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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2013
Thesis number: 13143
Understanding drivers of social transmission of information on the internet
Author: Rodic, Nemanja
Title: Understanding drivers of social transmission of information on the internet
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; sosiaalinen media; social media; internet; internet
Pages: 88
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13143.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1908652)
Key terms: viral marketing, viral advertising, word-of-mouth, WOM, eWord-of-mouth, buzz, social media, social sharing, physiological, psychological, incentives, bloggers, vloggers, YouTube, influentials, efluentials

The aim of this study is to deepen our understanding of the drivers of social transmission of information on the internet. The information in question, within this research refers to viral messages, thus building on previous findings on word-of-mouth and viral marketing. Viral marketing is any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. Even though much has been written about viral marketing ever since the term was introduced in 1997, there is still a gap in understanding the critical success factors thereof. That is why I have firstly organized the literature published thus far into four streams, complemented these findings with my own from this research and at the end presented several directions for future research.

Firstly, a comprehensive overview of various streams of research in the field is presented - each stream elaborates a different driver of sharing. These are: physiological activation in consumers that leads to sharing, psychological motivations/predispositions for sharing, incentives for sharing and the effect of influentials. This overview is drawn from the literature on viral marketing published in the past fifteen years since viral marketing was introduced. A series of three experiments ensues in subsequent sections during which the effects of some of these drivers are tested.

In experiment 1 the effects of physiological activation and psychological motivation, first two drivers, are compared against one another. The second and third experiments focus solely on activation and test particular qualities of color in advertising material as the trigger of evoked activation in consumers. The findings show that high physiological activation in individuals leads to more social sharing, regardless whether this activation was achieved through the content that was consumed or prior to content exposure. Essentially this means that excited consumers share more and advertisers should reach them either when they are in this state, or try to achieve this state through content they present them with. Combining both these scenarios into one would perhaps be the best tactic. Some of ad's elements that could be employed to foster this activation increase are level of color saturation, tempo of music, the number of edits and cuts in videos etc.

Conslusion is in the form of a case study of most successful content publishers, individuals who, for the most part, rely on viral marketing as a key driver of their success. Through their examples, a real life application of priorly presented findings is elaborated.
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