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Nova scientia

versión On-line ISSN 2007-0705

Nova scientia vol.10 no.21 León nov. 2018 

Ciencias humanas y sociales

Engagement: bibliometric analysis

Engagement: análisis bibliométrico

Claudia Leticia Preciado Ortiz1  * 

Juan Antonio Vargas Barraza1 

Ainhize Gilsanz López2 

1Centro Universitario de Ciencias Económico Administrativas, Universidad de Guadalajara,México

2Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad del País Vasco, España



The objective of this paper was to carry out a bibliometric analysis by using the different names that engagement has had in marketing to know growth trends, current research areas and to discover potential future lines of research on this subject.


The Scopus database was the provider of the information, analyzing a sample of 1791 documents for the period from 1996 to March 10, 2018, the date on which the data was downloaded.


The results show that the development of research on the subject is growing. The country that leads in number of publications is the United States, however, the most productive institution is the University of Auckland, New Zealand; and the leading journal was Computers in Human Behavior. Similarly, the most productive authors are Hollebeek, Graffigna and Malthouse; but the author who had the greatest impact on citations per year and not per number of publications was Brodie. The main areas in which a particular interest has been given are customer / consumer engagement, social media engagement, user engagement and brand engagement. It is possible to emphasize the concentration in studies that are focused on online environments (social networks and brand communities) and recent studies related to mobile environments (apps).

Discussion or Conclusion

It can be concluded that engagement is a frontier issue in the area of marketing, especially focused on online environments and recently on mobile applications. It is an area of research in which there is much to do, since brands are betting every day on using more interactive channels to keep their customers and attract new ones, by generating new communication environments, involvement and engagement between brands and customers.

Keywords: bibliometric analysis; engagement; marketing; brand engagement; customer engagement



El objetivo de este trabajo fue llevar a cabo un análisis bibliométrico utilizando los diferentes nombres que el engagement ha tenido en marketing para conocer las tendencias de crecimiento, las áreas de investigación actuales y descubrir posibles líneas futuras de investigación sobre el tema.


La base de datos Scopus fue el proveedor de la información, analizando una muestra de 1791 documentos para el período comprendido entre 1996 y el 10 de marzo de 2018, fecha en que se descargaron los datos. Los softwares utilizados para el análisis de datos fueron Microsoft Excel y VOSviewer.


Los resultados muestran que el desarrollo de la investigación sobre el tema está creciendo. El país que lidera en número de publicaciones es Estados Unidos, sin embargo, la institución más productiva es la Universidad de Auckland, Nueva Zelanda; y la revista principal fue Computers in human behavior. Del mismo modo, los autores más productivos son Hollebeek, Graffigna y Malthouse; pero el autor que tuvo el mayor impacto en las citas por año y no por número de publicaciones fue Brodie. Las principales áreas en las que se ha otorgado especial interés son la relación cliente / consumidor, el engagement con las redes sociales, el engagement del usuario y el engagement con la marca. Es posible enfatizar la concentración en estudios enfocados a entornos en línea (redes sociales y comunidades de marca) y recientemente estudios relacionados con entornos móviles (aplicaciones).

Discusión o Conclusión

Se puede concluir que el engagement es un tema de frontera en el área de marketing, especialmente centrado en entornos en línea y recientemente en aplicaciones móviles. Es un área de investigación en la que hay mucho que hacer ya que las marcas apuestan cada día por utilizar canales más interactivos para mantener a sus clientes y atraer nuevos, generando nuevos entornos de comunicación, participación y engagment entre marcas y clientes.

Palabras clave: análisis bibliométrico; engagement; mercadotecnia; brand engagement; customer engagement


The marketing approach has been changing and evolving over time. From a marketing focused on the needs of the client to become the marketing of the client, where the client has taken the reins (Merrilees, 2016). This is observed in the growing academic research on the commitment of the consumer brand and the co-creation of value for the client where interactive experiences are the fundamental element of their development (Brodie, Hollebeek, Juric & Ilic, 2011, Malthouse and Calder, 2011, Grönroos and Voima, 2013, Merrilees, 2016).

