The Elaboration Likelihood Theory Through Social Media 📱

Andreana Apostolopoulos
4 min readFeb 6, 2022


Social media has become a mainstream form of marketing for many businesses to get their products and services out in front of the eyes of mass viewers. As social media becomes saturated with advertisements, digital marketers create savvy campaigns and utilize social media influencers to make their viewers think less about what they are viewing and more prone to purchase products easily. This is done through serving ads based on social media interests and behaviors, optimizing platforms, and using social media inflencers as the spokesperson of a product.

Each of our likes, follows, and interactions on social media become an opportunity for companies to target us through our interests as if they are thinking for us. It’s becoming easier for us to press a button instead of researching what we are viewing. As a result, we begin to lack the thought of second-guessing if a product or service is genuinely worth value in the long run. This sort of perspective falls under the Elaboration Likelihood Model Theory, which states that when a persuader presents information to an audience, there is a level of elaboration, which is the amount of effort an audience member has to use to process and evaluate a message, remember it, and then accept or reject it. This level of elaboration can either be centralized where the audience (or user) scrutinizes the message’s contents or peripheral the user isn’t investigating the message for its effectiveness.

A perfect example of this seen in action was with the release of Screen Break Facial Mist by famous TikTok star, social media influencer, and creator of Item Beauty, Addison Rae. According to the popular influencer, Screen Break is a facial mist that can protect the skin against the Blue Light emitted from our smartphones and computers despite the lack of valid research on the validity of skin damage from blue light exposure. After its debut, many users scrutinized the actual effectiveness of the mist. They began to question the true effects of Blue Light on the skin’s health and if there are actual preventable formulas that exist.

According to research, there are no negative effects of natural blue light from the sun (HEV light) on the skin and concerns about the artificial blue light of laptops, tablets, and smartphones are unfounded. This form of elaboration evoked upon viewers stems from the central route processing. Others who are super fans of Addison Rae didn’t think twice if the product was effective or not but trusted in the inflencers words and purchased the product. This is an excellent example of peripheral route processing by entrusting an influencer instead of researching the facts.

Many brands can benefit from utilizing influencers to enhance awareness, reach target audiences, and connect to a broader market due to the trust that influencers have developed through their following. Additionally, influencer marketing is expected to grow to $13.8 billion in 2021. Knowing of this communication theory and how those on social media are interacting with product advertisements through inflencers, I believe leveraging influencers to market is the best way to get individuals to purchase products without second-guessing.

Overall, influencer marketing allows brands to be humanized and shows potential customers a product in action by a person they trust. It’s interesting to see how future generations will be impacted by social media marketing. Will many succumb to the word of an influencer and skillfully placed social media advertisement, or will they question and research what they are being presented?