Demystifying congruence effects in Instagram in-feed native ads: the role of media-based and self-based congruence

Jing Yang, Mengtian Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the kinds of ad appeals and brand types that contribute to perceived ad–media congruence on Instagram and how such congruence influences consumers’ engagement intentions via the interaction of self-related congruence constructs. Additionally, ad intrusiveness was studied as a mediator of the relationship between ad–media congruence and consumers’ behavioral engagement intention. Design/methodology/approach: An online 2 (Ad appeal: hedonic vs utilitarian) × 2 (Brand type: hedonic vs utilitarian) between-subject experiment was conducted with four versions of mock-up Instagram in-feed native ads. Findings: Results showed that hedonic advertising appeals contributed to ad–media congruence on Instagram, which yielded a lower level of ad intrusiveness and further resulted in higher consumer behavioral engagement intentions. The brand type did not significantly influence participants’ perceptions of ad–media congruence. Moreover, the findings indicate individuals’ brand-self congruence and ad-self congruence were significant moderators in interactions with ad–media congruence in influencing consumers’ behavioral engagement intentions. Practical implications: Both brand managers and social media providers can leverage this study’s findings to improve ad effectiveness and consumer experiences in their respective social media landscapes. Specifically, knowing what kind of ad is more congruent and less intrusive, as well as how to better tailor targeting strategies in digital media spaces by building higher ad self- and brand self-congruence, can help them achieve persuasive effects when complying with the Federal Trade Commission disclosure guideline. Originality/value: The current study advances extant literature on native advertising by examining the core characteristic of ad–media congruence and its relation to the key metric of social media marketing success – consumer engagement intentions. The findings also extend the congruence theory by examining the interaction effect of media- and self-related congruence constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-708
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Research in Interactive Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Contextual advertising
  • Online consumer behavior
  • Personalization
  • Social media advertising

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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