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The dilemma of social commerce: Why customers avoid peer-generated advertisements in mobile social networks

Xiaodong Li (School of Management and Engineering, Anhui Polytechnic University, Wuhu, China) (Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China) (Gamification Group, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
Chuang Wang (School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Yanping Zhang (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 23 March 2020

Issue publication date: 18 May 2020




Due to customers' extensive avoidance behavior, social commerce may be less successful than anticipated. This study investigates the underlying mechanism and antecedents that influence customers' avoidance of peer-generated advertisements.


Based on the general framework of avoidance behavior, we propose a theoretical model for the context of a mobile social network, with tie strength as the user-related factor and violation of shared language, advertisement relevance and information overload as contextual variables. Using survey data collected from 334 customers on WeChat, we empirically examine the research model and hypotheses.


Tie strength and advertisement relevance are negatively associated with avoidance behavior, whereas information overload and violation of shared language have significantly positive effects. Furthermore, tie strength weakens the negative relationship between violation of shared language and avoidance behavior but strengthens the positive relationship between advertisement relevance and avoidance behavior.


The findings extend understanding of advertisement avoidance behavior and can guide practitioners' improvement of advertising efficiency in mobile social networks.



The work was substantially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos 71701002, 71871095, 71601080), the Ministry of Education of China, Humanities and Social Sciences Project (Nos 17YJC630068, 16YJC630113) and Anhui Foreign Visiting and Training Program for Young Talents of Higher Education (gxgwfx2019040).


Li, X., Wang, C. and Zhang, Y. (2020), "The dilemma of social commerce: Why customers avoid peer-generated advertisements in mobile social networks", Internet Research, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 1059-1080.



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