How (And Why) Should Corporations Communicate CSR Activities through the Internet?

This study describes how and why a company benefits from communicating its CSR activities online. Both through the corporate website and social media. Including case examples.

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How to Solve the Conflict Between the Exclusivity Paradigm of Luxury Brands and the Open Source Character of Social Media Part 1

Social media has significantly restructured the communication of companies - influencing organizations, the consumer and brands all around. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram together register more than 2.7 billion active users who spend an average of 2.4 hours daily on these platforms (Adweek, 2014). This corresponds to 39% of the world’s population – illustrating the immense power of online users. Consumers are no longer search for information passively; they actively create content and moderate discussions on brands (Hanna et al., 2011). Nowadays, we are living in an era where corporate communication is democratized as the power over communication has shifted from organizations to consumers (Kietzmann et al., 2011). Brands had to realize that online branding is an open source activity controlled by the customer rather than by brand managers (Fournier & Avery, 2011). Posing simultaneously both an opportunity and a threat, this consumer empowerment has a significant impact on how industries operate – the luxury industry being no exception (Dubois, 2014). Due to the enormous increase of online users, digital marketing and especially social marketing has become a mandatory element for every company (Hanna et al., 2011). But why have especially luxury brands struggled so long to invest in social media?

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Does Social media marketing mean the end of traditional advertising?

The use of social media marketing is increasing rapidly among companies (King. et al., 2014). Much attention is paid to social media’s role in the marketing mix, not least in relation to traditional media (LaPointe, 2011). LaPointe (2011) states that it’s becoming more popular with marketing strategies that rely entirely on online tactics. At the same time, many marketers are still unsure of how to go about this ocean of platforms and opportunities called social media, as pointed out by DeMers (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/) and Hanna et al. (2011). Let us therefore have a look at what research has to say about social- versus traditional media! Could it be that companies are too quick with planning the funeral of conventional advertising? 

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How has the social media changed consumers over past 10 years and how can marketers best adapt?

 

Written by Weijun Yin

Social media has rapidly become one of the essential component parts of hundreds of millions of Internet users' life around the world. Marketers put more and more focus on virtual world especially social media when it is beginning. Internet users can use social media site to exchange shopping experiences and share information with other consumers. Companies’ marketers could use different categories of social media like picture, video to introduce their brands, products and service in order to engage new consumers and hold consumers' loyalty. The author use a case of Lenovo company as example to understand the changes occurred on consumers by social media and how can the marketers adapt it.

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The Power of Social Media: A Case of Kentucky Fried Chicken in China

January 26, 2015

Written by Wanyi Wang

Introduction

In China, recent developments in web and Internet technologies produce some new things for people. The most popular online content, applications and services called social media which has changed people’s life. A lot of people are toward the use of social media. For example, “5,700 China’s Internet users have found that 95 percent of them are registered on a social media sites” (Chiu, Ip & Silverman, 2012 [1]). Social media is a developing phenomenon in today’s marketing. (Hoffrnal & Novak, 2012) Companies are beginning to use the fashionable tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in marketing strategies and campaigns. The use of traditional media has decreased since marketers have turned their attention to social media. (Akar & Topsu, 2013) It is necessary to state that China’s social media have something different than Western. No Facebook and Twitter, people use China’s social media such as Qzone and Sina Weibo. (Chiu, Ip & Silverman, 2012 [2]) Recently, there is a hot topic discussed on China’s social network and many people reblog it. The author would analyze why most companies shift their attention from traditional media to social media through the hot topic.

 

The purpose of this paper is to understand the power of social media. More specifically, the author using a case of Kentucky Fried Chicken (China) to analyze why companies display online marketing campaigns can create more value than traditional media.

 

Literature Review

In the past, consumers accepted messages from traditional magazines, radio, television and direct mail. The product-focused one-way interruption mass communication gives a lot of trouble and inconvenience to receiver. Some consumers do not trust the information which provides by traditional media. (David, M. Scott., 2007) The new types of social media named Web 2.0 which including many different types such as social networking sites, blogging platform, social search applications and social coupon sites(Hoffrnal & Novak, 2012). According to Chiu, Ip and Silverman (2012 [2]) describe, the most popular China’s social media sites are: Qzone, Sina Weibo and Renren. The basic function is the same as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The new online technology Web 2.0 has grown to a scale. (Hoffrnal & Novak, 2012) With the rise in social media, consumers are beginning to talk about brands and products. Social media produce the opportunities to people communicate and exchange information with each other. Consumers also can get information from social media, and then they can instantly give feedback or share their ideas without any technical knowledge. (Akar & Topsu, 2013)

 

Hanna, Rohm and Crittenden (2011) mention that “traditional media is all about reach which can be achieved in large numbers and it often does not translate into a true marketing exchange.” However, social media has changed the traditional mode of market information, consumer changed from passive roles to an active role in the marketing process. “They simultaneously act the initiators and the recipients of information exchanges.” (Kietzmann, et al., 2011) The interactive digital media sites allow consumers connect, share and create information and fundamentally changed the way marketers control marketing activities (Hanna, Rohm, Crittenden, 2011).

