Cause‐related marketing improves corporate image and consumer attitudes toward brands. An important research gap is how the visual attention paid to cause‐related cues in social media affect consumer attitudes and behaviors. In the present study, we analyze the moderating role of the visual attention paid to Instagram‐based, cause‐related posts on the impact of consumer perceptions (i.e., corporate image), beliefs (trust), and attitudes (i.e., corporate social responsibility [CSR] support) on behavioral intentions (i.e., cause participation, consumer advocacy, and intention to share posts) for fast‐food restaurants. Data for the study were collected in a between‐subjects experiment with 123 participants. Visual attention was measured using eye‐tracking technology, and consumer attitudes and behavioral intentions through an online survey. The results show that the greater the attention paid to images (amount and duration of fixations) and the more revisits made lead to more positive attitudes and behaviors toward the cause and the company. On the other hand, the more time spent looking at the company’s responses to negative user‐ generated content weakens the relationship between trust and consumer advocacy toward the company. These results can help practitioners design appropriate cause‐ related marketing strategies in social media. 

This study employs Eye Tracking done with glasses, which is fully integrated into the iMotions software suite. To learn more please visit our dedicated product page, or download our complete guide on Eye Tracking below: