Audience–campaign planner interaction in social media communication campaigns : how it influences intended campaign responses in the observing audience

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296–309
Journal / PublicationHuman Communication Research
Issue number3
Online published8 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


We proposed a dual typology of audiences for social media communication campaigns: the participating audience, who interacts with campaign planners, and the observing audience, who observes those interactions. Situated in a context of promoting seeking counseling for depression, our online experiment (N=570) demonstrated that the similarity of the observing and participating audiences (high vs. low), the message features of campaign planners’ replies (high person-centeredness vs. low person-centeredness vs. no reply), and the observing audience’s predispositions (with vs. without depressive symptoms) jointly affected the observing audience’s attitude toward seeking counseling. For observers with depressive symptoms, seeing a campaigner addressing a negative comment that reflects a similar concern of their own mitigated the adverse impact of the comment on the observers’ attitude. Our findings introduce a theoretical lens for understanding a communication process unique to campaigns on social media and offer insights into how the process shapes campaigns’ intended responses.

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Research Area(s)

  • depression, health communication, observing and participating audience, public health, social media campaigns

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