 

As Hansen, Sheiderman and Smith, (2011) describe “billions of people create trillions of connections through social media each day.” Social media is a powerful and effective medium to communicate with millions of potential consumers for companies. Hence, companies who use social media may gain a chance of reaching a wider audience. (Bamford, 2012) Meanwhile, social media can help a company build a good relationship with consumers. Business uses two-way communication may provide an intimate and warm feeling for consumers. (DiPietro, et al., 2012) Moreover, consumers toward the use of social media in creating and exchanging message in today market. The message exchanged by consumer themselves which result in creating word-of-mouth communication. (Papasolomou & Melanthiou, 2012) When looking at the word-of-mouth effects, the effects of social media last longer than the effects of traditional marketing (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwels, 2009). Social media often has higher credibility and trust than traditional media (Akar, & Topsu, 2013). In addition, social media offer increased traffic and improved search rankings for a company or a brand (Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden, 2011). It means the exposure also increases. All the power of social media may lead a good consequence to sales (Dyer, 2013).

 

Case Analysis

Kentucky Fried Chicken is a fast food restaurant chain which famous for fried chicken and it also provides hamburgers and French fries etc. After KFC reach China market, it is intended to become the first fast food restaurant. In order to achieve the goal, KFC adjusts some products according to Chinese taste preferences and obtains consumers’ praise. In order to gain consumers’ attention and attract them to patronage, KFC promotes itself through making a series of advertisings and activities in Chinese markets. (KFC China, 2012)

 

In the past, KFC (China) devoted time and money to offline marketing such as TV advertising and posters etc to promote its products. Along with the social media is widely used and a large number of people fall into the trend. KFC is beginning to use social media as the communication tools. Recently, FKC (China) Company used social media to communicate a message and simultaneously involving the consumers in the campaign. (http://kfcpk.qq.com/) This message told consumers that, the classical “Original Recipe” stop selling five weeks in KFC China market from 30 December 2013. The new product “Extra Crispy” instead the “Original Recipe” is provided in this period. Consumer can join the campaigns to vote “the favorite fried chicken” to decide whether the “Original Recipe” will continue to sell in KFC China market. (KFC, 2013) KFC uses China’s social media sites Sina Weibo, Renren and QQ to develop the message.

   
  
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   谁能代表  KFC   (Who can represent KFC)

谁能代表KFC   (Who can represent KFC)

Figure.1 Who can represent KFC (KFC, 2013)

 

In the past 43 days, more than 13 million people vote for the KFC campaigns through social media. This result is not the final result and the number of voting people continues to grow. As Hansen, Sheiderman and Smith (2011) mention social media have the unique charm of billions of people create trillions of connections through each day.”In view of the large number of Internet users registered on a social media and be active in social network. KFC (China) decided to create an online marketing campaign and using social media to touch millions of potential consumers quickly. On the other hand, KFC’s main targets are young people in China. Most users of social media such as Qzone, Sina Webo and RenRen are precisely young people. Hence, creating and exchanging message through social media helps KFC accurately aim at its target group.

 

In this period of doing the campaign, consumers simultaneously act the initiators and the recipients of information exchanges through social media (Kietzmann, et al., 2011). First of all, consumers receive the message and then who like the new product “Extra Crispy” may offer a positive evaluation in social media sites. Then, they are willing to share the positive information and recommend the new products for their friends through the social media. This interactive communication provides an intimate and warm feeling for consumers, then building a good relationship between company and consumers (DiPietro, et al., 2012). From the recipients’ perspective, they are more likely to believe information which provided by friends than a marketer. Hence, a company use consumer as the recipients can bring higher credibility and trust (Akar and Topsu, 2013).

 

Of course, social media cannot avoid negative evaluation. Some consumers think the classical “Original Recipe” is the soul of KFC. They do not support using new fried chicken instead of the classical one and they hope to enjoy it unceasingly. Some of consumers hope KFC keeps both “Original Recipe” and “Extra Crispy” in market. As Papasolomou and Melanthiou (2012) describe the message exchanged by consumer themselves which result in creating word-of-mouth communication. More than 40 days later, many consumers still discuss this topic. Some consumers are waiting for a result of the campaign. Like Trusov, Bucklin and Pauwels (2009) mention, the effects of social media last a long period of time than traditional media. Launching the campaign only uses one day, but consumers’ discussion leads the campaign exists in people’s mind for a long time. However, if launching the new product through TV advertising. The effects will disappear with the stop of the advertising.

 

No matter the positive or negative evaluation provided by consumers through social media. The campaign “Original Recipe PK Extra Crispy” causes a fierce discussion. The hot topic increased KFC exposure and also improved search rankings (Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden, 2011). The results prove that consumers accept the interactive communication and willing to join the campaign. Consumers are beginning to contradict the traditional one-way communication which companies tried to control and decide how their products should be perceived by the customers. Sometime, consumers dislike the feeling that advertisings interrupt them when they watch TV or listen to the music.

 

From another aspect, social media can help the company improve sales (Dyer, 2013). No matter consumer tries the new product for the campaign or fierce discussion makes consumers want to try. A sustained rise in the sales of “Extra Crispy” from the campaign obtains consumers’ attention (CYOL, 2014). Consumers will continue to patronage the new product if they love the product. It also has opened the door to the sales of products in the future.

