Consumer Adoption of Mobile eWOM Messages

Consumer Adoption of Mobile eWOM Messages

Akinori Ono (Keio University, Japan) and Mai Kikumori (Keio University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch014


As mobile phones become more widely utilized, mobile-based electronic word-of-mouth (mWOM) on products and services is becoming an increasingly important factor in consumer behavior, as well as marketing communication. Regarding this issue, marketing and consumer scholars have conducted research on mWOM message-senders and recipients. Focusing on mWOM receiving behavior, this article presents academic knowledge regarding how recipients evaluate mobile eWOM messages and how they behaves as a result. Two streams can be identified in this research area: 1), mobile viral messages from marketers via friends and relatives, and 2) mWOM reviews on products and services from anonymous senders. The former can be further divided into two streams: a) research that has constructed and tested causal models explaining why consumers participate in mobile viral marketing, and b) research that has focused on illustrating comprehensively a multi-stage cognitive and behavioral customer journey towards receiving, using, and forwarding mobile viral marketing messages.
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In marketing and consumer studies, word of mouth (WOM) is one of the most fascinating topics for scholars and practitioners. WOM is defined as oral, person-to-person communication between a communicator and a recipient who perceives the respective message as non-commercial although the subject is a brand, product, or service (Arndt, 1967, p. 3). Previous studies on WOM have found that WOM has a great impact on consumers’ attitude formation, purchase decisions, and even post-usage perceptions of a product/service (e.g., Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955; Brown & Reingen, 1987; Herr, Kardes, & Kim, 1991; Bone, 1995).

Since the early 1990s, with the advent of the Internet, electronic word of mouth (eWOM) has become increasingly important (Bickart & Schindker, 2001; Godes & Mayzlin, 2004). Consumers increasingly communicate product information to other consumers via new media such as e-mail, community sites, review sites, social networking sites, blogs, online discussion forums, and news groups (e.g., Goldsmith, 2006; Okazaki, 2008). Many scholars have found that such eWOM messages have a great impact on consumers’ purchase decision making (Chung, Lee, & Rabjon, 2008; Park & Kim, 2008; Schlosser, 2011; Sen & Lerman, 2007).

With the rapid growth of mobile phone ownership, an increasing number of consumers can send and receive product information through their wireless messaging service on their mobile phones (cf. Shen, Wang, & Xiang, 2013). Communication via mobile phones in the form of e-mail, SMS, and text messages via mobile Internet access has the unique characteristic of ubiquitous connectivity, which enables consumers to exchange information anytime and anywhere (Lee, 2005; Okazaki, 2008). As a result, mobile-based electronic word of mouth (mWOM) has been regarded as an important mobile marketing tool to offer consumers context-sensitivity and time-critical recommendations (Okazaki, 2009).

As the growing importance of mWOM has been recognized, mobile viral marketing has become more popular. Mobile viral marketing is defined as the distribution or communication that relies on consumers to transmit content via mobile communication techniques and mobile devices to other potential consumers in their social sphere and to animate these contacts to also transmit the content (Wiedemann, 2007, p. 53). Because mobile viral messages from friends and relatives might be perceived to be more credible than marketer-generated promotional messages via mobile phones (Wiedemann, Haunstetter, & Pousttchi, 2008), more marketing practitioners are starting to utilize mobile-based viral marketing and, in turn, marketing scholars are starting to investigate mWOM message senders and recipients in the context of viral marketing.

Because pioneers in mWOM research focused on viral marketing, a number of scholars have shed light on how recipients of mobile viral messages from marketers via friends and relatives evaluate and use the messages (Okazaki, 2008; Wiedemann, Palka, & Pousttchi, 2008; Palka, Pousttchi, & Wiedemann, 2009; Pescher, 2014). Other scholars, following the research on non-mobile eWOM, have focussed on how recipients of anonymous mWOM message senders evaluate and adopt the reviews (Shen, et al., 2013; Wang, Shen, & Sun, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Consumer Referral Behavior: Consumer referral behavior means that consumers send mWOM messages to friends or acquaintances especially under a viral marketing campaign.

Consumer Intention to Adopt mWOM Messages: Consumer intention to adopt mWOM messages refers to the degree to which consumers intend to closely follow mWOM messages and be motivated to take action.

Word-of-Mouth (WOM): Word-of-mouth is defined as oral, person-to-person communication between a communicator and a recipient who perceives the respective message as non-commercial although the subject is a brand, product, or service ( Arndt, 1967 , p.3).

Consumer Evaluation on mWOM Messages: Consumer evaluation on mWOM messages means that consumers evaluate the perceived desirability of receiving, using, and forwarding the mWOM messages.

Mobile Electronic Word-of-Mouth (mWOM): Mobile electronic word-of-mouth refers to WOM via mobile phones in the form of e-mail, SMS, and text messages via mobile Internet access.

Mobile-Based eWOM Service: Mobile-based eWOM services refer to consumer services to provide online consumers with a platform to share their shopping experience through online communications with mobile devices (Gruen, Osmonbekov, and Czaplewski, 2006 AU23: The in-text citation "Gruen, Osmonbekov, and Czaplewski, 2006" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Mobile Viral Marketing: Mobile viral marketing is the transmission of advertising in the form of consumer referral of promoted content with mobile devices.

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