Segmenting consumer reactions to social network marketing

Colin Campbell (Department of Marketing, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Carla Ferraro (Australian Centre for Retail Studies, Department of Marketing, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Sean Sands (Australian Centre for Retail Studies, Department of Marketing, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Publication date: 8 April 2014



The purpose of this paper is to understand how consumers may be segmented with respect to their reactions to social network marketing.


Consumers are segmented on the basis of attitudes toward social network marketing and the association among psychological, economic, and socio-demographic covariates are explored using data from 883 consumers and latent-class analysis.


A total of five segments are identified – Passive, Talkers, Hesitant, Active, and Averse – along with significant covariates, such as information search, convenience, entertainment, age and gender that predict membership.

Research limitations/implications

Evidence was found of two segments that are highly impacted by social network marketing in terms of brand engagement, purchase intention and WOM referral intention. The most engaged – the Active – representing approximately 10 percent, is most open to interacting with brands in social networks, likely to make a purchase as a result of the campaign, and likely to spread WOM. The second group – Talkers – representing 28 percent, is also high on all outcomes, but not impacted as greatly in terms of purchase intentions.

Practical implications

There is a sizable share of the market (38 percent) that can be positively impacted through social network marketing. This paper reinforces that it is problematic to collapse all users of social networks.


The paper offers a more nuanced understanding of how consumers engage with social media by focusing on how consumers engage with social network marketing and by employing three segmentation bases: brand engagement, purchase intention, and WOM.



The authors contributed equally to this manuscript and are listed in alphabetical order.


Campbell, C., Ferraro, C. and Sands, S. (2014), "Segmenting consumer reactions to social network marketing", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 48 No. 3/4, pp. 432-452.

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