 

Conclusion

In summary, the power of social media is obvious through analyzing the case of KFC (China). The cheap social media create a great value for KFC not only result in sales, but also involve many aspects. First, social media provide a chance of reaching a wider audience for a company or a brand (Bamford, 2012). Second, social media help company to build a good relationship with consumers (DiPietro, et al., 2012). Third, the message exchanged by consumer themselves which result in creating word-of-mouth communication (Papasolomou & Melanthiou, 2012). Fourth, social media involve higher credibility and trust (Akar, & Topsu, 2013). Fifth, social media offer increased traffic and improved search rankings for a company or a brand (Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden, 2011). All these benefits from social media let companies shift their attention from traditional media to social media.

 

Social media have begun to explore a location in online marketing and have influenced companies and consumers to a large extent. Companies now pay attention to social media marketing. It is worth reminding, social media is a two-edged sword. We cannot say social media is a flawless approach. To be sure, companies need to consider both advantages and disadvantages of social media in the future. Using it in the correct way will bring more value to a company.


References:

Akar, E., & Topsu, B., 2013. “An examination of factors influencing consumers’ choice of social media marketing”, Journal of Internet Commerce, 10(1), 35-67.

Bamford, N., 2012. “Why you should consider using social media”, Money Marketing (online edition), pp.8.

Chiu, C., Ip, C. & Silverman, A., 2012. [1] “Understanding Social Media in China”, Mckinsey quarterly, 2, pp.78-81.

Chiu, C., Ip, C. & Silverman, A., 2012. [2] “China’s Social-media Boom”, Mckinsey quarterly, [online] Avaliable at:< http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/chinas_social-media_boom> Viewed: 11 Feb 2014.

CYOL, 2014. “Consumer support the new product ‘Extra Crispy”. [online] Avaliable at:< http://roll.sohu.com/20140117/n393688672.shtml> Viewed: 12 Feb 2014.

David, M. Scott., 2007. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly”, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

DiPietro, R., Gustafson, C., Strick, S. & Crews, T., 2012. “The use of Social Networking Sites in the Restaurant Industry: Best Practices”, Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 15, 3, pp. 265-284.

Hanna, R., Rohm, A., & Crittenden, V., 2011. We’re all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem, Business Horizons, 54, 3, p.265-273.

Hansen, D., Sheiderman, B. & Smith, M.A., 2011. Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights froma a connected world, [Electronic Resource], n.p.: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, A-Z Resources.

Hoffrnal, D., & Novak, T., 2012. “Toward a Deeper Understanding of Social Media”, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 26, 2, pp. 69-70.

KFC China, 2012. “About KFC in China”, [online] Available at: <http://www.kfc.com.cn/kfccda/about.html> Viewed: 12 Feb 2014.

KFC, 2013. “Who Can Represent KFC: Original Recipe PK Extra Crispy”. [online] Avaliable at:< http://kfcpk.qq.com/ > Viewed: 12 Feb 2014.

Kietzmann, J.H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I.P. & Silvestreet, B.S., 2011. “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media”, Business Horizons, 54, 241—251.

Papasolomou, I. & Melanthiou, Y., 2012. “Social Media: Marketing Public Relations’ New Best Friend”, Journal of Promotion Management, 18, 3, pp. 319-328.

Trusov, M., Bucklin, R. & Pauwels, K., 2009. “Effects of Word-of-Mouth Versus Tranditional Marketing: Findings from an Internet Social Networking Site”, Journal of Marketing, 73, 5, pp.90-102.

Dyer, P., 2013. “The Top Benefits of Social Media Marketing”. [online] Avaliable at:< http://socialmediatoday.com/pamdyer/1568271/top-benefits-social-media-marketing-infographic> Viewed: 12 Feb 2014.

NATIVE ADVERTISING, THE NEXT BIG THING? Part 2

December 15, 2014

Written By Thomas Roos

Part 2: Native Advertising Discussed 

Part one of this paper discussed the rise of native advertising and how it is a result of paradigm shifts in consumer culture as a whole, as well as of developments within the online marketing field. This part will further elaborate on how native advertising is practiced and eventually discuss native advertising in terms of its success, and its limitations. To conclude with I raise the question that I could not answer in this paper, but should be of interest of anyone that has genuine interest in the field of internet marketing and branding. 

Empirical data analysis: Native advertising.

The consumer annoyance and scepticism towards advertisements, advertisers and capitalist practices in general as described in part 1 have forced online marketers in a new direction: native marketing. Native advertising, as explained in this infographic about native advertising by Wasserman (2012), is the creation of high-quality content by brands which is placed “…into the organic experience of a given platform.’’ Perhaps a simpler definition of the concept was given by Keers (2013), on the Content Marketing Association blog: “…instead of a simple, same-everywhere ad, it is targeted content, sitting alongside the publisher's content, but produced by brands themselves.”

The essence of native advertising is that it answers the consumers’ demand for valuable content from brands, whether they are the targeted audience or not. Holt (2002) argues that in the post-postmodern paradigm, consumers will judge brands and their ads on how they add value to people when they are not customers. Samuel Johnson once said: “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.’’, and this research provided reason to believe that the same mantra will define brand perception in the post-postmodern internet era. Native advertisements make a clear step into that direction, which is perhaps the reason why they work so well.

A second important strategic advantage of native advertising is that it offers value to both brands and publishers, as well as to different platforms. As Miller, the CEO of The Guardian Media Group (in this case: the platform) puts it: "There's an opportunity to work with advertisers on creating content that meets the editorial aspirations of ourselves and meets their need to get to consumers." {C}(Jackson, 2014){C}. What is being created is thus ‘branded content’ instead of simple advertisements.

