The purpose of this paper is to study the responses of young consumers to suspected covert and overt product-brand recommendations in a blog.
Experimental design was applied to investigate the effect of covert and overt marketing on young consumers’ perceptions of blogger credibility and their behavioural intentions.
Overt marketing had a negative effect on behavioural intentions, such as future interest in the blogger, intention to engage in word-of-mouth, and purchase intention. Covert marketing did not affect the intended behaviour. Neither covert nor overt marketing influenced the blogger’s credibility.
The study was delimited to a small sample; one blog, one type of product recommendation, and a well-known brand. Young, well-educated consumers with experience in reading blogs may be able to filter the brand recommendations and focus on the content of the blog.
This study has implications for bloggers, companies, and policy makers. Although overt marketing is the most open and the recommended form of blog marketing, the study showed that overt marketing has negative effects. Therefore, bloggers need to carefully consider how they present a sponsorship.
The study makes three important contributions. First, it answers the call for research on consumer reactions to covert (deceptive) and overt marketing tactics. Second, it contributes to blog marketing research by studying a case of suspected covert marketing where consumers do not know whether the blog is sponsored or not. Third, the study contributes to knowledge around young consumers, demonstrating that covert and overt tactics do not affect blogger credibility.
The authors acknowledge the valuable comments and suggestions from the Editor and two anonymous reviewers, as well as the language editing performed by Ilari Welling, all of whom helped to improve the manuscript.
Liljander, V., Gummerus, J. and Söderlund, M. (2015), "Young consumers’ responses to suspected covert and overt blog marketing", Internet Research, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 610-632. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-02-2014-0041Download as .RIS
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