Using personalization for cause-related marketing beyond compassion fade on social media

Jihye Kim, Minseong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: In light of the increasing occurrences of social issues and natural disasters, the number of people who need financial assistance is also growing. Using the compassion fade framework, marketing scholars have focused on the impact of the number of victims in need of monetary donations. Situated in the cause-related marketing context, the purpose of this study is to test whether personalization and perceived social visibility moderate the influence of compassion on social engagement intention to participate in a company’s charity. Design/methodology/approach: This study conducted an online experiment with a 2 (number of children in need: single vs group) x 2 (personalization: personalized vs general) between subjects’ design and measured perceived social visibility as a numeric variable divided into three groups. Two-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), a simple moderation analysis, and a moderated mediation analysis using the PROCESS macro were conducted to test the hypotheses. Findings: Compassion fade occurred in general advertisements whereas the opposite tendency occurred in personalized advertisements. The positive effect of compassion on social engagement intention was stronger at a high level of perceived social visibility; the effect was significant but weak in the low perceived social visibility condition. The indirect effects from the number of children to social engagement intention via compassion were significant in the personalized ads with medium/high social visibility conditions and general ads with medium/high social visibility conditions; the indirect effects were insignificant in the personalized ads with low social visibility and general ads with low social visibility conditions. Practical implications: The findings of this study should help companies develop and implement effective cause-related marketing strategies via social media, providing consumers with an opportunity to show others how they support social and environmental issues. Originality/value: This study increases the understanding of the influence of the number of children in need on social media posts incorporating cause-related marketing and emphasizes the interaction effects of compassion, personalization and perceived social visibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-316
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Research in Interactive Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Advertising
  • Cause-related marketing
  • Compassion fade
  • Personalization
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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