{C}{C}{C}To illustrate this, an example is provided that came up during the empirical research online. The picture below shows a BuzzFeed article, and on the surface it seems like another entertaining BuzzFeed article (click on the image to view the full page). Who posted it? It was posted by Captain Morgan, and looking at the marked text in the description, its purpose is not just to entertain you{C} (Muniz & Schau, 2011){C}; it is there to educate consumers about the man behind the rum. On the side, we can find more ‘sponsored content’ from Captain Morgan. Evidently, the success of one such native ad is to create content that 1) enhances brand equity, 2) adds to the publisher’s / platform’s value, and most importantly; 3) is valuable for the audience that needs to be engaged.  

Figure : Native Advertising in practice; Captain Morgan offering valuable content on Buzzfeed.

   
  
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   Native Marketing explained

Native Marketing explained


Buzzfeed, Forbes, The Atlantic, Facebook, The New Yorker, etc; they all have developed a version of native advertising, called ‘sponsored content’, of which the above is an example. Buzzfeed runs completely on the gains from native advertising; not only do they encourage advertisers to settle in between the website contributors, (the regular visitors), but they also offer help to potential and existing advertisers to create content that is likely to be shared often by BuzzFeed users.


An overview of the main players in the native advertising field is provided in this map of native advertising platforms, and was taken from a 2013 article (Berry, 2013), and therefore not completely up to date. However, it accurately shows the division between different native advertising channels. Please note that more players joined this landscape since the map was made, however, the main players have remained more or less the same (Berry, 2013):

  • Sponsored Posts and Articles: Facebook and BuzzFeed (and newspapers)
  • Sponsored Video: YouTube and ShareThrough
  • Sponsored Images: Imgur and TripleLift
  • Sponsored Playlists: Pandora (mainly U.S) and Spotify (mainly Europe)
  • Sponsored Links: Disqus and Zemanta (many more have emerged)
  • Sponsored Listings: Uncrate and Yelp

Discussion.

In a study that was published on February 12th 2014, The Media Briefing (Taylor, 2014) investigated the traffic around these native ads and provided this study with interesting data collected from 689 BuzzFeed native ads posted by 51 companies.

The results (average ad shares per social platform) are astonishing:

  • 263 Facebook shares
  • 36 Tweets
  • 7 Google ‘plus one’s’
  • 44 Pins
  • 2 Linkedin shares

Additional outcomes of the study:

  • Native advertising on BuzzFeed is likely to result in 4241 total social media interactions.
  • Spotify’s native ad wins: 8530 Facebook shares, resulting in almost 50.000 Facebook interactions, including likes and comments.

According to The Media Briefing (2014), it can therefore be argued that BuzzFeed’s native advertising strategy is a tremendous success simply because advertisers love the idea that consumers will share an ad on their social network platforms. Why? It turns out that the earlier-mentioned Word of Mouth is of vital importance for gaining trustworthiness, and therefore is much more likely to lead to an increase in sales (see table 1 below). “That these services enable only the sharing of content on the Web is not important here. What is important is that they allow simultaneous sharing in reality.(Akar & Topcu, 2011, p.39).

A 2012 study conducted by The Nielsen Company (2013) indicated advertising in the form of word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family continued to be the strongest factor triggering action among 84% of 29.000 global respondents from 58 countries (table on the next page).

 

Table 1: Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising, Questionnaire 1-2013 (Nielsen, 2013)

   
  
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   Native Marketing explained

Native Marketing explained

 

A brief Critique and suggestions for research.

Some critique is being raised about native advertising as a new form of online advertising.  Listed below are the most commonly raised issues:

  • Many platforms may not have the capacity to handle the growing amount of native advertising, even though they say they can (Kantrowitz, 2013).
  • It is generally hard to tell whether native advertising is more successful than conventional banner methods, as they are used at different scales.
  • Joe McCambley, who helped creating the first banner ad, says that native advertising might destroy journalism, as “You are gambling with the contract you have with your readers,” and “How do I know who made the content I am looking at and what the value of the information is?” (Carr, 2013).
  • There are ethical questions being raised about the extent to which for instance The New Yorker is fooling their audience and breaching the contract of offering valuable and trustworthy content.

The scope of this paper leaves no room for discussion of the above, therefore it is suggested that further research should be done towards the limitations of native advertising, in terms of scalability as well as in terms of ethical issues.

 

Conclusion.

Web 2.0 has made a significant impact on the power relations between brands and their audience, and native advertising is one answer to this paradigm shift. Online advertisers now find themselves on thin ice, as the “…web-based power struggles between marketer and consumer brand authors challenge accepted branding truths and paradigms: where short-term brands can trump long-term icons, where marketing looks more like public relations, where brand building gives way to brand protection, and brand value is driven by risk, not returns. (Fournier & Avery, 2011, p.193). This paper confirms that advertisers will always be looking for better ways to reach their audiences, and that those who are most adaptive to change will always be upfront.

 

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Smith, P., 2013. The Media Briefing: Is it Time to Move on from Intrusive, Annoying Online Advertising? [Online] Available at: http://www.themediabriefing.com/article/is-it-time-to-move-on-from-intrusive-annoying-online-advertising [Accessed 14 February 2014].

