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Social media advertising reactance model: a theoretical review

Honghong Huo (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Zhiyong Liu (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Qingfei Min (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 25 November 2020

Issue publication date: 19 May 2021




Research on social media advertising reactance (SMAR) is in the early stages. This paper intends to present a full picture of SMAR studies, introduce a comprehensive theoretical model (the social media advertising reactance model, SMARM) and provide insights into research and practice.


This review adopts the concept-driven systematic review approach, identifying 92 articles from four primary academic databases – EBSCO, Elsevier, Web of Science and Google Scholar.


First, this review offers overviews of five topics: publication trends, the journals publishing research, research methodology, targeted platform and the main theories. Second, based on the framework of psychological reactance, this study proposes the SMARM, identifying and elaborating on four components of the nomological relationship to SMAR: related concepts, antecedents, moderators and consequences.

Practical implications

This research has implications for advertisers, social media platform operators and policymakers by providing a whole picture of SMAR. Moreover, the SMARM could guide the stakeholders to adopt a user-friendly advertising design for the sustainable development of social media advertising (SMA).


By presenting an up-to-date review of SMAR-related research, this paper contributes to the literature of social media, advertising and marketing. Through a comparison with traditional advertising, this paper makes the characteristics of SMA clear. Meanwhile, the SMARM is developed to systematically elaborate on all related elements of SMAR and explain their underlying causal relationships. Future research directions are proposed.



This work was partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [71772022]; Philosophy and Social Science Planning Fund of Liaoning Province [L18CGL015]; the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities [DUT20RW119].


Huo, H., Liu, Z. and Min, Q. (2021), "Social media advertising reactance model: a theoretical review", Internet Research, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 822-845.



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