Abstract: Social media are increasingly populated with brand messages that are linked to timely events, a practice that is also known as real-time marketing (RTM). In this study, we examine whether RTM is an effective strategy to boost sharing behaviour, and if so, what moment- and content-related characteristics contribute to its effectiveness. A content analysis of brand tweets from Nielsen’s top-100 advertisers (n = 1500) shows that RTM positively affects word of mouth. RTM is especially a more effective strategy when brand messages are linked with unpredictable events (vs. predictable). This can be explained by the meaningfulness dimension of creativity; brands make a more meaningful connection to timely moments in unpredictable RTM than in predictable RTM. Furthermore, we found support for the beneficial effects of moment-driven visuals; RTM messages are shared more when public events are visually integrated with those messages. No such effect was found for moment-driven hashtags.
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