The term engagement is an Anglicism that can be translated as commitment, involvement or implication in a phenomenon. It has been investigated in several disciplines, such as education (e.g. Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991, Kearsley and Schneiderman, 1998), psychology (e.g. Csiks-zentmihalyi, 1997, Kahn, 1990, 1992; Schaufeli, Salanova, González-Romá & Bakker, 2002; Schaufeli, Martinez, Marques, Salanova & Bakker, 2002; Higgins, 2006); sociology (Jennings and Zeitner, 2003) management, organizational culture and labor relations (e.g. Kahn, 1990, Rothbard, 2001; Nambisan, 2002; Saks, 2006), and information systems (e.g. Wagner and Majchrzak 2007).

In marketing literature it began to attract attention in recent years. According to Gambetti, Biraghi, Shultz and Graffigna (2015, p.1), consumer brand engagement seems to be the "new hot topic in strategic marketing and branding".

So far, most of the academic work has been of a conceptual nature, however, little by little empirical work has begun to appear in various areas of marketing (Javornik and Mandelli, 2012); for example, engagement in contexts such as social networks (Hollebeek and Chen, 2014), retail (Vivek, Beatty, Dalela & Morgan, 2014), services (Jaakkola and Alexander, 2014), and mobile applications (Tarute, Nikou and Gatautis, 2017; Viswanathan, Hollebeek, Malthouse, Maslowska, Kim and Xie, 2017).

The term customer engagement has been recognized by both professionals and academics (Zhang, 2016). However, its denomination does not yet have a single term. Some authors call it simply engagement (e.g. Marci, 2006; Sullivan, 2009; Gambetti and Graffigna, 2010; De Vries, Carlson & Moscato, 2014); customer engagement (e.g. Mandelli and Accoto, 2012; Javornik and Mandelli, 2012; Vivek, Beatty and Morgan, 2012).

Some others call it: consumer engagement (e.g. Vivek, 2009; Kumar et al., 2010; Verhoef, Rei-nartz and Krafft, 2010; Brodie et al., 2011; Gummerus, Liljander, Weman and Pihlström, 2012; Brodie, Ilic, Juric and Hollebbek, 2013; Dessart, Veloutsou & Morgan-Thomas, 2016).

While others call it: brand community engagement (Algesheimer, Dholakia and Herrmann, 2005; Kuo and Feng, 2013); customer brand engagement (Hollebeek, 2011a and b; Hollebeek et al., 2014); consumer brand engagement (Dwivedi, 2015); active customer engagement (Sarkar and Sreejesh, 2014); advertising engagement (Kim, Ahn, Kwon, Reid, 2017); brand engagement (Keller, 2013; Hollebeek and Chen, 2014); online engagement (Owyang, 2007).

Despite the different terms that researchers have used for the construction of the commit-ment, the concept is seen as an essential element for brands, since it directly influences the consumer loyalty, more than perceived quality, value and satisfaction (Dwivedi, 2015), on the performance of the company (Kumar and Pansari, 2016), the growth of income and sales (Kumar et al., 2010), competitiveness (Ahmad, Omar, Rasid and Amin, 2012), profitability (Verhoef et al., 2010), cost reduction, greater participation and involvement of consumers in the collaborative processes of product development, brand references and improved co-creativity experiences (Bijmolt et al., 2010; Nambisan and Baron, 2007 Prahalad, 2004; Sawhney, Verona and Prandelli, 2005). Therefore, this concept is important both from a theoretical and practical point of view (Hepola, Karja-luoto and Hintikka, 2017).

With this background, the interest to carry out a bibliometric work with respect to the term arose using the various denominations that have been given to it and to observe trends of growth and potential for future lines of research.


Currently, the development and implementation of technology and the Internet makes available to researchers a large amount of scientific literature on a discipline or specific research topic that sometimes becomes overwhelming and challenging for researchers and professionals to have a clear vision on a specific topic (Rodrigues, van Eck, Waltman & Jansen, 2014; Zhou, Goh & Li, 2015). The analysis of scientific publications constitutes a fundamental link in the research pro-cess and therefore it has become a tool that allows to evaluate the generation, evolution and impact of knowledge in the environment (Rueda-Clausen, Villa-Roel and Rueda-Clausen, 2005; Escorcia, 2008) providing a macroscopic overview of large amounts of academic literature (van Nunen, Li, Reniers & Ponnet, 2007). This activity has been called bibliometrics, which is a part of scientometrics, it is multidisciplinary and is defined as the application of mathematical and statis-tical methods to analyze the nature and course of scientific publications (Merigó, 2016; Campos, 2007), it can reveal the latest advances, research directions and main topics in a particular field of research (Wang, Pan, Ke, Wang & Wei, 2014), as well as the identification of current gaps in a given research discipline, both in terms of content and geographically (Gall, Nguyen & Cutter, 2015), which allows researchers to orient future lines of research towards specific fields (Bayoumy, Dargham and Arayssi, 2016). Nowadays, a large number of bibliometric studies are carried out (Soosaraei, Akbar, Fakhar & Ziaei, 2018).

