Mengzhou (Austin) ZHUANG
Prof. Mengzhou (Austin) ZHUANG
Assistant Professor

3910 2183

KK 706

Academic & Professional Qualification

Ph.D. in Business Administration (Marketing), University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2019

M.Phil. in Marketing, Lingnan University, 2014

Bachelor in Business Administration, Xi’an Jiaotong University, 2012


Mengzhou (Austin) Zhuang joined the University of Hong Kong in 2019, after receiving his Ph.D. in Business Administration (Marketing) from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before that he received his M.Phil. in Marketing from Lingnan University, and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration from Xi’an Jiaotong University.

His research interests lie in online advertising and multi-channel marketing strategy. His work primarily focuses on understanding the strategic decisions of multi-channel retailers, online advertisers, retailing platforms, and consumers.

Research Interest

Multi-channel strategy, online advertising, pricing, Bayesian statistics, machine learning.

Selected Publications
  • Beibei Dong, Mengzhou Zhuang, Eric (Er) Fang, and Minxue Huang (2023). Tales of Two Channels: Digital Advertising Performance Between AI Recommendation and User Subscription Channels. Journal of Marketing, 88(2), 141-162, 2024. (Equal authorship)
  • Er Fang, Beibei Dong, Mengzhou Zhuang, and Fengyan Cai (2023). “We Earned the Coupon Together”: The Missing Link of Experience Cocreation in Shared Coupons. Journal of Marketing, 87(3), 451–471, 2023. (Equal authorship)
  • Mengzhou Zhuang, Eric (Er) Fang, Jongkuk Lee, and Xiaoling Li (2021). The Effects of Price Rank on Clicks and Conversions in Product List Advertising on Online Retail Platforms. Information Systems Research, 32(4), 1412-1430.
  • Mengzhou Zhuang, Geng Cui, and Ling Peng (2018). Manufactured Opinions: The Effect of Manipulating Online Product Reviews. Journal of Business Research, 87, 24-35.
Recent Publications
Tales of Two Channels: Digital Advertising Performance Between AI Recommendation and User Subscription Channels

Although in-feed advertising is popular on mainstream platforms, academic research on it is limited. Platforms typically deliver organic content through two methods: subscription by users or recommendation by artificial intelligence. However, little is known about the ad performance between these two channels. This research examines how the performance of in-feed ads, in terms of click-through rates and conversion rates, differs between subscription and recommendation channels and whether these effects are mediated by ad intrusiveness and moderated by ad attributes. Two ad attributes are investigated: ad appeal (informational vs. emotional) and ad link (direct vs. indirect). Study 1 finds that the recommendation channel generates higher click-through rates but lower conversion rates than the subscription channel, and these effects are amplified by informational ad appeal and direct ad links. Study 2 explores channel differences, revealing that the recommendation channel yields less source credibility and content control, reducing consumer engagement with organic content. Studies 3 and 4 validate the mediating role of ad intrusiveness and rule out ad recognition as an alternative explanation. Study 5 uses eye-tracking technology to show that the recommendation channel has lower content engagement, lower ad intrusiveness, and greater ad interest.

Solving the Coupon Conundrum

Shared coupons are more popular than coupons sent directly by firms, but are redeemed less often. Switching the focus to the coupon’s social benefits changes the results.

“We Earned the Coupon Together”: The Missing Link of Experience Cocreation in Shared Coupons

Shared coupons, a new form of coupon, differ from coupons distributed directly from businesses (i.e., direct coupons) in that shared coupons combine two influential components: economic savings (e.g., $5 off) and social sharing (e.g., from friends). Using two lab experiments and two large-scale field experiments on social media, the authors find that regular shared coupons underperform direct coupons in terms of coupon redemption because of the norm conflict between economic incentives and communal relationships (i.e., friendships), whereas shared coupons with experience cocreation, in which coupon givers and coupon receivers must invest joint efforts to create a shared experience before redeeming the coupons, outperform direct coupons. Experience cocreation can advance social goals (e.g., building friendships), reduce the norm conflict, and thereby make customers more likely to share and to redeem coupons. The authors further investigate the effects of two strategies for driving the redemption of shared coupons with experience cocreation: changing the coupon's face value (low vs. high) and using ex post communication (social messages vs. economic messages). They find that social messages can make low-value coupons as effective as high-value coupons, thereby enabling the firm to “do more with less.”

A brave new world for marketing

As coronavirus rages across the globe, online business is still booming, with data and analytics driving this trend. People now marooned at home for the foreseeable future are finding the daily goods they need from online stores, solace in conferencing apps, and entertainment provided by streaming platforms. The world is revolving increasingly online with lockdowns in place, and data is being even further highlighted as an undisputable source of wealth.

Descend from the lineage of marketing: Dr. Mengzhou ZHUANG

More than a scholar specialized in online advertising and multi-channel strategy, Dr. Zhuang is also an energetic individual keen on pedagogy.