Mobile Phone Purchasing and Brand Presence on Facebook

Mobile Phone Purchasing and Brand Presence on Facebook

Barry Ardley, Jialin Hardwick, Lauriane Delarue, Nick Taylor
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7116-2.ch035
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Focusing on the mobile phones sector, this study explores how the social networking site ‘Facebook' is used by consumers in their purchasing. Although there is extensive work on the influences on the buying decision process relevant to mobile phone purchasing, it is mainly set outside of a social media context. This paper assists in filling a gap in contemporary research, revealing the presence of different behavioural segments on Facebook. The authors analyse the consumer decision sequence in response to the notion of ‘brand presence', manifested through online advertising, fan and group pages. The approach is interpretative. The study is based on young professional user's experiences, collected through semi-structured individual and focus group interviews. The findings show that Facebook fan pages are shown to have a degree of influence, particularly in the early stages of buying behaviour. In this context, five novel behavioural segments of consumer interactions with Smartphone brands on Facebook have been identified by the research. These are the Avoider, the Suspicious, the Passive, the Receptive, and the Active. Future research of cross comparative studies could be taken on the issues the authors examine and consider them in relation to not only Facebook, but additionally, to other social network sites. Companies could utilise the findings in the future development of social media strategy. The research highlights the socially networked and collective nature of much activity on Facebook, which impacts on the consumer decision-making process for mobile phones.
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Social network sites (SNS) represent an important and relatively new category of influence for firms (Boyd and Ellison, 2008; McLaughlin and Lee, 2011; Narayanan and Shmatikov, 2009). Social network sites allow customers to create profiles, connect with people and to share interests, opinions and other content (Boyd and Ellison, 2008; Trusov et al., 2009). From this, two important marketing factors emerge. Firstly, as Narayanan and Shmatikov (2009) point out, a key reason why social networking platforms have attracted businesses is that they can provide personalised and targeted advertising platforms. Additionally, electronic word of mouth (ewom) marketing represents an effective promotional technique, capable of influencing purchasing (Trusov et al., 2009). Concurrently, a new prolific stream of studies has developed, focussing on the effects of online advertising on the consumer buying decision (Al-Alak and Alnawas, 2010; Sathish, 2011; Li and Leckenby, 2004; Poyry et al., 2013; Yousif, 2012). In terms of ewom, a social network site like Facebook - the most popular SNS site in the world (TNW, 2013) - has the ability to generate considerable impact when products are reviewed and ‘liked’ by consumers. Other consumers see this, alongside any sponsored advertising the company may undertake on the same site. (Tsimonis and Dimitriadi, 2014). To date, whilst it is clear that mobile phone companies have a presence on Facebook, there has been very little empirical work carried out on the impact of this medium on purchasing, particularly in relation to young professionals. In addition, significantly, a review of the literature shows that although there is extensive work on influences on the buying decision process relevant to mobile phone purchasing, it is often set outside of the SNS context.

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