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Perceived Creativity and Consumer Engagement on Instagram


The problem under discussion in the following literature review covers the effects of consumer’s perception of creativity on Instagram engagement with a focus on the travel industry. The purpose of the study is to investigate the matter by exploring the existing literature about consumer engagement, perceived creativity, brand familiarity, and content type. The structure of the work includes an introduction, a review of sources about the perceived creativity, consumers’ engagement, types of picture, brand familiarity, and the conclusion.

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The first part of the work will involve the description of the perceived creativity on pictures and an explanation of its relation to consumer engagement. Then, the work will cover its effect on consumers’ Instagram engagement, and properties to measure it. The hypothesis to be risen is that the perceived creativity of the publications on Instagram brand accounts has a positive effect on the consumers’ passive and active engagement.

The second part of the work will be devoted to the description of consumers’ engagement on Instagram and the explanation of consumers’ active and passive engagement. The third part of the work includes the explanation of the influence of people on pictures in terms of consumer behavior. Then, the connection between the presence of people on pictures and perceived creativity and the connection between the presence of people and no presence of people on pictures and consumers’ engagement will be pointed out. The hypothesis to be risen is that the presence of people on publications of an Instagram brand account positively influences perceived creativity, and therefore, consumers’ engagement.

The fourth part of the work covers the description of brand familiarity and the explanation of the effect of consumers’ attitude towards a familiar brand. The hypothesis is that the perceived creativity of the publications on an Instagram brand account has a stronger positive effect on consumers’ engagement by consumers who are already familiar with the brand. The conclusion will summarize the main points, evaluate the literature on the topic. Additionally, it will include the gaps in knowledge and ideas for future study. The sources to be covered include thirty scientific articles, books, and researches on engagement, perceived creativity, brand familiarity, and content type.

Perceived Creativity

Perceived Creativity on Pictures in General

According to the literature analyzed, a consumer’s perception of creativity can be defined as the level of creativity at which consumers rate adverts when they see them for the first time. According to Casaló et al. (2020), all commercials are perceived by customers and rated as creative or non-creative. With marketing strategies of persuasion applied efficiently or inefficiently, the potential consumer decides whether the advertised product or activity is attractive by measuring the level of its originality. Consequently, the customer’s attitude to the necessity of a product is predetermined by the creative mechanism used.

The most common technique of advancing customers’ perception of creativity involves the application of visual elements, such as pictures. Statistically, advertisements that have an iconic constituent of this kind are generally regarded as more creative than their textual or audial countertypes. This is the reason why brands work on including original pictures in their advertisement contents with nonconventional concepts developed and exact colors and shades influencing the brain applied (Ditzinger, 2020). In terms of the travel industry types of images depend on the destination of the exact tour. For example, spa and health resorts require classic elements with naturally green palms and beige sand, meanwhile, they should be imparted in an unconventional way.

Relationship between Perceived Creativity and Consumer Engagement

The study of reliable sources has shown that there is a remarkable direct proportion between perceived creativity and consumer engagement. The higher is the level of perceived creativity of an advert content, the higher are the content’s abilities to engage consumers (Hollebeek & Macky, 2019). Audiences are prone to get interested in knowing more about the content containing substantial creativity elements (San et al., 2020). Therefore, if innovative content is posted online, the viewers need more time to understand its concept, and it can be rejected if it is excessively complex (Leach, 2018). For example, the travel industry commercials need the balance between primitive representation of tours and places and multiscale approaches with no semantic relation to what is advertised. Consequently, simplicity is not recommended, but images still should follow the topic.

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Effect of Perceived Creativity on Consumers’ Engagement

According to the relevant literature, perceived creativity of advertisement content substantially influences consumer engagement with more time spent on originally drafted samples. This is explained by the psychological mechanism of potential customers: visual tricks make them interested in the commercial, then they get involved in exploring this creative content to get to its core (Aichner et al., 2019). Such media channels as Instagram are regarded as successful sources for advertisement because, being mostly visual platforms, they enable their users to apply various tools to increase the perceived creativity of their products. Meanwhile, user’s reactions can be tracked with likes and views monitored and calculated.