In order to carry out this study, the Elsevier Scopus database was the provider of the data. The terms used to filter and search the documents were "Brand engagment", "consumer engagement", "customer engagement", "customer brand engagement", "consumer brand engagement", "active engagement", "user engagment", "advertising engagement", "online engagement", "mobile en-gagement", "app engagement", "mobile app engagement", "social media engagement", "brand community engagement" and "community engagement"; which should be considered in the title, summary or keywords.

In this first filter, 9965 related documents were obtained and they were found through the established cri-teria. However, to refine the search, a second filter criterion was entered by using the word "marke-ting" so that the resulting articles were related to the study area. In this second moment, they were obtained 1791 documents, considering the size of the sample. The date on which the search was conducted was on March 10, 2018 and the period to be analyzed was from 1996 with a cut on the day of the search.

Of the 1791 articles, 1206 are articles, 317 conference papers, 130 book chapters, 72 reviews, 31 article in press, 18 books, 6 notes, 5 editorals, 3 conference reviews, and 3 short surveys.


Publications and growth trend

According to the results obtained in the review, Figure 1 shows that the generation of knowledge related to the engagement is growing. Beginning in 1996 (n = 1) and increasing in subsequent years at a constant pace, in 2006 it presents 15 publications and it continues until 2009, which rises to 29, in 2010 it skyrockets to 55 publications, continuing a growing trend that is increasingly marked in the years 2011 (n = 86), 2012 (n = 106), 2013 (n = 154), 2014 (n = 209), 2015 (n = 267), 2016 (337), 2017 (n = 385) and the period that goes on in 2018 (n = 95).

Figure 1 Number of publications about engagement per year. 

Considering what Dereck J. de Solla Price (1956) mentioned that "the growth of scientific information is exponential and occurre at such a rapid rate that every 10-15 years the existing global information doubled (Price's Law)" (Ardanuy, 2012 page 14,). Although it is not necessary to mention that each discipline suffers its own evolution, going through different stages. Price (1963) explai-ned that scientific knowledge begins with precursors, where a small group of scientists begins to make a point in the subject, through exploratory studies and where many aspects of the subject must be studied. Then it passes to exponential growth where a considerable number of researchers are attracted by many aspects to study the subject that still has to be explored and analyzed. Subsequently, there is a consolidation of an academic body and a solid knowledge and finally maturity is given, characterized by the saturation of studies on the subject by covering all aspects, which manifests itself in a significant reduction of publications (Dabi et al., 2016, van Nunen et al, 2017).

In the case of the subject about engagement it is easy to notice the established tendency by Prince, in the first years (1996 to 2005) there are few studies on this subject and with totally different approaches as well as the denomination, the used term and the conceptualization are different.

Authors and cooperation

Of the 1791 publications written since 1996, 1874 have been written by 159 different authors and 7 do not have an identified author. The largest proportion of authors (55.97%, n = 89/159) is credited with three publications on the subject. 20.75% (n = 33/159) have four publications, a 10.06% (n = 16/159) with five publications, 33.89% (n = 20/159) between 6 and 10 publications, and a single author representing the 1.13% (n = 1/159) with 18 publications in this regard.

Table 1 shows the list of the most productive authors regarding the study topic. The classification is based on the total number of publications of the author and not on the order of authorship. Hollebeek is the most productive author on marketing-oriented engagement with 18 publications, followed by Graffigna (n = 10), Malthouse (n = 9) and Cheung (n = 9).

Table 1 Top-6 of most productive authors publishing on marketing-oriented engagement. 

