Heinz’s Ketchup: Ed Sheeran

The brand Heinz is so lucky to have Ed Sheeran as one of the biggest fans of its ketchup. The commercial we are going to take as an example is said to be silly but effective. Being one part of Heinz’s advertising strategy in the UK in which the business is trying to make its product of ketchup as popular as it is now in the US.

To fulfill that target, the brand invited a global celebrity who was from the UK to join in the commercial video. In the ads, Ed Sheeran directly tells his story and introduce the product as if it is a pitch. Watching the video, audiences will feel like they are not watching an ads video but a movie clip instead. The content of the video is just so simple when Ed Sheeran proves that all the posh food and sauces will lose its best taste if they are not added with his backpack-based Heinz.

If you are also lucky like Heinz having a fan like Ed Sheeran who is followed by billions of people around the world, your advertisement will then be easily spread. On the other hand, if your brand is new and has few fans or your celebrity fanbase is a bit smaller, let’s consider working with influences who also have multiple followers on social media platforms. In fact, persuasive ads do a great job of helping a company present the image of itself for social media personalities.

Surprisingly, one tip for you is finding influencers who affect a smaller number of people since you can target easily a specific audience you are converting. Moreover, the advertising process will also cost you less than when you work with big influencers or celebrities.

Burger King: Shadow Campaign

This advertising campaign is one that makes people laugh. Some years ago, the brand of fast food, especially Whooper, created a war on Twitter by promoting user tweets grumbling about Wendy’s, one of its competitors. This campaign brought about huge hilarity, and of course, many people decided to buy Whooper and increase the brand’s sales.

In this ad strategy, the brand relied mostly on the emotion and functionality of Twitter. Not doing much, Burger King got permission from the users, and Twitter let them promote other users’ tweets. Therefore, the laughter was created most by users instead of the brand itself. Burger King let customers do the talking and discussion, which gave big weight to the message.

When it comes to your company, you can also apply this case to your story by focusing on your direct competitor. Choose one that has a minus point (such as product breaking, high cost, or not working) to emphasize and consider whether to promote and repost it. In other words, let your opponent’s derogators be your best advocates.

Curio.io: Most Interesting Person

Another example is the “Most Interesting Person” of Curio.io. Curio.io is an audio-journalism app that allows you to get a condensed version of the news without opening it. This app is somehow similar to daily newsletters to which you can listen while driving on commute.

The advertisement works well and helps the brand selling more and more products thanks to its successful ads. Not only is it video-based with captions as usual but it also provides a review and summary of the app in the ad copy. Through it, you will be offered multiple reasons why you should download Curio.io.

Curio.io is such a strong example for you to follow while letting your consumers engage with you. You should add a customer review in the advertisement, if possible. Or else, you can also put them in the copy. Curio.io successfully tells a message that “You’ll immediately become the most interesting person in the room” if you download this app, convincing them to have one for yourself. Therefore, just take this move and make your value prop personal clearly in your ad.

HP: Nobody’s Watching

HP is a big brand of laptop and technological devices in the world. Its advertisement called “Nobody’s Watching” really takes the cake.

This advertisement worked well because HP’s advertising team targeted the right customers and the right demands. HP provides a feature that helps users flip a switch and turn the laptop’s camera off, which means no one can watch you wherever you are with your computer. Knowing that users need to be safe and sound, HP made this advertisement to convince consumers that HP computers will let you be yourself.

The technique used here is targeting a specific audience. When making an advertising strategy, remember to concern about what your audiences need from your products. Keep in mind to target the potential consumers when brainstorming persuasive ads and bring about one convincing customer well.

Streeteasy: Find your place

“Find your place” advertising campaign is designed by the brand Streeteasy who was running a strategy to introduce their New York real estate mobile app. The campaign provided millions of advertisements and let them posted in every subway throughout the city and pointed up the city sections to make them relatable. People find it hard to look for a place to live, and this task makes them feel like Goldilocks.

The campaign is a typical example for those who have a subtle and indirect joke quantity inside the content. Knowing everyone’s desire is having a place not too far from work but not too close to their coworkers, advertisers designed this strategy to lean on these feelings. To call upon waves of laughter in the face of a daunting task, Streeteasy depended on city residents’ feelings.

The example brings you a lesson of understanding your brand and your customers before making an advertising strategy. People are always looking for a way to make their lives easier. Therefore, you need to convince that your brand and your products can handle this job. But first, let’s find out what problems make people annoyed, which issues among them your product can solve, and what makes your products a great solution.

Further readings


Persuasive advertising is so crucial to any business’s digital media strategy that they should spend more time and effort on getting creative with persuasive advertising techniques. There are many types of persuasive techniques in marketing, and you need to take time considering what values you can bring to your user. From that, you will have a chance to ideate the appropriate method that meets your need.

Hiring an advertising agency or do it on your own? It depends on your choice and your business size. Remember that you can probably connect with the target audiences when you have the right persuasive marketing techniques and increase conversions for your brand.

Hopefully, you’ve found inspiration for your brand to start persuading your customers via advertising techniques. Leave us a comment below if you get stuck in creating a marketing strategy for your product or sharing your experience. Good luck!

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.