Social media message engagement

How does purchase decision involvement play into social media message appeal?

Purchase decision involvement, or PDI, is one of the sturdy building blocks for promoting strong consumer engagement online.

PDI is mainly influenced by the effort invested by the consumer in the purchase process.

However, purchase decisions can also be influenced by the uncertainty associated with the purchase, usually regarding the cost of the product.

This is where social media message appeals come into the picture. Message appeal is generally driven by the consumer’s level of involvement and the richness of the media involved.

Message richness refers to the effectiveness of a social media message, such as a text post compared to a video.

Video is a highly rich form of media compared to a text post, so it will generate significantly more engagement.

This makes it a much more effective mode of social media messaging; the richer the message, the more effective it will be.

Overall, richer media are more effective than leaner media, hence richer media is associated with higher consumer engagement.

There are two main types of social media message appeal: informational, rational appeals and transformational, emotional appeals.

Informational message appeals emphasise facts about the brand or product and gives the consumer rational, logical reasons to make the purchase.

This type of product is considered a low involvement purchase decision as it generally doesn’t affect the consumer significantly, like a brand of toothpaste.

In comparison, transformational appeals emphasise consumer experience with the brand or product and promote positive outcomes to make the consumer feel ‘special’.

Products categorised as high involvement purchases often require time and effort before making a decision. This may involve an expensive airline ticket or buying your first house.

Message richness is even more powerful when different media types are combined, which is why brands should include a mix of rational and emotional social media message appeal.

The more dominant form of appeal should be selected based on the level of purchase decision involvement.

Transformational appeals are more effective on social media and more likely to generate more consumer engagement.

This may be due to the largely hedonic and addictive nature of social platforms.

Overall, it’s the combination of transformational appeal and message richness that drives engagement.


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