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Social Neworking Sites’ influence on purchase intentions: Qualitative study on their holistic influence on the users
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis treats the topic of how Social Networking Sites (SNS) influence the users’ purchase intentions. The topic is highly relevant as SNS receive more and more attention from brands which try to take advantage of the recent growth of the platforms and their ever-increasing popularity among people all around the world. More than 2,4 billion people worldwide were using SNS in 2017 (Statista, 2017a). The greatest share has Facebook with around 2,2 billion registered users and more than 1,6 billion daily users (Facebook, 2018) but other networks are catching up. This thesis focuses on Facebook and Instagram as the most popular and relevant SNS.Similarly to SNS popularity, company spending on SNS are on a constant rise, too. Expenses in 2017 increased by 60% compared to the previous year (4C Insights cited by Morrison, 2017). Previous research has shown that SNS are powerful in influencing users behavior and increasing their purchase intentions (Jackson, 2011). Therefore, much attention has been directed towards investigating how advertisements, electronic word-of-mouth or brand posted content influence the user and how it can be optimized.What is missing in previous research is a consideration of the bigger picture, meaning the influence of SNS in their entirety on the user. So far only individual elements have been investigated but the users have a universal experience of SNS as a whole and not only single elements. This gap will be filled by this thesis by following an explorative design as it is the first study to investigate in this direction. Ten semi-structured in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of SNS users aged under 30 have been conducted. The results have been analyzed in the light of previous knowledge.Advancing the research in this regard contributes in multiple ways theoretically and practically. The findings indicate that brands need to consider their activity on SNS as a whole and must find out how their target audience behaves on and experiences SNS as this affects which angle brands should take to exert influence. Well-known brands should focus more on providing value through their brand content and support the emergence of eWOM, while unknown brands profit the most from advertisements towards interested users. Brand content is seen as minimum requirement and brands are expected to have a presence on SNS.

Additionally, ethical considerations and the future of SNS are discussed due to relevant findings from the interviews.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-150257OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-150257DiVA, id: diva2:1235764
Educational program
Master's Programme in Marketing
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-08-10 Created: 2018-07-27 Last updated: 2018-08-10Bibliographically approved

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