Taylor, H., 2014. The Media Briefing: BuzzFeed's native advertising: really making ads you want to share? [Online] Available at: http://www.themediabriefing.com/article/buzzfeed-native-ad-social-sharing [Accessed 13 February 2014].

Varadarajan, R. & Yadav, M.S., 2009. Marketing Strategy in an Internet-Enabled Environment:A Retrospective on the First Ten Years of JIM and a Prospective on the Next Ten Years. Journal of Interactive Marketing , 23, pp.11-22.

Vargo, S.L. & Lusch, R.F., 2004. Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), pp.1-17.

Wasserman, T., 2012. Mashable: This Infographic Explains What Native Advertising Is.. [Online] Available at: http://mashable.com/2012/12/13/infographic-native-advertising/ [Accessed 10 February 2014].

Wind, Y., 2008. A Plan to Invent the Marketing We Need Today. MITSloan Management Review, 49(4), pp.20-28.

Winer, R.S., 2009. New Communications Approaches in Marketing: Issues and. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 23, pp.108-17.

Xiang, Z. & Gretzel, U., 2010. Role of social media in online travel information search. Tourism Management, 31, pp.179-88.

How has the internet changed consumers over the past 10 years and how can companies’ best adapt? Part 2

October 20, 2014

Written by  Liu Fan

Analysis and Apply

The importance of internet

Many company and organization think that there is no necessary delivery their new productions or services through the internet on blog, twitter or whatever. But it is wrong to think by Barwise & Meehan (2010) we are entering a world in which traditional marketing activities, and brand themselves, will become irrelevant. If the company use the internet causes the customer disappointing, but today the scale and speed of social media can make falling short instantly painful (Barwise & Meehan 2010). It is better rather than the company falling down or bankrupt.

More and more company have an awareness of using internet is important for their future development. As Barwise & Meehan (2010) mentioned social media can also boost brand awareness, trial, and ultimately sales, especially when a campaign goes viral. The internet is suitable most of the companies that could use website. Internet brands adopt a more relaxed stance on brand management, which involves the consumer in fundamental stages of the brand building process (Chritodoulides, 2009). There is no need worried about you are in the stage of the beginner or you are a big company which has thousands of employees.

 

Target groups

The big company maybe suits the most of the customers for their products. There is no need to divide into several in order to get the attractive or purchases. But the products and services comparably not popular is still needed by a small group of people actually. Breuer and Brettel (2012) said that advertising should be target group specific in order to achieve the highest impact. Aljukhadar and Senecal (2011) has asserted that four primary underlying motives drive internet use: acquisition of information (searching), communication, exploration (general browsing), and acquisition of goods (shopping). Different customers have different interest for reasoning internet. Otherwise the company should take account into different target groups in compliance with those various aspects of internet use. However, the company might think a small group of the customers is not enough for their desire. They want to gain a large part of the market shares. In fact, the potential benefits to be gained far outweigh the resource implications required to implement a successful segment approach (Aljukhadar and Senecal, 2011). Aljukhadar and Senecal (2011) suggest that consumers who shop online behave differently from consumers who use the traditional shopping channel. The consumers behave has changes by the timing passed, it is becoming various now in the internet era. Aljukhadar and Senecal (2011) has found that age, gender, and income have a significant influence on online shopping intent.

 

Focusing on contents

Many companies are working so hard that introducing their products and services in order to deal with the consumers’ problem. Indeed, the company do not solve the problem which customer searching for. The organizations or company always do the useless of which they are focusing on their own things, because that are not starting to think as what customer think about it that should be consider it. Barwise & Meehan (2010) have found that market research was product-rather than customer centric: Marketers asked questions about attitudes and behaviors relevant to their brands. However, the company or organization can change the position as a customer. They can think what I offer which is matters of customer. What problems might be giving a solution for people? What are the customer focusing on? What do the customers really care about? Moreover, Deighton and Kornfeld (2009) said that the technology underlying each of these phenomenons enables easy interaction with the content and among viewers. Under the internet with using blog, twitter, or facebook, the company has a chance to exchange the information from the customers to company it selves.

 

Building your brand

Large amount of companies spend the millions of money to search advertising agencies for their advertisement’s innovation, unique ideas. But the return of the investment is so low that cannot make sense for most of them. However, the website can build for your companies or organizations with blog, twitter, or facebook. And the most important thing is that you can save your money totally, it cost little. Cova and Pace (2006) said that the advent of the internet subsequently advanced the idea that brands can create consumer communities revolving around their web sites. Cova and Pace (2006) have found the possibilities for developing communities around the brands that can supply our basic products. Websites do real significant position on building a brand for customer. If the companies have many of brands on products and services, they can have different websites on each brand, such as P&G. When they are doing the websites, they need carefully about that on target groups. Separate the brands are needs to develop strong identities for products, but if customers need more than one product, they have to do their own integration of brands---often with the same company (Wind, 2008).

