Promoting the Faith: Examining Megachurches’ Audience-Centric Advertising Strategies on Social Media

Jordan Morehouse, Adam J. Saffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Megachurches have a reputation for savvy use of digital media; however, little is known about their advertising strategy or which strategies elicit engagement. By assessing megachurches’ promotional content on social media, this study draws on the devotional campaign framework to examine audience-centric engagement strategies: God–Congregant, Church–Congregant, and Intra-Congregational. The quantitative content analysis of Facebook and Instagram posts from 15 megachurches in five countries revealed that megachurches used the combination God–Congregant & Church–Congregant engagement strategies, as well as the singular Church–Congregant engagement strategy, the most often. Yet, audiences engaged significantly more with posts using the God–Congregant engagement strategy when compared to all other strategies. The use of engagement strategies and engagement received on posts varied according to geographical location and cultural differences, suggesting there may be a cultural aspect to what earns engagement from followers. Advertisers looking to increase online engagement should focus their efforts on persuasive messages that include the object-audience engagement strategy. This study advances advertising theory on engagement by suggesting that engagement is contingent upon the engagement strategy utilized as well as the specific region’s norms around the brand and community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-422
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Advertising
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021, American Academy of Advertising.

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