The engagements of the images depend on their correlation with the brand, which includes concepts, structures, and colors applied for the efficient promotion of the product. The successful strategy attracts more attention to the product and increases the chances of its purchase with the specific platform and brand taken into consideration (Lăzăroiu et al., 2020). Instagram’s representation of the travel industry requires its special approaches that build its creativity. For example, images that can be considered creative for a website of a travel agency may be completely irrelevant for the company’s page on Instagram with the web-site requiring more fashionable visuals and the page needs a natural and sincere approach.

Properties to Measure Perceived Creativity

The analysis of relevant sources has shown that the perceived creativity of advertisements may be measured by three key properties. First, the novelty of content influences its promotion with contemporary content regarded as more creative among consumers (Waterloo et al., 2018). Second, customers pay attention to complexity, perceiving detailed ads as more creative (Lee et al., 2018). Third, the aesthetic of the visuals has a significant effect on its viewers with more appealing content taken as more creative (J. H. Kim & Y. Kim, 2019). The properties related to the representation of the travel industry on Instagram are the same as the focus on authentic aesthetics of places that reflects their attractiveness, originality, and induces customer’s positive emotions. For example, advertisements for London tours may be based on the red aesthetics of buses.


The explored literature has proven the hypothesis that the perceived creativity of the publications on an Instagram brand account has a positive effect on the consumers’ passive and active engagement. Firstly, the passive engagement comes with potential customers attracted by the originality of the concept. Then, they investigate it, and, if the Instagram post does not lack novelty, complexity, and aesthetics, they are likely to turn to active engagement with likes, views, and purchases.

Consumers’ Engagement

Consumers’ Engagement on Instagram

The study of sources has shown that consumers’ engagement on Instagram refers to the interactions between the consumers and organizations. The level of such interactions can be measured by the number of views and replies to a post made on Instagram. When a post receives many replies by Instagram users the engagement can be high (Morgan-Thomas et al., 2020; Casaló et al., 2017). If a publication does not get feedback, the engagement can be termed as low. Low consumer interaction is a sign that the post’s intended audience is not accessed by the organization (Hollebeek & Macky,2019). Consequently, the brand has to find alternative methods of reaching consumers or informing them about posts that have been made on Instagram. In terms of the travel industry this may include stories about sightseeing or adventures.

Consumers’ Active Engagement

According to the literature explored, consumers’ active engagement involves is when a buyer views the content and reacts through reposting, liking, and replying. Such a scenario indicates that the consumers devoted their time to read the item and gave their opinions related to the post (Phua et al., 2018). Meanwhile, likes are not the only measure since a viewer can like the content without reading the entire poster (Oliveira & Fernandes, 2020). Consequently, the active engagement on Instagram can be defined by a big number of reposts and replies.

Consumers’ Passive Engagement

Consumers’ passive engagement involves a scenario with viewers interacting with publications without getting involved. The huge number of views accompanied by few reposts and replies defines engagement as passive (Heinonen, 2018). Passive interactions may reflect that views are not interested in the product with no outcome for a brand as consequence. The reason may be that the content is excessively common and lacks individuality (Gvili & Levy, 2018). Passive consumer engagement rarely motivates consumers to make a purchase and works as an indicator of the changes needed. For example, a brand’s images related to the travel agencies should be compared with the works of competitors, analyses, and rebranded.

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Type of Picture

Influence of People on Pictures on Consumer Behavior

The studied sources have indicated that the presence of people in advertisements influences consumer behavior. The human image is positively regarded with customers prone to rely on other people’s opinions. If the depicted person likes the product, the viewers subconsciously regard it as appealing. For example, a poster for a healthcare organization with an image of a healthy family rises customers’ trust in this company’s high-quality medical service (Hanspal & Devasagayam, 2017). Meanwhile, the human factor puts fake images of people above real product reviews (Bazaarvoice, 2021). Additionally, clients can buy an item in bulk if it visually satisfies their emotional needs (Spectrio, 2021). In terms of the travel industry represented on Instagram, publications people smiling in picturesque places awake viewer’s desire to be there and persuade them to buy tours to different destinations.