 

Just do it

We talk about the importance of internet, target groups, focus on content, and build your brand. Now it is time to do so. Some of the companies afraid of doing in the wrong way because of them are the first time. Some of the companies are afraid of which platform is suit for them that can attract large of the visitors to come see their web pages. Also there is some of company afraid of what time is the good decision for launching the new products or services. But the point is that there is no need to care about the worries above. If it is necessary for the future development, the employees can set up a blog or twitter for the company. There is a point should be carefully, the company have do build the standard rules for security of company to avoid private information and commercial secrets be captured. Many evidences proved that whether you are using  social media to communicate with consumers, or to influences others to carry a message related brand, effective use of social media can benefit greatly  from a personal touch that is related oriented (Weinberg & Pehlivan, 2011).

 

Conclusion

The internet has changed people behaviors, such as blog, twitter, facebook, etc. People and customer search information of solution through the websites. However, the company, organization or private can offer the information or solution to customers or people. When the company set up a new website, they might focus on target groups, managing the contents, building your brands and do it as soon as possible. Moreover, the employees can promote the company and give information and solution also. But the company should set a standard principle in order to avoid lose private information and commercial secrets.

The advent of internet cannot live without the people, company, and society. Although the internet is so important that we need them in this era. But the mass media (newspaper, TV, radio and magazine) also has the same position. The best way to coordinate the internet and mass media is that choose your best tools that can promote your company and delivery the information and solution for the customers.   

 

Reference 

Aljukhadar, M. & Senecal, S. (2011) Segmenting the online consumer market, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 29(4), 421-435.

 

Akar, E. & Topcu, B. (2011) An examination of factors influencing consumers’ attitudes toward social media marketing, Journal of Internet Commerce. 10(1), 35-67.

 

Atkinson, W. (2013) Distributor Focus: Adding Social Media Marketing to Mix

 

Barwese, P. & Meehan S. (2010) Spotlight: The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building a Brand.

Breuer, R. & Brettel, M. (2012) Short- and Long-term Effects of Online Advertising: Differences between New and Existing Customers, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 26, 155–166.

 

Christodoulides, G. (2009) Marketing Theory: Branding in the post-internet era. Volume 9(1): 141-144Harvard Business Review,December. Sage. DOI: 10.1177/1470593108100071

 

Cova, B. & Pace, S. (2006) European Marketing: Brand community of convenience products: new forms of customer empowerment- the case” my Nutella The Community”. Vol.40 No.9/10, Emeralds Group Publishing Limited.

 

Deighton, J. & Kornfeld, L. (2009) Interactivity’s Unanticipated Consequences for Marketers and Marketing. Journal of interactivive marketing. Boston: Harvard Business School.

 

Scott, M.D. (2010) The new rules of marketing & PR. Wiley, Third edition.

 

Wind, J.Y. (2008) MIT Sloan Management Review: A Plan to Invent the Marketing We Need Today. Vol.49 No.4

 

Weinberg, D.B. & Pehlivan, E. (2011) Social spending: Managing the social media mix. Kelley school of Business, Indiana University. Business Horizon, pp 275-28

 

How has the internet changed consumers over the past 10 years and how can companies’ best adapt? Part 1

October 16, 2014

Written by Liu Fan

Introduction 

Long time ago, the people can only receive the information of production and service through the mass media. The companies are often using the one-way interruption advertisement to attract the people who are watching the TV or news in order to gain the attention no matter they like or not. But now it is an advertisement explosion era that you can see the commercial information everywhere, no matter what you are in the public or you are at home. As Akar and Topcu (2011) said that the internet has changed the way people work, communicate, and live. It has changed the human behavior largely. People can listen to music in whatever you want---even you are not in your home country. People can get the news on their smart phone---sport news, product promotion, etc. people can watch the movie in the publication or at school. The relationships are getting closer between the people or customer and company through the internet. People not only have mass media that involves television, radio, newspaper and magazine also has the internet which influences the customer or company. The people search the production and services information that they like or they need on the website.

 

The old marketing rules are more active and positive in the past few years. The advertisements are seemed to be an important component of marketing. It becomes a best way to distribute the information about the company. Moreover, the creativity is taking a large part of the position in the advertisement. The companies are trying to use interruption marketing for making the customer get an attention. And the advertisement and public relations are different activity. They have different goals, standards, and strategies running by two departments. The old public relations are determined to send the messages through the media. Company only can communicate with the journalist across the press releases. And there is nobody can see the actually press unless you are editor. In addition, the companies try to make top news in order to let the journalist write the new production or services via release. If the customer wants to know the news immediately, they merely accept the news from the reporter.

 

However, the internet has changed the rules of marketing and public relations. Traditional marketing involves talking at someone; social media marketing involves talking with someone (Atkinson, 2013). Which means it targets particular groups, maybe it is large or it is small. Moreover, Atkinson (2013) said that if you are not involved in B2B social media marketing, you are missing out on a huge opportunity, especially as it relates to attracting younger generation customers. Marketing is no only about the popular products and services, but also the things that face a small share of markets. The theory of long tail is telling us the marketing shift is changing from the popular markets to comparably smaller market share; it works such as the online shopping of Amazon. The new rules of marketing and public relations are means, for instance, the marketing is not 4P---product, place, price and promotion, the marketing is not advertising, etc. the company could have their own blog, twitter, podcast or website. And their employees could also have the blog or twitter to introduce the new products or services, too. But for the security aspect, company should make principles. However, the people could get the information or solution via company or employees’ blog or twitter. Comparably investing a huge of amount money in advertisement on television, the website is a smart choice, especially for the beginner of the entrepreneurships.

