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Online brand advocacy (OBA): the development of a multiple item scale

Violetta Wilk (School of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)
Geoffrey Norman Soutar (Department of Marketing, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia)
Paul Harrigan (Department of Marketing, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 17 January 2020

Issue publication date: 23 June 2020




Despite an increasing interest in online brand advocacy (OBA) and the importance of online brand conversations, OBA’s conceptualization, dimensionality and measurement are unclear, which has created confusion. This paper aims to answer calls from researchers and practitioners for a better understanding and measurement of OBA. The development and validation of a parsimonious and practical OBA scale is outlined in this paper.


A multi-methods, multi-stage approach was followed to develop a parsimonious OBA scale. From an initial pool of 96 items obtained from qualitative research and from items used in prior general brand advocacy scales, a test-retest reliability study is followed. Academic judges were consulted to verify dimensionality, followed by two separate online surveys to further purify the scale and assess criterion-related validity. Programs including SPSS, AMOS and WarpPLS were used.


This research extends the knowledge of OBA by developing and testing a parsimonious and practical 16-item, four-dimensional OBA scale. Unlike previous attempts to measure OBA, this study suggested OBA as a multidimensional construct with four dimensions (i.e. brand defense, brand information sharing, brand positivity and virtual positive expression). Further, this study showed that OBA is conceptually different from consumer–brand engagement and electronic word-of-mouth.

Research limitations/implications

Future research is encouraged to validate the OBA scale in various contexts and locations. Researchers can use the new OBA scale to examine potential brand-related antecedents and consequences of OBA.

Practical implications

This study provides brand and marketing practitioners with a better understanding of brand advocacy occurring online. The OBA scale offers clear markers or trademarks that will be useful in assessing any brand’s health online and to track and better manage online brand communications and performance.


This research provides the first empirical investigation of Wilk et al.’s (2018) exploratory insights into OBA. The resulting parsimonious scale has furthered OBA as a new area for academic enquiry and presented practitioners with a practical way of measuring OBA.



This research has been made possible with the support of the Australian Government through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.


Wilk, V., Soutar, G.N. and Harrigan, P. (2020), "Online brand advocacy (OBA): the development of a multiple item scale", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 415-429.



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