Original Article

Investigating the nexus between the types of advertising messages and customer engagement: Do customer involvement and generations matter?

Amani Msallati
  • Explore the Article >>
  • PDF

Main Article Content


Through the theoretical lenses of the Elaboration likelihood model, this research develops an experimental study to examine the cause-and-effect relationship of two advertising message types, drawn from the two routes of persuasion (peripheral route and central route), on consumers’ online brand-related activities (COBRAs) and its three key behavioral types of customer engagement, namely, consuming, contributing, and creating. The moderating effect of generations and the mediating role of personal relevance (involvement) were investigated in the proposed research model. Drawing on a sample of 202 students from a University in North Cyprus, the results of the study revealed that consumer engagement level differs between the two message types, in particular, when the cognitive copy ad is shown, the three COBRA engagement levels tend to be higher than when the emotional copy is given. The findings indicate different levels of personal relevance between the two messages with higher involvement in the cognitive appeal. Further, consumer generation served as a moderator in the study, and that people from generations X, Y, and Z evaluated the advertising stimulus differently. The findings of this research extend the literature with theoretical and managerial contributions to social media marketing.

Social media, COBRA, elaboration likelihood model, personal relevance, consumer engagement

About this Article
Msallati, A. (2021). Investigating the nexus between the types of advertising messages and customer engagement: Do customer involvement and generations matter?. Journal of Innovations in Digital Marketing, 2(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.51300/jidm-2021-31

Article Details

Licensing Info

Alhabash, S., McAlister, A. R., Hagerstrom, A., Quilliam, E. T., Rifon, N. J., & Richards, J. I. (2013). Between likes and shares: Effects of emotional appeal and virality on the persuasiveness of anti-cyberbullying messages on Facebook. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(3), 175–182. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2012.0265

Ambrose, G. J., Meng, J. (Gloria), & Ambrose, P. J. (2020). Why do millennials use Facebook? Enduring insights. Qualitative Market Research, 23(1), 171–197. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-03-2018-0036

Barger, V., Peltier, J. W., & Schultz, D. E. (2016). Social media and consumer engagement: a review and research agenda. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 10(4), 268–287. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-06-2016-0065

Barreto, A. M., & Ramalho, D. (2019). The impact of involvement on engagement with brand posts. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 13(3), 277–301. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-01-2018-0013

Bento, M., Martinez, L. M., & Martinez, L. F. (2018). Brand engagement and search for brands on social media: Comparing Generations X and Y in Portugal. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 43(April), 234–241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2018.04.003

Blasco-Arcas, L., Hernandez-Ortega, B. I., & Jimenez-Martinez, J. (2016). Engagement platforms: The role of emotions in fostering customer engagement and brand image in interactive media. Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 26(5), 559–589. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-12-2014-0286

Carlson, J., Rahman, M., Voola, R., & De Vries, N. (2018). Customer engagement behaviors in social media: capturing innovation opportunities. Journal of Services Marketing, 32(1), 83–94. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-02-2017-0059

Chen, J., Kou, G., Peng, Y., Chao, X., Xiao, F., & Alsaadi, F. E. (2020). Effect of marketing messages and consumer engagement on economic performance: evidence from Weibo. Internet Research, 30(5), 1565–1581. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2019-0296

Cheung, M. L., Pires, G. D., Rosenberger, P. J., & De Oliveira, M. J. (2021). Driving COBRAs: the power of social media marketing. Marketing Intelligence and Planning. 39(3), 361-376. https://doi.org/10.1108/MIP-11-2019-0583

Chopdar, P. K., & Balakrishnan, J. (2020). Consumers response to-wards mobile commerce applications: S-O-R approach. International Journal of Information Management, 53(March), 102106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102106

Cordero-Gutierrez, R. (2018). Redes sociales horizontales y su impac-to en el ambito empresarial y social (Doctoral dissertation, Tesis doctoral. Universidad de Salamanca)

Dholakia, U. M. (2001). A motivational process model of product involvement and consumer risk perception. European Journal of Marketing, 35(11/12), 1340–1362. https://doi.org/10.1108/eum0000000006479

Djafarova, E., & Bowes, T. (2021). ‘Instagram made Me buy it’: Generation Z impulse purchases in the fashion industry. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 59, 102345. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2020.102345

