IS VIRAL VITAL? Analyzing the Coexistence of Organic, Paid and Viral Facebook Contents

Gajdos, Boglárka (2020) IS VIRAL VITAL? Analyzing the Coexistence of Organic, Paid and Viral Facebook Contents. BA/BSc thesis, BCE, International Study Programs. Szabadon elérhető változat / Unrestricted version:

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Social platforms have brought connection-based networking to such an intense level, that a completely new and revolutionary marketing was created in the process -the viral marketing. My research was motivated by the fact that, although the 'viral phenomenon' is present for some time and is undoubtedly holding numerous exceptional features, it is still weakly understood. The main purpose of the study was to present the phenomenon of coexistence of different types of Facebook contents, to reveal the disincentives regarding the use of viral contents, and to set up a general guidance that can contribute to a company’s image building. Therefore, I have raised the following research questions: How is it possible for different types of Facebook contents to coexist? What are the limitations of creating viral content? What are the key aspects and elements of successful marketing campaigns? In the interest of being able to conclude an extensive comparative analysis on the benefits and deficiencies of Facebook-based traditional contents and viral marketing campaigns realized on the social platform, thus managing to answer my research questions, the following structure was used: The Theoretical Background section included a short review of the emergence of online marketing and also introduced the solely selected platform of my research -Facebook. Additionally, an examination of paid, organic and viral Facebook contents was conducted separately along with their operation on the site, in pursuance of being able to comprehend the basics of their coexistence. In the Methodology section, the selection process of the platform was presented, through evaluating and comparing Facebook with the other main alternative -Google. Then, the introduction of different research procedures was conducted, in which the main motivations for selecting in-depth interviews were presented. Finally, the respondents of the in-depth interviews were introduced, along with their selection procedure. In the Analysis section, an assessment was concluded on the paid, organic and viral contents from a qualitative approach based on in-depth interviews with marketing experts. This section was focusing on the interviewee’s responses, aiming at gaining an insight into the respondent's independent line of thought, his or her own perspective, which was gathered by using a discussion guide and was evaluated from different aspects based on other researches, as it can be assumed, that this way, the research questions of the study have been answered in a more reliable and in-depth way. With the spread of the Internet, the emergence of online platforms commenced, as a result of which 'offline' activities shifted progressively to online spaces. Just like the Internet has brought a completely new dimension to the world of marketing, so have social platforms. By diminishing the significance of the constraints posed by borders and times zones, it is empowering people to connect regardless of location and time, thus providing an opportunity for the continuous exchange and transfer of information. With 2.6 billion active users worldwide, it is undeniable that Facebook is currently defining the social media involvement. Based on the literature and the evaluation of the in-depth interviews, the possibility of coexistence of different Facebook contents can be derived from the fact, that each content serves different needs. Direct (Dark Posts and Organic-origin Ads) an Indirect (Influencer Marketing) Paid Facebook Advertisements has mainly a promotional role, with various types of audiovisual contents, the companies can increase awareness, consideration or conversion. Contrastingly, the most basic Free Facebook Content -Organic Post has primarily an information function, by providing customers up-to-date information of the companies’ products or services, it also serves the followers with interesting contents. Within viral marketing, two main categories are distinguished: e-WOM and Viral Content. The former has a significant effect on purchase intention (positive or negative), however, it is usually initiated by the customers/users, thus from a corporate point of view it is difficult to influence directly due to the two-way nature of communication. The latter entails extraordinary possibilities for companies to generate huge attention at low expenditures, but has limitations on its widespread use. While it holds numerous undoubtedly advantageous features, the fear of viral marketing not working as desired is a concern of most of the companies, as they do not have an accurate picture of their followers’ pass-on behaviour. The lack of knowledge could only be resolved with time- and money-consuming psychological researches aiming at examining the contributing factors of the pass-on intention. Without a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of this phenomenon, the outcome of viral campaigns is barely predictable and its proliferation is difficult to control. Although provocative elements can influence the user’s pass-on behavior, this does not fit into the communication of the companies operating in most industries due to strict company policies. Finally, in the interest of obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the researched matter, the chosen qualitative analysis was used to collect and highlight the main aspects and most important elements of successful Facebook campaigns, which are namely the following: web-presence, strong connectivity, good reputation, integration, talent, media consumption periodicity, sustainable values and continuous monitoring.

Item Type:BA/BSc thesis
Subjects:Information economy
Media and communication
ID Code:13986
Specialisation:Economist in International Business
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 11:29
Last Modified:02 Dec 2021 11:50

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