What made you buy it? A Look at the Elaboration Likelihood Model

Hannah Medina
2 min readMay 31, 2021
Photo by Jo San Diego on Unsplash

Take a moment and think back to the last commercial you saw or the last new item you bought. Why did you buy it? Did you have an inherent need for it, or was there something about the presentation that caught your eye?

These thoughts are what helped to determine whether you, as the consumer, would purchase one item over another. Either it was a presentation of the central or peripheral route to lead the consumer to change their attitude.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

In the central route, a great example is insurance advertisements. The commercial is looking to present the facts of the plan and why they are better than other companies. In contrast, a peripheral route may be taken in the sense of anything beauty-related on the market. Although consumers all have different perfumes or colognes at home, presenting a bit of variety in the scent with a new celebrity face to be its ambassador, peoples’ minds switch.

In a professional sense, from someone looking to present social media campaigns, it is essential to consider what kind of audience I am targeting. When it comes to sales, the message may change dependent upon the target, as in any advertising. Many central routes are seen through printed pieces as the point of this model is to give someone information to stew on. Whereas with the peripheral course, less stress is needed to go into how the item is being sold, but instead by who.

This peripheral idea is seen quite often in the use of INGOs around the globe and how they choose to get the word out about their cause. Yes, the cause is fantastic and is worthy of receiving donations. Still, their message is elevated because of the use of their famous ambassadors.

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

With the growth of social media and social media influencer marketing, I find it personally effective to focus on using the peripheral route in many instances. People are drawn to recommendations from others, and because of that, it may be the most efficient use of my budget.

Referral Source:

Rosenberry, J. & Vicker, L. A. (2017). Applied Mass Communication Theory: A Guide for Media Practitioners (2nd ed). Routledge.