*No. Author name Country of autor Affiliation Number of publications **Average citations per publication Number of publications as first autor Filter words present in the publications
1 Hollebeek, L.D. Norway Montpellier Business School 18 60.11 10 Consumer engagement, customer engagement, brand community engagement, consumer brand engagement, customer brand engagement, social media engagment
2 Graffigna, G. Italy Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore 10 11.1 5 Brand engagement, consumer engagement, customer engagement
3 Malthouse, E.C. United States Northwestern University 9 52.77 2 Consumer engagement, customer engagement, social media engagement, online engagement, consumer brand engagement
3 Cheung, C.M.K. China Hong Kong Baptist University 9 14.77 5 User engagement, customer engagement, active engagement, brand engagement, consumer engagement, social media engagement
4 Karjaluoto, H. Finland Jyvaskylan Yliopisto 8 1.12 3 Community engagement, consumer brand engagement, customer engagement, consumer engagement, customer brand engagement, brand community engagement
4 Rahman, Z. India Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee 8 5.87 0 Consumer engagement, customer engagement, customer brand engagement, consumer brand engagement
4 Tang, W. China University of North Carolina Project-China 8 3.12 1 Community engagement, brand community engagement, social media engagement
4 Tucker, J.D. China University of North Carolina Project-China 8 3.12 1 Community engagement, social media engagement
5 Conduit, J. Australia University of Adelaide, Adelaide Business School 7 5 1 Customer brand engagement, consumer brand engagement, customer engagement user engagement, community engagement, social media engagement
5 Kumar, V. United States Georgia State University 7 44.71 4 Customer engagement
5 Goldsmith, R.E. United States Florida State University 7 10.42 6 Brand engagement
5 Wei, C. United States University of California 7 3.28 0 Customer engagement, community engagement, social media engagement
6 Brodie, R.J. New Zeland University of Auckland 6 189.5 3 Consumer brand engagement, customer engagement, consumer engagement
6 Carlson, J. Australia University of Newcastle 6 8.16 3 Customer engagement, brand engagement
6 Hamilton, J. Australia James Cook University 6 2.33 6 Consumer engagement, customer engagement
6 Kandampully, J. United States Ohio State University 6 38.83 1 Brand engagement, customer engagement, consumer engagement
6 O´Brien, H.L. Canada The University of British Columbia 6 64.16 6 User engagement
6 Rahman, Z. Malaysia University of Malaya 6 0.16 6 User engagement, social media engagement
6 Suberamanian, K. Malaysia University of Malaya 6 0.16 0 User engagement, social media engagement
6 Zanuddin, H. Malaysia University of Malaya 6 0.16 0 User engagement, social media engagement
6 Zheng, X. China University of Science and Technology of China, School of Management 6 8.83 3 Customer engagement, consumer engagement, online engagement, brand engagement, user engagement

* Equally productive authors have the same ranking number.

** This data was calculated by adding the total citations of the published documents divided by the author's total number of publications.

Similarly, a very different range can be observed regarding the average number of citations per author (ranging from 189.5 to 0.16) and the number of publications as the first author (for example, Hollebeek has 10 publications as first author, Hamilton has 6 as the first author, while Rahma does not have any publication as the first author of the 8 publications he has made, coinciding with Wei, Suberamanian and Zanuddin, who are in the same case).

The average number of authors per publication was 0.088 (n = 159/1791). The average number of publications per author was 11.26 (n = 1791/159). 15.74% (n = 282/1791) of the publications has been written by a single author, 29.03% (n = 520/1791) of the publications has two authors, 27.58% (n = 494/1791) has three authors, and 27.64% (n = 495/1791) has four or more authors (with a maximum of 42 authors). It can be concluded that there is a lot of joint and collaborative research within and between institutions, since publications in co-authorship represent more than three quarters of the total.

Wang et al., (2014) mentions that a large number of publications with several authors indicates a close relationship between themselves within the same research topic and a greater opportunity for future joint work.

The pattern of cooperation (ie: co-authorship) between the authors was analyzed in VOSvie-wer. The criteria used for this analysis was that the authors to include at least 3 publications of the subject and at least one citation. Authors who are in a network means that they have published together and those ones who are not in a network or connected means they have not published together. The size of the circles represents the cooperation between themselves, the colors represent the groups or clusters of collaboration. The results are shown in Figure 2. It is observed that 75 working clusters were formed, the cluster number 1 is made up of 16 authors, that appears in a red color (the names of Tang, Tucker and Wong stand out because they have more publications of the group), the second cluster is integrated by 10 elements shown in green color (the name of Kumar appears, as he has the most published documents of the group). In cluster three, highlights Holle-beek and Malthouse, it is composed by 8 elements and is shown in blue.