Dolan, R., Conduit, J., Frethey-Bentham, C., Fahy, J., & Goodman, S. (2019). Social media engagement behavior: A framework for engaging customers through social media content. European Journal of Marketing, 53(10), 2213–2243. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-03-2017-0182

Dwivedi, Y. K., Ismagilova, E., Hughes, D. L., Carlson, J., Filieri, R., Jacobson, J., Jain, V., Karjaluoto, H., Kefi, H., Krishen, A. S., Kumar, V., Rahman, M. M., Raman, R., Rauschnabel, P. A., Row-ley, J., Salo, J., Tran, G. A., & Wang, Y. (2020). Setting the future of digital and social media marketing research: Perspectives and research propositions. International Journal of Information Management, 59, 102168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102168

Eastman, J. K., & Liu, J. (2012). The impact of generational cohorts on status consumption: An exploratory look at generational cohort and demographics on status consumption. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 29(2), 93–102. https://doi.org/10.1108/07363761211206348

Erskine, R. (2018). Facebook Engagement Sharply Drops 50% Over the Last 18 Months. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanerskine/2018/08/13/study-facebook-engagement-sharply-drops-50-over-last-18-months/

Fitzsimons, G. J., & Lehmann, D. R. (2004). Reactance to Recommendations: When Unsolicited Advice Yields Contrary Responses. Marketing Science, 23(1), 82–94. https://doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1030.0033

Gligor, D., Bozkurt, S., & Russo, I. (2019). Achieving customer engagement with social media: A qualitative comparative analysis approach. Journal of Business Research, 101(April), 59–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.04.006

Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Publications.

Heinze, T. (2010), Cue congruency and product involvement effects on generation y attitudes, In Belk, R.W. (Ed.) Research in Consumer Behavior (12, pp. 75-99) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0885-2111(2010)0000012006

Hetharie, J. A., Surachman, Hussein, A. S., & Puspaningrum, A. (2019). SOR (Stimulus-organism-response) model application in observing the influence of impulsive buying on consumers post-purchase regret. International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research, 8(11), 2829–2841.

Hollebeek, L. D., Glynn, M. S., & Brodie, R. J. (2014). Consumer brand engagement in social media: Conceptualization, scale development, and validation. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 28(2), 149–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intmar.2013.12.002

Iraqi, K. M., Zohaib, H. S., & Mohammad, A. J. (2017). Engaging Consumers in Social Media From the Perspective of S-O-R. Journal of Mass Communication, 17, 1–32.

Kabadayi, S., & Price, K. (2014). Consumer - Brand engagement on Facebook: liking and commenting behaviors. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 8(3), 203–223. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-12-2013-0081

Katz, E., & Foulkes, D. (1962). On the use of the mass media as “es-cape”: Clarification of a concept. Public Opinion Quarterly, 26(3), 377–388. https://doi.org/10.1086/267111

Kiesler, C. A., Collins, B. E., & Miller, N. (1969). Attitude change: A critical analysis of theoretical approaches. New York: Wiley.

Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A., M. (Ed.). (2018). Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Fourth Edition. IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3

Kim, D. H., Spiller, L., & Hettche, M. (2015). Analyzing media types and content orientations in Facebook for global brands. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 9(1), 4–30. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-05-2014-0023

Ko, H., Cho, C. H., & Roberts, M. S. (2005). Internet uses and gratifications: A structural equation model of interactive advertising. Journal of Advertising, 34(2), 57–70. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2005.10639191

Kumar, A., Bezawada, R., Rishika, R., Janakiraman, R., & Kannan, P. K. (2016). The Effects of Firm Generated Content (FGC) in Social Media on Customer Behavior. Journal of Marketing, 53(9), 1689–1699. https://doi.org/10.1509/jm.14.0249

Kumar, V., & Pansari, A. (2016). Competitive advantage through engagement. Journal of Marketing Research, 53(4), 497–514. https://doi.org/10.1509/jmr.15.0044

Kumar, V., Rajan, B., Gupta, S., & Pozza, I. D. (2019). Customer engagement in service. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47(1), 138–160. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-017-0565-2

Laskey, H. A., Day, E., & Crask, M. R. (1989). Typology of main message strategies for television commercials. Journal of Advertising, 18(1), 36–41. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.1989.10673141

Lahuerta-Otero, E., Cordero-Gutiérrez, R., & De la Prieta-Pintado, F. (2018). Retweet or like? That is the question. Online Information Review, 42(5), 562–578. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-04-2017-0135

Lee, D., Hosanagar, K., & Nair, H. (2013). The Effect of Advertising Content on Consumer Engagement: Evidence from Facebook. The Wharton School, August, 1–42.