 

Purpose 

For the research of this report, we are discussing the significant of internet for the company using such as blog, twitter, website, podcast, etc. Many evidences prove that the company may face the internet media before that have action for the branding or others to compete with rivals. Furthermore, we are aiming to help the organization or company out with the target group, content management, building a relationship with customer. Is it the internet has an effect on branding or not? The question s that how does the company uses the internet on order to get involved in the new era for the future? 

 

 

10 notable changes to market on the Internet

October 6, 2014

Written by  Alexander Landers 

The beginning of this month, February 2014, marked a point in Internet history: it has been 10 years ago since Mark Zuckerberg founded social media network Facebook and it is that network that has become the popular social media network over time. The rise and the enormous use of social media is just one good example of how Internet has changed over the last years and is still changing as we speak.

 

Read more ---

 

People’s “online habits and buying process [have] changed, in large part reshaped by the Internet itself” (Duffy 2014). For example, it is not only the people who use today’s biggest social media network for socialising purposes – Facebook has become an often-used tool for marketers as well. In my experience, the Internet has changed from a mostly informative platform for professionals and consumers to a platform where people can literally share anything and react on that published material online.

As the Internet is still changing, marketers change their online tactics as well. In this E-paper, I will try to identify 10 notable changes in marketing on the Internet, in order to help marketers doing their job better.

1. Use of Online Communities

Online communities are social networks on the Internet where people confer with each other “to pursue common goals and/or interests. This interaction often crosses political and geographical boundaries” (Patruno 2013). For example, the brand of the mobile phone that I recently bought, Oppo, uses its online community to help customers (help themselves) with their problems and the software developers to gain customer insights from them. You have to be a member of the online community before you can actually get involved on topics you are interested in.

Marketers should take advantage of Seraj’s main theoretical contribution on online communities where “the need for the concurrent existence of content quality, playful interactivity helps with building social ties and a self-governed community culture with its citizens playing certain roles” (Seraj 2012, p. 220).

 

2. Focus on two sorts of consumers

The second important notable change to marketing on the Internet is that a marketer nowadays should focus on two sorts of consumers: both the consumers with a utilitarian orientation and the ones with a more hedonic orientation as Scarpi (2012) states in his article. Utilitarian orientated consumers are far more goal oriented when they surf on the Internet to find products, whereas the consumers who are more hedonically orientated and are shopping online for fun; they want to enjoy the shopping experience more. This means that for an E-tailer’s website fun sells off, because then the hedonically orientated consumers return to the website to buy other products several times. However, this sort of consumer spends less on average than the utilitarian orientated consumers. So although a marketer of online products is “more inclined to a utilitarian orientation, they could consider adding features to induce consumers to be more hedonic on the Web site” (Scarpi 2012, p.65). 

3. Managing eWOM
Electroninic Word of Mouth (eWOM) has gotten more effective on the internet, as social the usage of social media usage increased in the last years. It still is very difficult for a marketer to manage eWom, but the authors Sandes & Urdan (2012) have tried to verify in their article if eWom affects consumer behaviour and if companies can manage eWom by actively responding to comments posted by consumers. Sandes & Urdan’s study showed that exposure to comment (both negative and positive) impacts brand image, just as word-of-mouth marketing does in real life. Although online negative-feedback management reduces the impact on brand image but did not change the impact on purchase intention. Therefore, the marketer should engage in the discussion online. 

4. Use of social networks

The fourth notable change to market on the Internet is the changes in use of social networks. For example, the biggest social network of all, Facebook, has changed that consumers can now decide themselves which of their friends get to see their posts. New tactics should help the marketer with the use of social media. Kietzmann and others presented a framework in their article seven building blocks that firms should use for social media:  identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation and groups (Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestreet 2011, p. 248). By using these building blocks marketers can be more consistent in their use of social networks and attract as many potential clients as possible.

5. Virtual worlds

Virtual worlds are simulated environments that are computer based. Examples of virtual worlds are Second Life and Habbo. “Second life was designed with the expectation being on the residents to establish their own community rules for appropriate behaviour. On the other hand some virtual worlds such as Habbo enforce clear rules for behaviour, as seen in their terms of condition” (Haskins 2008). That is why it is not so easy for a marketer to get involved in virtual worlds, although research of Eisenbeiss and others states that socializing, creativity and escape emerge as individual drivers for people who are participating in a virtual world (Eisenbeiss, Blechschmidt, Backhaus & Freund 2012, p. 16). So now at least marketers know what the most important drivers are of these people to get involved in those world. There is not enough research done yet to state how marketers should exactly get involved in virtual worlds. 

6. Internet affects generations and genders differently

Research has not only been done about how the Internet affects generations differently, but also on how it affects genders differently. The research done by Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden has results which suggest “that normative (parents, peers, and the Internet) influences affect Generation Y more than Generation X. Conversely, as this study found, informative influences of parents, traditional media, and in particular, the Internet affect Generation X. Furthermore, the findings show that the Internet is an important normative socialization agent influencing men, while it acts as an informative socialization agent for women” (Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden 2011, p. 179).These are very interesting results for marketers on the Internet, if they want to better approach their target group.

