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Generating Content Increases Enjoyment by Immersing Consumers and Accelerating Perceived Time

Generating Content Increases Enjoyment by Immersing Consumers and Accelerating Perceived Time

Gabriela N. Tonietto and Alixandra Barasch

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Teaching Insights

Thanks to advances in technology, particularly smartphones, consumers now have continuous access to messaging and social media applications. As a result, event-goers generate huge amounts of content about their experiences as they unfold. While popular press articles commonly advise keeping technology away during experiences, using technology to generate content can actually improve experiences.

Consumers who generate content feel more immersed, feel as though time is “flying,” and ultimately enjoy their experiences more.

Marketers can encourage consumers to communicate about their events and experiences, and thus reap the associated benefits. Strategies for increasing consumer content creation include incentivizing consumers to generate content and informing consumers of how common this behavior is through a norm nudge. Even more importantly, consumers who are incentivized or motivated by social norms to generate content reap the same experiential benefits as those who create content organically. Thus, encouraging content creation can mutually benefit both firms and consumers by increasing engagement and enjoyment.

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Related Marketing Courses: ​
Marketing Strategy;​​​​ ​​​​Consumer Behavior

Full Citation: ​
Tonietto, Gabriela N, and Alixandra Barasch (forthcoming), “Generating Content Increases Enjoyment by Immersing Consumers and Accelerating Perceived Time,” Journal of Marketing.

Article Abstract
Advances in technology, particularly smartphones, have unlocked new opportunities for consumers to generate content about experiences while they unfold (e.g., by texting, posting to social media, writing notes), and this behavior has become nearly ubiquitous. The present research examines the effects of generating content during ongoing experiences. Across nine studies, we show that generating content during an experience increases feelings of immersion and makes time feel like it is passing more quickly, which in turn enhances enjoyment of the experience. We investigate these effects across a broad array of experiences, both inside and outside the lab, that vary in duration from a few minutes to several hours, including positive and negative videos and real-life holiday celebrations. We conclude with several studies testing marketing interventions that increase content creation, and find that consumers who are incentivized or motivated by social norms to generate content reap the same experiential benefits as those who create content organically. These findings illustrate how leveraging content creation to improve experiences can mutually benefit marketers and consumers.

Special thanks to Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidate at Duke University, for her support in working with authors on submissions to this program.

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