In the preceding decades, due to the advancement of social media, traditional marketing has become less significant. Managers and entrepreneurs are seeking novel, effective and efficient ways both for new and technological products/services. Drawing on the theory of reasoned action, information adoption model and technology acceptance model, the purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of viral marketing on purchase intentions of mobile applications users in Iran.
Statistical population includes those Iranian users who have used two social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Line, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Telegram, Twitter, Viber, WeChat and WhatsApp) at least. Invalid questionnaires are excluded and 624 are used for the data analysis. Structural equations modelling is used to test the proposed model.
The findings show that the most effective factor on apps perceived usefulness is argument quality of information, followed by source credibility and quantity of information. Perceived usefulness is also predicted by perceived ease of use through the indirect effect of argument quality. Furthermore, it is also found that purchase intention is affected by perceived ease of use, followed by perceived usefulness through attitude towards the purchase.
This research is limited to the Iranian mobile apps market. Future studies on viral marketing in app markets should collect data from multiple industries and multiple countries in order to achieve a more comprehensive perspective on the effects and consequences of viral advertising. Furthermore, rather than social networks, similar research can be conducted on different communication channels of the internet such as blogs, e-mails, chat rooms, online communities, discussion boards, corporate websites, e-commerce and social commerce websites (e.g. Amazon). It is also suggested that the conceptual model of the research can be extended considering other useful factors on purchase intentions than attitude (e.g. subjective norms and perceived behavioural control). Furthermore, future research should consider the role of mobile apps features in forming purchase intentions.
For the firms that develop mobile applications (particularly in Iran’s app market), increasing sales requires exploiting social media viral marketing to effectively change potential customers’ perceptions about usefulness and ease of use of their products. The findings suggest that a viral marketing strategy should be developed with high argument quality, followed by high source credibility and a large amount of information on social media.
This is one of the earliest studies investigating the viral effects of social networks on purchase intention in the mobile applications context. Although very few papers practically recognised the impact of viral marketing on purchase intention, the effect of this concept on mobile applications purchase intention had remained unknown.
Hendijani Fard, M. and Marvi, R. (2019), "Viral marketing and purchase intentions of mobile applications users", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOEM-06-2018-0291Download as .RIS
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