Figure 2 Authors cooperation network on marketing-oriented engagement. 

It can also be concluded that 34 authors are not integrated into collaborative groups, which are the circles that appear around separately; 22 groups are binas (two authors as a team), 10 groups of three people, two of 4 people, three of 5 authors and one of seven.

It must be mentioned that in terms of authorship, a possible bias must be taken into account. Authors with the same name cannot be distinguished from each other, and authors who use different names in their publications (for example, changing surnames by marriage or other reasons) could not be merged. As recommended by other authors such as Chiu and Ho (2007) or van Nunen, Li, Reniers and Ponnet (2017) it is important that researchers use a unique digital identity (such as ORCID) to solve these problems.

Journals that have published about marketing-oriented engagement

In total, the 1791 documents have been published in 160 different sources including magazines, congresses, books, among others. This high number indicates a wide variety of research approaches on engagement in marketing.

The magazine that has published most on the subject is Computers in Human Behavior with 32 documents, followed by Journal of Product and Brand Management (n = 21) and Journal of Services Marketing (n = 19).

Likewise, the citation indexes are presented (with the highest score is Journal of Interactive Marketing), the Scimago Journal Rank (SJR), which calculates the impact factor based on the information included in the Scopus database. Elsevier company (being the highest Journal of the Academic of Marketing Science); the Source Normalized Impact per Paper index (the highest one again) and the study area in which the journal is located.

Table 2 Top-10 of most active journals publishing on marketing-oriented engagement. 

No.* Journal title Number of publications CiteScore 2016** SJR 2016*** SNIP 2016****
1 Computers In Human Behavior 32 4.54 1.595 2.137
2 Journal Of Product And Brand Management 21 2.00 0.659 1.177
3 Journal Of Services Marketing 19 2.54 1.027 1.344
4 Journal Of Marketing Management 18 2.17 0.843 1.168
5 Journal Of Strategic Marketing 16 0.79 0.328 0.436
6 Journal Of Medical Internet Research 15 4.21 2.047 1.725
7 Journal Of Business Research 14 4.36 1.815 2.607
8 Journal Of Service Management 13 4.37 1.823 1.924
8 Journal Of The Academy Of Marketing Science 13 6.36 3.997 3.458
9 Business Horizons 12 2.19 0.844 1.342
9 Journal Of Interactive Marketing 12 7.64 2.754 3.080
9 Journal Of Research In Interactive Marketing 12 2.63 0.794 1.174
10 Journal Of Brand Management 11 1.59 0.620 0.929

* Equally active journals have the same ranking number.

** CiteScore measures average citations received per document published in the serial.

*** SCImago Journal Rank measures weighted citations received by the serial. Citation weighting depends on the subject field and prestige (SJR) of the citing serial.

****Source Normalized Impact per Paper measures actual citations received relative to citations expected for the serial’s subject field.

Geographic and institutional distribution and joint cooperation

As it appears in the data of Scopus, each publication was assigned to a country or territory and to an institution according to the direction or affiliation of the author.

Publications by territory

87 territories or countries were identified, 12 are from Africa, 33 from Europe, 2 from Oceania, 10 from America and 30 from Asia. An inequality is observed in the geographical distribution regarding the generation of knowledge on the study topic, which is reflected in the number of publications from developed countries and those in emerging economies. Regarding the number of publications, 37.93% of the countries have published one or two documents on marketing-oriented engagement, 13.79% between three and five publications, 16.09% between six and ten publications, 32.18% more than 11 publications. The United States is the leader in quantity (n = 626), followed by the United Kingdom (n = 240) and Australia (n = 222), as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Top-15 of most productive countries or territories publishing on marketing-oriented engagement research. 

