A Review and Conceptual Framework for Understanding Personalized Matching Effects in Persuasion

Jacob D. Teeny, Joseph J. Siev, Pablo Briñol, Richard E. Petty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


One of the most reliable and impactful methods for enhancing a persuasive appeal is to match an aspect of the proposal (i.e., its content, source, or the setting in which it is delivered) to an aspect of the consumer receiving it. This personalized matching in persuasion (also called tailoring, targeting, customizing, or personalizing) comprises a robust and growing literature. In the present review, we describe different types of persuasive matches, the primary characteristics of people who are targeted, and the key psychological mechanisms underlying the impact of matching. Importantly, although most research on personalized matching has concluded that matching is good for persuasion, we also describe and explain instances where it has produced negative (i.e., “backfire”) effects. That is, more than just the conclusion “matching is good” that many researchers have drawn, we analyze when and why it is good and when and why it can be ineffective—insight that can benefit marketers and consumers alike in understanding how personally matched appeals can impact attitudes and ultimately behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-414
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Attitudes and persuasion
  • affect and emotion
  • communication
  • goals and motivation
  • personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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