The Role of Syntax in Persuasive Marketing Communication: A Natural Language Processing Approach

56 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2019 Last revised: 11 Jan 2021

See all articles by Selin Atalay

Selin Atalay

Frankfurt School of Finance and Management

Siham El Kihal

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Florian Ellsaesser

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Date Written: January 10, 2020

Abstract

The use of language is ubiquitous in any marketing communication, such as advertisements or product descriptions, and the decision of how to formulate marketing communications so that they are persuasive is a problem for most marketers. In this paper, the authors take a natural language processing approach to investigate the role of syntax in marketing communications. Using a data set of 134 debates with 129,480 sentences, they show that the syntax of a message communicated, as captured by specific elements of syntax referred to as dependencies, is predictive of its persuasiveness. They identify the specific dependencies that directly influence the persuasiveness of a message and demonstrate how communicators can use the findings to write persuasive marketing communications. In two follow up experiments, conducted in the lab and on Facebook, the authors show that marketing messages written in accordance with their findings are more successful in persuading consumers. Click-through rates on Facebook, for example, increase by 41%.

Keywords: marketing communications, persuasion, syntax, natural language processing, machine learning

Suggested Citation

Atalay, A. Selin and El Kihal, Siham and Ellsaesser, Florian, The Role of Syntax in Persuasive Marketing Communication: A Natural Language Processing Approach (January 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3410351 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3410351

A. Selin Atalay

Frankfurt School of Finance and Management ( email )

Adickesallee 32-34
Frankfurt am Main, 60322
Germany
60322 (Fax)

Siham El Kihal (Contact Author)

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management ( email )

Adickesallee 32-34
Frankfurt am Main, 60322
Germany

Florian Ellsaesser

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management ( email )

Adickesallee 32-34
Frankfurt am Main, 60322
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
197
Abstract Views
1,097
rank
191,966
PlumX Metrics