The 2022 Customer Motivation Report

Three years of insights into what
motivated customers to engage and why.

Read the Report

Language Drives Every Interaction You Have With Your Customers.

When we analyze the results from Persado-generated campaigns, we see again and again that the right words at the right time make the difference between indifference and delight. Why? Because language shows that your organization knows your audience—both what they need and what they want right now. Tapping into those wants and needs, indeed motivating customers to act, results in better experiences.

Language Drives Every Interaction You Have With Your Customers

We’ve Learned A Lot Over A Decade…

The Persado Motivation AI Platform takes your control message, analyzes, predicts, generates, and deploys communications. Every word and element is personalized to drive performance by motivating individuals to engage and act. Data on everything, from tone, emotions, grammar, narrative, and syntax, as well as your brand voice, helps us generate content, to scale personalized communications across your company. In the past three years alone we racked up some serious data about what works—and what doesn’t.


digital impressions


engagements with consumers


years of A/B testing equivalence


unique performance messages generated

Customers Are Motivated To Act With The Right Context.

Nothing is more important than getting the context right for your customers. That’s why we mapped millions of words and phrases to relatable narratives and emotions, producing powerful results. For example, “Guess what?” can spark Curiosity, or “Excuse me” can grab a customer’s Attention. This interactive tool presents high-level insights from 10,000 language experiments run for Persado customers between Jan 2019 through December 2021.

Want To Know What Language Best Motivates Customers To Act?

The following visualizations illustrate what motivates customers to engage—with some surprises.

Winning Motivators by Month

See how the most effective language changes over time. Move the slider to see the highest and lowest emotion-oriented motivators each month.

Language Performance by Categorized Emotion

Comparing Language Performance Across Months

View how the top performers change based on the season or the context.

We All Had A Lot Of Emotions In 2020

Our data reveals the top three motivators in the first few months of 2020. Communications that provided helpful information and clear directions engaged more customers during the most uncertain times.

Attention dropped from the top three to the low-end of performance when COVID-19 arrived in the US.

Safety and Intimacy rose to the top for much of 2020 with messages that were neutral and calming.

Achievement held strong throughout the year, but the intensity turned way down—no superlatives, exclamations, or shouty caps.

Emotional Tag Performance

JAN 2020

APR 2020


An Old Winner Thrived Again In 2021—But With A Twist

Language suggesting Achievement continued to outperform in 2021 campaigns—sweeping industries and channels to motivate customer engagement. Companies brought back Attention language, but were more successful using it in mellow ways to gently guide customers.

In retail, brands outperformed with Intimacy-based messages emphasizing connection and comfort.

Pandemic exhaustion drove some brands to embrace direct, toned-down language that kept things simple.

2021 Overall Emotional Tag Performance






Read the 2022 Customer Motivation Report

Motivating customers to engage and act has never been more important. Explore three years of Persado customer insights and actionable takeaways in the full report.

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Retail: Three Black Fridays: Which One Broke the Trend?

Top-performing emotion-oriented language motivators like Achievement (“You unlocked a great offer”) tend to be good bets for holiday shopping campaigns, but one of the last three years proved to be different. Explore which year flipped the narrative.

Positive emotions like Luck, Gratification, and Encouragement soared to the top. After two years of pandemic shopping, people wanted a little light.

Typical high achievers Achievement and Attention (in 2019, 2020) took a rare visit to the bottom of the performance ranks for the 2021 shopping holiday.

The exception was Regret messages like “Don’t miss this sale”—many shoppers needed encouragement due to supply chain woes.

Black Friday Motivator Performance

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Motivator Performance 2019


  • LUCK




Financial Institutions Transformed Their Messages For Challenging Times…

then returned to the status quo.

Financial services institutions often succeed by speaking the language of Achievement and Gratification to encourage those looking to borrow, save, or invest. All that changed in 2020.

2020 brought financial pressure for some, forcing financial services institutions to emphasize issues like staying current on payments and watching account status.

Attention and Regret, (usually low performers for the financial services sector, ) drove higher performance.

The word “don’t” almost never motivates customers to action, but for financial services institutions in 2020, that clear imperative produced atypically positive results.

A more stable 2021 saw a partial return to more positive messaging—though Urgency messages remain at the top end of the performance ranks.

Motivational Performance


The Bottom Line

Tracking how customers engage with language over time reveals some high-level lessons for business leaders:

Anticipate language changes. Achievement, Attention, and Gratitude-based messages produce reliable results for nearly every industry and channel, but they won’t set you apart when changing times require a different take.

Stay fresh.When the same motivators hold their top spots for months, winning brands stay top of mind with shifts in story, tone, and intensity.

Individuals make the audience. The next wave of language impact will require personalized language geared to motivate specific customers to engage and act.

Want To Learn What Will Engage Your Customers?

Persado is the only Motivation AI platform that enables personalized communications at scale by generating the specific language and messages that motivate each individual to engage and act.

Learn how you can drive massive new value creation with Motivation AI


These visualizations leverage performance data from over 10,000 language experiments conducted with Persado clients between January 2019 and December 2021. Our sample includes campaign language data for financial service institutions, healthcare companies, insurers, retailers, and telecommunications firms across several channels including banner ads, direct mail, email, IVR, social media, and SMS. Language samples/examples have been anonymized.

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