Lee, D., Hosanagar, K., & Nair, H. (2018). Advertising Content and Consumer Engagement on Social Media: Evidence from Facebook. SSRN Electronic Journal, July 2016. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2290802

Lee, J., & Hong, I. B. (2016). Predicting positive user responses to social media advertising: The roles of emotional appeal, informativeness, and creativity. International Journal of Information Management, 36(3), 360–373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2016.01.001

Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2016). Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 69–96. https://doi.org/10.1509/jm.15.0420

Limbu, Y. B., Huhmann, B. A., & Peterson, R. T. (2012). An examination of humor and endorser effects on consumers’ responses to direct-to-consumer advertising: The moderating role of product involvement. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, 6(1), 23–38. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506121211216888

Lissitsa, S., & Kol, O. (2016). Generation X vs. Generation Y - A decade of online shopping. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 31, 304–312. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2016.04.015

Liu, X., Shin, H., & Burns, A. C. (2019). Examining the impact of luxury brand’s social media marketing on customer engagement: Using big data analytics and natural language processing. Journal of Business Research, 125(April), 815–826. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.04.042

Ma, L., Sun, B., & Kekre, S. (2015). The squeaky wheel gets the grease-an an empirical analysis of customer's voice and firm intervention on Twitter. Marketing Science, 34(5), 627–645. https://doi.org/10.1287/mksc.2015.0912

Manchanda, P., Packard, G. M., & Pattabhiramaiah, A. (2012). Social Dollars: The Economic Impact of Customer Participation in a Firm-Sponsored Online Community. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1984350

Mehrabian, A., & Russell, J. A. (1974). An approach to environmental psychology. The MIT Press.

Mitchell, A. A. (1979). Involvement: a Potentially Important Mediator of Consumer Behavior. Eds. William L. Wilkie, Ann Abor, MI: Association for Consumer Research, 6, 191–196.

Mittal, B., & Lee, M.-S. (1989). A casual model of consumer involvement. Journal of Economic Psychology, 10(3), 363–389. https://doi.org/10.1016/0167-4870(89)90030-5

Moran, G., Muzellec, L., & Johnson, D. (2019). Message content features and social media engagement: evidence from the media industry. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 29(5), 533–545. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-09-2018-2014

Morris, J. D., Woo, C., & Singh, A. J. (2005). Elaboration likelihood model: A missing intrinsic emotional implication. Journal of Targeting, Measurement, and Analysis for Marketing, 14(1), 79–98. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jt.5740171

Muntinga, D. G., Moorman, M., & Smit, E. G. (2011). Introducing COBRAs: Exploring motivations for Brand-Related social media use. International Journal of Advertising, 30(1), 37–41. https://doi.org/10.2501/IJA-30-1-013-046

Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 2nd quarter 2020 (in millions) | Statista. (2020a). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/

Number of social network users worldwide from 2017 to 2025 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista. (2020b). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/

Nunnally, J.C. (1978) Psychometric theory. 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Peng, C., & Kim, Y. G. (2014). Application of the Stimuli-Organism-Response (S-O-R) Framework to Online Shopping Behavior. Journal of Internet Commerce, 13(November), 159–176. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332861.2014.944437

Pentina, I., Guilloux, V., & Micu, A. C. (2018). Exploring Social Media Engagement Behaviors in the Context of Luxury Brands. Journal of Advertising, 47(1), 55–69. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2017.1405756

Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 19(C), 123–205. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60214-2

Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Schumann, D. (1983). Central and Peripheral Routes to Advertising Effectiveness: The Moderating Role of Involvement. Journal of Consumer Research, 10(2), 135. https://doi.org/10.1086/208954

Pezzuti, T., Leonhardt, J. M., & Warren, C. (2021). Certainty in Language Increases Consumer Engagement on Social Media. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 53, 32–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intmar.2020.06.005

Piehler, R., Schade, M., Kleine-Kalmer, B., & Burmann, C. (2019). Consumers’ online brand-related activities (COBRAs) on SNS brand pages: An investigation of consuming, contributing, and creating behaviours of SNS brand page followers. European Journal of Marketing, 53(9), 1833–1853. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-10-2017-0722

