Original Research

The theory of planned behaviour and user engagement applied to Facebook advertising

Petra N.C. Sanne, Melanie Wiese
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 20, No 1 | a915 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v20i1.915 | © 2018 Melanie Wiese, Petra N.C. Sanne | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 September 2017 | Published: 05 June 2018

About the author(s)

Petra N.C. Sanne, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Melanie Wiese, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Background: Facebook has become one of the most popular advertising platforms on social media. It is therefore important for social media marketers and researchers to have an understanding of the predictors of Facebook users’ engagement with Facebook advertising across all brands and Facebook advertising types.


Objectives: This study aimed to determine whether the theory of planned behaviour could be applied to understand and predict engagement with Facebook advertising.


Method: Non-probability convenience sampling resulted in a sample size of 656 Facebook users above the age of 18 who resided in South Africa. The data collected by means of an online survey were analysed using regression analyses.


Results: The findings indicated that attitude was the strongest predictor of behavioural intention to engage with Facebook advertising, followed by subjective norms. However, perceived behavioural control was found not to be a significant predictor of behavioural intention to engage with Facebook advertising. Furthermore, behavioural intention to engage with Facebook advertising was found to predict actual engagement.


Conclusion: Social media marketers need to focus on influencing attitudes and subjective norms to increase engagement with their Facebook advertisements. Furthermore, the theory of reasoned action was found to be more appropriate to predict engagement with Facebook advertising, as it excludes perceived behavioural control.


theory of planned behaviour; attitude; subjective norms; perceived behavioural control; behavioural intention; Facebook advertising


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Crossref Citations

1. A framework for Facebook advertising effectiveness: A behavioral perspective
Melanie Wiese, Carla Martínez-Climent, Dolores Botella-Carrubi
Journal of Business Research  vol: 109  first page: 76  year: 2020  
doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.11.041