The network of cooperation or co-authorship between territories was carried out in VOS-viewer. For its realization, countries with at least 3 publications and at least one citation were considered. The result yields 12 working groups. The size of the circles represents the amount of documents, the larger is which has more publications on the subject; the thickness of the links represent the strength of collaboration between territories and the color groups or clusters of work. The result is presented in Figure 4. Two main groups can be distinguished, one is led by the United States and the other one by England, although other smaller ones are also shown, such as Australia, Canada, Germany, China and Spain, among others.

Figure 4 Cooperation network between countries and territories in marketing-oriented engagement. 

Publications by affiliation

160 institutions were identified considering that an author may be affiliated with more than one institution, or a publication may be written by several authors from different institutions. Of all the institutions, more than 95% corresponds to universities, so it can be said that knowledge on the subject has been developed from the academic world. 25.62% of the institutions have published five documents, 54.37% between six and ten, and 20% more than eleven publications. Table 3 shows the most productive institutions, with Australia being the country with the most participation in this aspect. The three main ones are: the University of Auckland in New Zealand (n = 22), followed by City University of Hong Kong (n = 21) in China and Queensland University of Technology QUT (n = 19), in Australia.

Table 3 Top-10 of most productive institutions publishing on marketing-oriented engagement. 

*No. Institution Country Number of publication
1 University of Auckland New Zeland 22
2 City University of Hong Kong China 21
3 Queensland University of Technology QUT Australia 19
4 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States 18
5 The University of British Columbia Canada 17
5 University of Queensland Australia 17
6 Northwestern University United States 16
6 Deakin University Australia 16
6 The University of Sydney Australia 16
7 Pennsylvania State University United States 15
7 University of Florida United States 15
7 University of Technology Sydney Australia 15
8 Florida State University United States 14
9 Ohio State University United States 13
9 University of Adelaide Australia 13
9 University of Newcastle Australia 13
9 Macquarie University Australia 13
9 Griffith University Australia 13
10 Cornell University United States 12
10 Hong Kong Baptist University China 12
10 Monash University Australia 12
10 Curtin University Australia 12

* Equally productive institutions have the same ranking number.

Analysis of citation

The analysis of citations provides the number of times that the publications on a certain topic have been cited by other publications listed in the database used, in this case Scopus. In total, the 1791 publications have been used 23271 as a reference in other publications. The average citation per publication is 12.99 (n = 23271/1791).

Of the total of publications analyzed, 37.40% (n = 640/1791) have no citations. 40.87% (n = 732/1791) has between one and ten citations, 16.47% have received between 11 and 50 citations, 2.62% between 51 and 100 citations, and also 2.62% have received more than 100 citations.

It should be noted that there is a general assumption that the number of citations reflects the influence and notoriety of a publication, and hence its quality (Smith, 2007, Ugolini et al., 2015). However, some authors (for example, Walter et al., 2003; Chiu and Ho, 2007) state that the number of times a publication has been cited by others does not really indicate the quality of that publication, but it measures its visibility. Also, there is an increasing recognition that publications of open access journals are increasingly being cited (Whipple et al., 2013).

The top-20 citations per publication can be observed in Table 4. The most cited article is The social influence of brand community: Evidence from European clubs in Algesheimer, Dholakia and Herrmann in 2007 with 770 citations and an annual average of citations of 64.17. However, if the average number of citations per year is analyzed, it will be discovered that there are other articles that, even if they do not outnumber the citations received to that one of Algesheimer et al. (2005), they surpass it in average annual citations. Such is the case of the article Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis by Brodie, Ilic, Juric and Hollebeek in 2011 that has received 421 citations but evidently its annual average of citations is 105.25 higher than the most cited article, as well as the one done by Brodie, Hollebeek, Juric and Ilic (2011) with an annual average of 77.5 and the article by van Doorn, Lemon, Mittal, Nass, Pick, Pirner and Verhoef (2010) with 75.29.

Table 4 Top-10 of most frequently cited publications on marketing-oriented engagement. 