Connection Between the Presence of People in Pictures and Perceived Creativity

The presence of people in an advertisement increases the consumer perception of the product’s creativity. Customers identify adverts with human pictures as more innovative compared to other designs (Sibirtseva, 2020). Clients regard pictorial advertisements with people as more emotional and trustworthy with the original and sincere representation of people (Highbrow, 2017). Meanwhile, visuals of such kind are more prone to have novelty, complexity, and aesthetics that form the perceived creativity.

Connection Between Presence and no Presence of People in Pictures and Consumer Engagement

The analysis of statistics revealed that Instagram advertisements with people images increase consumer engagement. Meanwhile, images without humans are perceived as cold and not customer oriented. This is the reason for the appearance of brand ambassadors who are individuals with substantial followers (Oliveira & Fernandes, 2020). Business organizations understand that using a familiar and popular figure can attract bigger audiences and, consequently, be efficient for their advertisement purposes. The more a consumer interacts with an advert with a popular personality, the more information from a commercial this person gains (Bazace, 2021). Meanwhile, Instagram broadens the number of potential ambassadors with nano-influencers gaining recognition.


The studied literature has proven the hypothesis that the presence of people on publications of an Instagram brand account positively influences perceived creativity, and therefore, consumers’ engagement. First, personalities rely on the opinion of other people and trust images that illustrate such opinions and translate emotions. Second, pictures with people are perceived as more creative and unique. Third, visuals with ambassadors are prone to attract bigger audiences. Meanwhile, publications of an Instagram brand account without humans can be regarded as cold.

Brand Familiarity

Description of Brand Familiarity

According to the sources explored, brand familiarity can be defined as the number of experiences related to the brand and depends on the time a consumer spends processing brand information. The more time a potential customer studies advertisements of a particular company, the more acquainted with it this person becomes (Beck & Prügl, 2018). Brand familiarity influences the level of people’s confidence in the product with consumers more prone to spend money on brands they already know. (Jeng, 2017). Buyers believe that an item from the company they are acquainted with is better than top-quality proposals from the less familiar brand (Rhee & Jung, 2019) This phenomenon is explained by the human instinct of safety.

Effect of Consumers’ Attitude towards a Familiar Brand

Consumers’ attitude to familiar brands has significant effects on the perceived creativity, shopper engagement, and buyer behaviors. Clients familiar with particular brands have preconceived opinions towards brands (Martí-Parreño et al., 2017). Consequently, if a person does not like a familiar brand, he or she is prone to regard the content created by this company as lacking creativity (Alexandra, & Cerchia, 2018). A consumer with a positive attitude towards a familiar brand is likely to engage with its contents because they expect appealing visuals (Yu et al., 2017). For example, in terms of the travel industry, positive and negative attitudes to the content influence the level of engagement, meanwhile, the engagement directly influences sales.


The explored literature has proven the hypothesis that the perceived creativity of the publications on an Instagram brand account has a stronger positive effect on consumers’ engagement by consumers who are already familiar with the brand. First, brand familiarity increases the trust in the product and motivates them to spend more time on the related content. Second, customers with a positive attitude towards a familiar brand expect pleasing Instagram content, consequently, their engagement raises.


The summary of main points confirms hypotheses and defines the impact of perceived creativity on consumer engagement on Instagram within the travel industry. First, the perceived creativity of Instagram brand account publications positively affects consumers’ passive and active engagement. Second, the presence of people on Instagram visuals influences viewers’ engagements. Third, the perceived creativity of the publications on an Instagram brand account has a stronger positive effect on consumers’ engagement by consumers who are already familiar with the brand. Consequently, in terms of the travel industry Instagram representation, the influence of perceived creativity on consumer engagement is significant and can be described as the measure of marketing quality.

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The current state of literature in relation to the topic can be evaluated as vast, accurate, and detailed. This can babe explained by the gradually developing interest in marketing, Instagram strategies, and visual psychology studies. Meanwhile, most materials on consumer engagement on Instagram within the travel industry are either non-informative or unreliable. Consequently, the flaws or gaps in existing knowledge require more studies centered on the exact field of Instagram strategies for the travel industry. The proposed ideas for future study include the further investigation of the contemporary tools of the travel industry marketing and online surveys to distinguish suitable and unsuitable types of relatable content. Next, the deep research of the perceived creativity on cognitive level will clarify the matter.


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