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Consumption of marketer-generated content: consumers as curators of marketing messages that they consume on social media

Valeria Noguti (UTS Business School/Marketing Discipline Group, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 19 October 2022

Issue publication date: 30 November 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand how structural characteristics of social media enable consumers to satisfy needs related to marketer-generated content (MGC) and identify the consequences of consumer exposure to MGC.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper revisits research on antecedents and consequences of advertising consumption to build an emergent conceptual model applied to MGC through the investigation of consumer experiences in social media. Thirty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted with consumers who follow brands on Instagram. The interview transcripts were coded and analysed using a grounded theory approach.

Findings

This study finds that, structurally, MGC consumption is characterised by the combination of: consumer micro-control over both content and timing/place of consumption and ease of consumption, enabling consumers to seek pleasure and utility without effort. The data show that MGC is only likely to be shared to a restricted group with strong social connections, such as family members and close friends with similar interests, with whom new interactions develop over brands and products, online or in person. MGC consumption experiences also generate significant consumer learning that improves purchase outcomes for consumers. Three types of MGC consumers were identified in the data: “enthusiasts”, “circumstantial” and “occasional”.

Research limitations/implications

This study updates previous literature, offering a conceptual framework that specifies how the structural characteristics of social media are conducive to consumer exposure to self-curated MGC flows. This research also uncovers unique social dynamics and consumer learning related to MGC consumption.

Practical implications

Insights from this study suggest alternative business models that may be attractive for consumers, brands and social media platforms. This research also suggests ways in which brands can improve consumer MGC experiences.

Originality/value

This research demonstrates how and why consumers embrace MGC at scale through social media and reveals consequences of MGC consumption.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research has been funded by the UTS Professional Experience Program (PEP) and the Publication Rewards Scheme (PRS) at the Marketing Discipline Group at the University of Technology Sydney.

Feedback provided by Cristel A. Russell on previous versions of this manuscript is gratefully acknowledged.

Citation

Noguti, V. (2022), "Consumption of marketer-generated content: consumers as curators of marketing messages that they consume on social media", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56 No. 12, pp. 3545-3567. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-09-2020-0695

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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