No. Document Title Authors Journal Title Year Times cited Average citations per year Main topic
1 The social influence of brand community: Evidence from European car clubs Algesheimer R., Dholakia U.M., Herrmann A. Journal of Marketing 2005 770 64.17 Brand Community engagement
2 Customer engagement behavior: Theoretical foundations and research directions van Doorn J., Lemon K.N., Mittal V., Nass S., Pick D., Pirner P., Verhoef P.C. Journal of Service Research 2010 527 75.29 Customer engagement behaviours
3 Collaborating to create: The internet as a platform for customer engagement in product innovation Sawhney M., Verona G., Prandelli E. Journal of Interactive Marketing 2005 514 42.83 Customer engagement
4 Customer engagement: Conceptual domain, fundamental propositions, and implications for research Brodie R.J., Hollebeek L.D., Juric B., Ilic A. Journal of Service Research 2011 465 77.50 Customer engagement
5 Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis Brodie R.J., Ilic A., Juric B., Hollebeek L. Journal of Business Research 2013 421 105.25 Consumer engagement
6 We're all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem Hanna R., Rohm A., Crittenden V.L. Business Horizons 2011 389 64.83 Consumer engagement
7 Determinants of consumer engagement in electronic Word-Of-Mouth (eWOM) in social networking sites Chu S.-C., Kim Y. International Journal of Advertising 2011 389 64.83 Consumer engagement
8 Gamification: Using game design elements in non-gaming contexts Deterding S., O'Hara K., Sicart M., Dixon D., Nacke L. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings 2011 342 57.00 User engagement
9 The value and challenges of participatory research: Strengthening its practice Cargo M., Mercer S.L. Annual Review of Public Health 2008 335 37.22 Community engagement
10 A descriptive model of the consumer co-production process Etgar M. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 2008 314 34.89 Consumer engagement
11 An institutional analysis of payments for environmental services Vatn A. Ecological Economics 2010 304 43.43 Community engagement
12 Building brand equity through corporate societal marketing Hoeffler S., Keller K.L. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 2002 266 17.73 Brand engagement
13 Creating social contagion through viral product design: A randomized trial of peer influence in networks Aral S., Walker D. Management Science 2011 247 41.17 User engagement
14 Undervalued or overvalued customers: Capturing total customer engagement value Kumar V., Aksoy L., Donkers B., Venkatesan R., Wiesel T., Tillmanns S. Journal of Service Research 2010 244 34.86 Customer engagement
15 The development and evaluation of a survey to measure user engagement O'Brien H.L., Toms E.G. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 2010 235 33.57 User engagement
16 Customer engagement, buyer-seller relationships, and social media Sashi C.M. Management Decision 2012 225 45.00 Customer engagement
17 Customer engagement: Exploring customer relationships beyond purchase Vivek S.D., Beatty S.E., Morgan R.M. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 2012 223 44.60 Customer engagement
18 The uninvited brand Fournier S., Avery J. Business Horizons 2011 223 37.17 Consumer engagement
19 Customer engagement as a new perspective in customer management Verhoef P.C., Reinartz W.J., Krafft M. Journal of Service Research 2010 223 31.86 Customer engagement
20 The process of customer engagement: A conceptual framework Bowden J. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 2009 222 27.75 Consumer engagement

Concluding that it is noticeable that the more years a publication has, the more citations it will have, however, when reviewing the impact through the average number of citations per year, it is observed that recent publications may have an important relevance in the field, such is the case of the publications mentioned above.

Citing and co-citation analysis

As mentioned by Li and Hale (2015), the co-citation analysis focuses on the relationship or interaction between two publications, and offers a general description of the publications that have been cited in common within other publications. So it is assumed that the more publications are cited together, the more similarities can be found between them (van Nunen et al, 2017).

The analysis of shared citations was made in VOSviewer. It was done by specifying those references shared more than 25 times, resulting in 32 items divided into four clusters, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 Co-citation analysis of highly-cited references used in publications on marketing-oriented engagement. 

The size of the circles means the number of citations, that is, the larger a circle, that publication has been used more often as a reference in the articles of engagement. The distance between the circles means a stronger relationship and greater similarity between them. The color suggests a similar theme among these publications.

The map shows how the references of the engagement publications are grouped and are illustrated in four clearly identified groups where each one represents a research field in the engagement, without ceasing to interrelate.

Based on the examination of the titles of all the individual publications of each group, it could be concluded that the blue group is made up of the articles referring to the conceptualization, exploration, evolution and analysis of the term engagement, which are being mixed with the rest of the groups. The yellow group includes the documents related to the co-creation of value, service-dominand logic and the relationship with loyalty. The blue group is made up of publications related to consumer engagement in online environments creating value through a brand community, as well as some documents that focus on the structural equation model tool, as a technique that predominates in the quantitative analysis of studies empirical on the subject. And the green group focuses on engagement in social media, much related to the previous group.

