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Viral marketing: Motivations to forward online content

Jason Y.C. Ho and Melanie Dempsey

Journal of Business Research, 2010, vol. 63, issue 9-10, 1000-1006

Abstract: Despite the increasing popularity of viral marketing, factors critical to such a new communication medium remain largely unknown. This paper examines one of the critical factors, namely Internet users' motivations to pass along online content. Conceptualizing the act of forwarding online content as a special case of a more general communication behavior, we identify four potential motivations: (1) the need to be part of a group, (2) the need to be individualistic, (3) the need to be altruistic, and (4) the need for personal growth. Using a survey of young adults, we examine the relationship between these motivations and the frequency of passing along online content. We also investigate if high trait curiosity can indirectly lead to more forwarding by increasing the amount of online content consumed. Results show that Internet users, who are more individualistic and/or more altruistic, tend to forward more online content than others.

Keywords: Viral; marketing; Electronic; word-of-mouth; (e-WOM); Motivation; e-Maven (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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