Social media and consumer choice

Fred Bronner*, Robert de Hoog

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Social media are becoming increasingly important for consumer decisions. This holds true in particular for vacation decision-making, as an example of a high-involvement decision. The research focuses upon the relation between the information people search regarding aspects or properties of choice options and the types of social media used for finding it. The social media classification framework used is based on two dimensions: first, domain-specific social media versus domain-independent social media; second, large opportunities for self-disclosure versus limited or no opportunities for self-disclosure. Based on this framework, predictions are made about the relation between social media used and information sought. It was found that domain-specific social media with limited opportunities for self-disclosure, like Tripadvisor, are more frequently used for search-determined sub-decisions than for experience-determined sub-decisions. For domain-independent social media with large opportunities for self-disclosure, like Twitter and Facebook, it was found that they are used with equal frequency for both types of sub-decision. These findings are relevant for multichannel management in marketing. As regards the valence of the information obtained from different social media, we found a preponderant use of positive/mixed messages and comments, and almost no use of negative information. A practical implication of this finding is that ‘webcare’ should be focused less on complaints and more on leveraging positive aspects that are reported in social media for choices that have comparable characteristics, such as vacations. If a relatively large number of aspects play a role in a product choice process, tracking and use of positive information should be emphasised, while negative experiences should be more important for products characterised by a very limited number of relevant product choice aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-71
Number of pages21
JournalInternational journal of market research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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