The power of e-WOM on Facebook

Daniella Jansler & Marc Ryning

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Facebook combines electronic Word-of-Mouth’s (e-WOM) main benefits of reaching a large network while supporting the trustworthiness of social relationships. As more and more marketers attempt to harness the power of e-WOM on Facebook, research of the drivers that lead to consumers’ engagement in e-WOM has become critical. The research question to answer is what social drivers influence receivers’ engagement with beauty product recommendations on Facebook and how do these drivers affect behavioral attitude and purchase intention. The Theory of Planned Behavior model was extended to answer the research question and three social drivers: social ties, homophily and source credibility were chosen to replace the subjective norms, whereas perceived behavioral control is regarded as an individual driver. The other mediator variable besides behavioral attitude is self-extension and the dependent outcome variable is purchase intention, which all constructs indirectly or directly affect. Thus, the conceptual model served as the basis for conducting research and 10 hypotheses were proposed to assess the relationships that have a positive impact on receivers’ behavioral attitude and intention. Through the methodological triangulation approach, qualitative and quantitative research was conducted to examine the relationships between the constructs. The results from the structural equation modeling analysis indicated that certain social drivers are significant predictors to users’ e-WOM engagement on Facebook. Homophily, source credibility and the moderator self-extension were found to significantly relate to users’ engagement in e-WOM communications, whereas no effect was found with regard to tie strength and perceived behavioral control. The identified insignificant relationships lead to restructuring of the conceptual model, where social ties then had a mediating impact on homophily and the relationship between purchase intention and behavioral attitude was reversed. The thesis’ research findings provide a theoretical and practical understanding of consumers’ use of Facebook as a vehicle for e-WOM and contribute to e-WOM literature with a specific emphasis on Facebook. The managerial findings from the research provide beauty brand marketers with valuable knowledge in terms of the decision-making process, segmentation and the drivers behind e-WOM engagement. This knowledge is important for inducing e-WOM engagement on Facebook that has a positive impact on purchase intention and behavioral attitude.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2012
Number of pages204