Terms analysis

Finally, the trend analysis of the terms that were used as a filter was carried out. The classification was made manually of each one of the articles that contained in its title, summary or key words some of the terms related to engagement, it was separated, mentioning that some were included in several concepts because they had both. Similarly, the revision of the trend in the number of publications was measured by considering the number of articles of the year 2015 to the current date in relation with the total.

Firstly, as was observed in the trend of publications on the topic that is increasing, where 60.5% are from January 2015 to the cutoff date of March 2018, it is to be expected that if they are separated by subtopics or by the different conceptualizations, as it has been given the engagement in marketing, the result is the same.

Table 5 shows that effectively from 2015 to date the trend is growing in each one of the conceptualizations of engagement, currently focusing on online engagement, social media engagement and community engagement.

Table 5 Topic´s evolution. 

Topic Number of publications Publications Enero 2015 - Marzo 2018
No. Percentage
Active engagement 30 14 0.47
Brand engagement 145 103 0.71
Consumer engagement 282 171 0.61
Customer engagement 455 293 0.64
Customer brand engagement 18 16 0.89
Consumer brand engagement 20 18 0.90
Mobile app engagement 2 2 1.00
App engagement 7 6 0.86
Online engagement 87 59 0.68
Social media engagement 106 76 0.72
User engagement 323 212 0.66
Advertising engagement 5 2 0.40
Community engagement 340 187 0.55
Brand Community engagement 9 6 0.67

And it also identifies a field that is being born and brings with it great challenges and areas of opportunity for research and the professional field that is mobile app engagment and app engagement, since they do not represent even 1% (n = 7/1791) of all publications, and this amount is from 2014 to date.


The document presented here is an evaluation of global trends in marketing engagement research, from 1996 to March. A marked growth has been observed in recent years and with the introduction of social networks, mobile devices and applications, it is a subject in which there is still much to be done. Well, brands are relying on more interactive channels to keep their customers and attract new ones, which creates new communication environments, involvement and engagement between brand and client.

So it concludes the following:

- The main areas in which particular interest has been given are customer / consumer engagement, community engagement, social media engagement, user engagement and brand engagement. It is possible to emphasize the concentration in studies with a focus on the social networks, online environments and brand communities. However, it is easy to notice that nascent research is related to app engagement and mobile app engagement, although at the moment there are few studies because of the recent work, it is a frontier issue.

- The most productive author is Hollebeck, L.D. with 18 publications, assigned to Montpellier Business School in Norway. Followed by Graffigna with 10 works, assigned to Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy. And Maltohuse from Northwestern University, United States, with nine jobs.

- The author who has had the greatest impact on citations per year and not per number of publications is Brodie, University of Auckland, New Zeland, with only six jobs exceeds by far in impact Hollebeek and Malthouse, while recognizing the merit of these last two authors.

- The journal with the most publications on the subject is Computers in human behavior, the leading country is the United States, but the leading affiliation institution is University of Auckland, New Zeland.

- Regarding citations, the most cited work was The social influence of brand community: Evidence from European car clubs of Algesheimer, Dholakia & Herrmann (2005); however, those that have had the greatest impact on average of citations per year are: Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis by Brodie et al, (2013), Customer engagement: Conceptual domain, fundamental propositions, and implications for research, Brodie et al., (2011), and Customer engagement behavior: Theoretical foundations and research directions, van Doorn (2010).


Finally, it is necessary to mention some limitations of this bibliometric study. First, the search was limited to the publications listed in the Elsevier Scopus database. Although Scopus is among the largest global databases, of course it does not contain all the publications in the engagement research field. Second, the bibliometric analysis uses quantitative methods for its realization, so the quality and content of the publications cannot be assessed.

Based on these limitations that characterize the bibliometric analysis, a deeper content analysis is recommended for future research, such as differences in conceptualizations about engagement, type of studies carried out (empirical or conceptual), the context in which they have been carried out, the focus of the engagement, as well as the background and the consequences of it.


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Received: April 02, 2018; Accepted: June 01, 2018

Autora para correspondencia: Claudia Leticia Preciado Ortiz, E-mail:

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