Title: 'Click here to share with a friend': a uses and gratifications approach to word-of-mouth marketing effectiveness

Authors: James R. Coyle; Ted Smith; Elizabeth Lightfoot; William Neace; Glenn Platt

Addresses: Miami University, 2045B Farmer School of Business, Marketing Department and Interactive Media Studies, Oxford, OH 45056, USA. ' Metro Louisville Government, 527 West Jefferson Street, Louisville, KY 40202, USA. ' CBS Interactive, 1630 Lyndon Farm Court, Louisville, KY 40223, USA. ' University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave., East Hall 2203K, West Hartford, CT 06117, USA. ' Miami University, Farmer School of Business, Marketing Department and Interactive Media Studies, 210 Laws Hall, Oxford, OH 45056, USA

Abstract: The burgeoning interest in viral marketing and social media optimisation can be seen as a response to the growing and prohibitive clutter inherent in today's fragmented media landscape that leads to messages being attended to less reliably and exclusively. Research on predictors of viral marketing effectiveness is in its infancy, especially as it relates to the use of advertising as the primary vehicle for a viral campaign. We explore factors that prompt advertising sharing, and introduce a shareability scale, a tool to gauge the sharing potential of interactive marketing communications. Across a B2B and a B2C sample, we found remarkable similarity. Participants who were willing to share advertising information tended to be more mindful of others when processing the advertisement, to have a greater general tendency to share internet information, to be more highly involved in the product category, and, in the B2C sample, to be less concerned about source trustworthiness when passing along information found online. Implications for new media researchers and advertisers are discussed.

Keywords: viral marketing; word-of-mouth; WOM; uses; gratifications; electronic marketing; internet marketing; advertising sharing; internet advertising; information sharing; e-marketing; online marketing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2011.045609

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2011 Vol.4 No.4, pp.225 - 247

Available online: 22 Feb 2012 *

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