Purpose: Retail marketers use brand communities (BCs) on social media (SM) to create digital engagement and reach new customers. However, this marketing form needs perceived content vividness and enduring involvement with products. The purpose of this study compares digital engagement (measured as an intention to recommend a retail brand online) produced by BCs of retailers at three levels of cognitive load (measured as exposure time to website). Design/methodology/approach: Online quasi-experiments were conducted to analyze how SM platforms with diverse levels of enduring involvement with products, perceived content vividness and cognitive load influence digital engagement. Findings: Results show enduring involvement with products produced digital engagement. In addition, cognitive load produced an inverted U-shaped effect on digital engagement in the condition of high content vividness (perceived). In the low content vividness condition, cognitive load produced similar or greater positive effects on digital engagement than those produced in the high content vividness condition. Research limitations/implications: The study implies a willingness to recommend online serves as a proxy of digital engagement failing to capture the reciprocal activities from the firms to customers. It also assumes that measuring product importance and usage frequency of the product serve as proxies of enduring involvement failing to capture the hedonic motivations related to products. Practical implications: Practitioners should prioritize enduring involvement with products over perceived content vividness to improve digital engagement and reach new customers through their BCs on SM platforms. In addition, managers should use SM with content perceived with low vividness to improve digital engagement. Originality/value: The study shows the influence of enduring involvement with products on digital engagement. It supports applying the resource-matching theory in SM platforms. It offers an alternative operationalization of constructs. The study compares multiple products and SM platforms providing empirical evidence of distinct levels of content vividness between SM platforms, not considered in previous studies.
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