An investigation of possible effects viral advertising, spread through social media, has over the consumers' decision-making process and purchasing behaviour.
(2017) An investigation of possible effects viral advertising, spread through social media, has over the consumers' decision-making process and purchasing behaviour., no. 84.
Introduction: Mass marketing methods have been used by businesses around the world to reach large audiences, carrying out promotional messages through TV, radio or print advertisements. The evolution of Internet, together with the rise of online communication practices and the rapid growth of digital media, created new marketing opportunities for companies. The digital environment, and more specifically social media platforms, enable brands to spread viral messages to vast audiences, cost effectively and in short periods of time. Viral advertising can be a very effective marketing method, if proven to have an effect on consumers' purchasing intentions. Purpose: To investigate the use of viral advertising on social media platforms and assess its influence on consumers' purchasing intentions. Also, to identify possible elements affecting dissemination behaviour, useful for marketers when forming viral campaigns. Method: A qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews was the chosen method to investigate the impact viral advertising has on consumers' purchasing behaviour. Fifteen participants were selected using a snowball sampling method. The interview questions were revolving around key themes, which derived from the literature review. Findings: The findings reveal that, due to the possible link between dissemination behaviour and brand attitude, formed through viral advertising, when viral campaigns reach a considerable amount of reach, in terms of consumers' online social circles, they operate as a tool, influencing purchasing intentions . Research limitations: Limitations consisted of a limited in size non-probability sample, representing mainly generation Y social media users, therefore unable to be generalized to wider populations and identified inconsistencies within interviewees' answers, due to hesitation to disclose personal information when regarded as consumers.