When viewing online ads, some consumers click on the information tab to get more information about the brand, product, or service, whereas other consumers share the advertisement with their network. These engagement differences are driven, at least in part, by the cultural characteristics of the consumer. This study finds consumers with cultural characteristics that value individual experiences tend to engage with online marketing materials through clicking behavior, as clicking provides more information to the consumer on a particular brand, product, or service, thus improving the selection and usefulness of a product for that consumer. In contrast, consumers with cultural characteristics that value social experiences tend to engage in online sharing behavior, since sharing is a way to socialize with others in and outside an individual’s ingroup. These results have important implications for marketing managers, especially if a firm has products in international markets, as countries vary both in the cultural characteristics of its inhabitants and in the strength to which individuals within the country share similar cultural characteristics.
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What You Need to Know
- Consumers with cultural characteristics that value individual experiences tend to engage with online marketing materials through clicking behavior, whereas consumers with cultural characteristics that value social experiences tend to engage in online sharing behavior.
- Marketing managers need to understand which consumer behavior (clicking or sharing) they wish to entice and target countries where consumers have the appropriate cultural characteristics.
- In countries where consumers vary widely in cultural characteristics, marketing managers should provide the appropriate engagement opportunities and adjust commercial messages to have either (or both) clickable brand content and to be appealing enough to be shared.
The digital ecosystem makes entry into foreign markets easier and provides new ways for consumers to engage with marketing materials (through content clicking, sharing, and electronic word-of-mouth [eWOM] behavior). While evidence has emerged that between-country cultural differences may impact digital consumer engagement (particularly eWOM), far less is known about its impact on online advertising clicking and sharing engagement or how within-country cultural variation (tightness/looseness) moderates this activity. The authors develop and test the notion that between- and within-country cultural differences lead to variations in digital consumer engagement, especially clicking and sharing behavior. Using industry data provided by a programmatic advertising firm, the authors find support for the idea that between-country differences in national cultural values impact digital engagement and that within-country cultural variation moderates these relations. In this way, they provide new insights for researchers and managers about international marketing in the digital age.
Frauke Mattison Thompson and Keith D. Brouthers (2021), “Digital Consumer Engagement: National Cultural Differences and Cultural Tightness,” Journal of International Marketing, 29 (4), 22–44.