7. Offline versus online TV-advertising

Marketers can still spend a lot of money on advertising on TV. Because more and more television is watched online nowadays, it is interesting to know what the differences are in adverting for marketing for both kinds of television. Cho & Cheon already found out through their study “why people avoid internet advertising”, namely because people avoid advertisements because of the perceived ad clutter (Cho & Cheon 2014, p. 90). This is also what Logan confirms in his article about the online TV watching group: the group watching online TV was less tolerant of advertising than the offline TV group (Logan 2013, p. 271). The same article describes that viewers of Online TV do not regard advertising as a means to subsidize the cost of online content. Rather, young adults appear to regard advertising as an intruder in the OTV environment (Logan 2013, p. 271). This calls for new ways of advertising for online TV, if you ask me. 

8. Old media can help use of Internet

Another notable change on the Internet is that marketers tend to think that it is either/or when it comes to marketing through old media and marketing via the Internet. This is not correct, as Pfeiffer & Zinnbauer explain in their article. They argue that old media can enhance new media “To build brand strength, or to actively convey a brand's positioning relative to competitors toward a broad audience, however, classic advertising remains a necessity” (Pfeiffer & Zinnbauer 2010, p. 47). But potential synergies between two or more media channels have to also be taken into account when marketers come to their final media mix decision: that is why old media can enhance new media.

9. Power of social media ecosystem

The change in power of social media on the Internet is also something marketers should take into account. It can make or break the marketing of a company. That is why Hanna and others state in their article that both social and traditional media should be seen as part of an ecosystem. “All elements work together toward a common objective: whether to launch and promote a new product or service; to communicate a new company initiative; or to simply further engage customers in a rich, meaningful, and interactive dialogue”  (Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden 2011, p. 273).

10. Measuring ROI of social media marketing

The last notable change to market on the Internet is that measuring of Return On Investment (ROI) of social media marketing has become easier for companies. Hoffmann and Fodor explain in their article that the social Web has become highly measurable. It has been made “relatively simple for a manager to measure the number of product reviews, blog posts and comments, retweets and appearances in the social network timelines of the company’s brands” (Hoffmann & Fodor 2010, p. 49). None the less, the authors don’t forget to mention that there are still are some situations in which it is difficult to trace behaviour online (for example offline word of mouth and offline purchases).

Conclusion

In this E-Paper, I have discussed 10 notable changes to market on the Internet for marketers. The sum of it all is that I do not think that marketers underestimate changes on the Internet, but it is all about how they adapt changes of the Internet over the last 10 years. I have tried to pick out the most notable changes on the Internet to me, but I can see the limitation of my research, because there are far more changes that have happened over the last decade. I hope the changes I have mentioned, will give food for thought for marketers that want to market on the internet. Just imagine: how will the Internet will look like in 10 years from now?
 

Reference list

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Cho C-H. & Cheon H., Why do people avoid advertising on the internet?, Journal of Advertising, inter2004, Vol. 33 Issue 4, pp. 89 - 97.

Duffy 2014

Duffy, S., Why Marketing is more than publishing content”, Available Online: http://www.brandrants.com/brandrants/2014/2/11/why-content-marketing-is-more-than-publishing-content.html [Last accessed on 11 February 2014]. 

Eisenbeiss, Blechschmidt, Backhaus & Freund 2012
Eisenbeiss, M.; Blechschmidt, B.; Backhaus, K.; Freund, P.A., The (Real) World Is Not Enough:” Motivational Drivers and User Behavior in Virtual Worlds, The Journal of Interactive Marketing, February 2012, 26(1): pp. 4-20.

Habbo 2014
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Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden 2011

Hanna, R., Rohm, A. and Crittenden, V., We’re all connected: the power of the social media ecosystem, Business Horizons, 54 (2011), p. 265-273.

Haskins 2008
Haskins, W., Who polices virtual worlds?, Available Online: http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/64002.html [Last edited on 31 July 2008].

Hoffman & Fodor 2010
Hoffman, D.L.; Fodor, M.,
Can you measure the ROI of you social media marketing?, MIT Sloan Management Review, September 2010, 52(1), pp.41-49.

Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestreet 2011
Kietzmann, J.H., K. Hermkens, I.P., McCarthy & B.S. Silvestreet, Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media, Business Horizons, 54 (2011), pp. 241-248. 

Naughton 2014
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Logan 2013
Logan, K., And now a word from our sponsor: Do consumers perceive advertising on traditional television and online streaming video differently?, Journal of Marketing Communications, Volume 19, Issue 4, 2013, pp. 258-276.

Oppo 2014
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Patruno 2013

Patruno, M., History of online communities, Available Online: http://blog.bigmarker.com/history-of-online-communities [Last edited on 23 May 2013]. 

Pfeiffer & Zinnbauer 2010
Pfeiffer, M. & Zinnbauer,  M., Can Old Media Enhance New Media? How Traditional Advertising Pays off for an Online Sociai Network, Journal of Advertising Research Mar2010, Vol. 50 Issue 1, pp.42-49.

Sandes & Urdan 2013
Sandes, F.S. & A. T. Urdan, Electronic Word-of-Mouth Impacts on Consumer Behavior: Exploratory and Experimental Studies, Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 25(3) (2013), pp. 181-182. 

Scarpi 2012
Scarpi, D., Work and Fun on the Internet: The Effects of Utilitarianism and Hedonism Online, Journal of Interactive Marketing 26 (2012), pp. 65-68. 

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