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1108/10748120110424816

Reinartz, W., & Saffert, P. (2013). Creativity in advertising: When It works and when it doesn’t | Request PDF. Harvard Business Review, 106–111. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/298257213_Creativity_in_advertising_When_It_works_and_when_it_doesn’t

Rosado-Pinto, F., & Loureiro, S. M. C. (2020). The growing complexity of customer engagement: a systematic review. EuroMed Journal of Business, 15(2), 167–203. https://doi.org/10.1108/EMJB-10-2019-0126

Schivinski, B., Christodoulides, G., & Dabrowski, D. (2016). Measuring consumers’ engagement with brand-related social-media content: Development and validation of a scale that identifies levels of social-media engagement with brands. Journal of Advertising Research, 56(1), 64–80. https://doi.org/10.2501/JAR-2016-004

Shao, G. (2009). Understanding the appeal of user-generated media: a uses and gratification perspective. Internet Research, 19(1), 7–25. https://doi.org/10.1108/10662240910927795

Sherif, C. W., Kelly, M., Rodgers, H. L., Sarup, G., & Tittler, B. I. (1973). Personal involvement, social judgment, and action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27(3), 311–328. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0034948

Sherif, M., & Hovland, C. I. (1962). Social Judgment: Assimilation and Contrast Effects in Communication and Attitude Change. American Journal of Sociology, 68(1), 126–127. https://doi.org/10.1086/223278

Sivacek, J., & Crano, W. D. (1982). Vested interest as a moderator of attitude-behavior consistency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43(2), 210–221. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.43.2.210

So, K. K. F., King, C., & Sparks, B. (2014). Customer Engagement With Tourism Brands. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 38(3), 304–329. https://doi.org/10.1177/1096348012451456

Stephen, A. T., Sciandra, M., & Inman, J. (2015). Is it What You Say or How You Say it? How Content Characteristics Affect Consumer Engagement with Brands on Facebook. SSRN Electronic Journal, October. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2683314

Su, N., Mariadoss, B. J., & Reynolds, D. (2019). Emotional and cognitive involvement of consumers with hotel brands on social networking sites. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, 2(4), 377–390. https://doi.org/10.1108/jhti-10-2018-0064

Sung, J., & Cho, K. (2012). The influence of media type on attitude toward mobile advertisements over time. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(1), 31–36. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2011.0061

Tafesse, W., & Wien, A. (2018). Using message strategy to drive consumer behavioral engagement on social media. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 35(3), 241–253. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-08-2016-1905

Taylor, D. G., Lewin, J. E., & Strutton, D. (2011). Friends, fans, and followers: Do ads work on social networks? How gender and age shape receptivity. Journal of Advertising Research, 51(1), 258–275. https://doi.org/10.2501/JAR-51-1-258-275

Van Doorn, J., Lemon, K. N., Mittal, V., Nass, S., Pick, D., Pirner, P., & Verhoef, P. C. (2010). Customer Engagement Behavior: Theoretical Foundations and Research Directions. Journal of Service Research, 13(3), 253–266. https://doi.org/10.1177/1094670510375599

Wang, W., Chen, R. R., Ou, C. X., & Ren, S. J. (2019). Media or message, which is the king in social commerce? An empirical study of participants’ intention to repost marketing messages on social media. Computers in Human Behavior, 93, 176–191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.12.007

Weiger, W. H., Hammerschmidt, M., & Wetzel, H. A. (2018). Don’t you dare push me: How persuasive social media tactics shape customer engagement. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 3(3), 364–439. https://doi.org/10.1086/698713

Whiting, A., & Williams, D. (2013). Why people use social media: a uses and gratifications approach. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 16(4), 362–369. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-06-2013-0041

Wu, P. C. s., & Wang, Y. C. (2011). The influences of electronic word-of-mouth message appeal and message source credibility on brand attitude. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 23(4), 448–472. https://doi.org/10.1108/13555851111165020

Zaichkowsky, J. L. (1994). The personal involvement inventory: Reduction, revision, and application to advertising. Journal of Advertising, 23(4), 59–70. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.1943.10673459

Zhang, H., Lu, Y., Wang, B., & Wu, S. (2015). The impacts of technological environments and co-creation experiences on customer participation. Information and Management, 52(4), 468–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.im.2015.01.008