Advertising to Early Trend Propagators: Evidence from Twitter

65 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2014 Last revised: 29 Mar 2017

See all articles by Anja Lambrecht

Anja Lambrecht

London Business School

Catherine E. Tucker

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS)

Caroline Wiertz

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School

Date Written: March 28, 2017

Abstract

In the digital economy, influencing and controlling the spread of information is a key concern for firms. One way firms try to achieve this is to target firm communications to consumers who embrace and propagate the spread of new information on emerging and `trending' topics on social media. However, little is known about whether early trend propagators are indeed responsive to firm-sponsored messages. To explore whether early propagators of trending topics respond to advertising messages, we use data from two field tests conducted by a charity and an emerging fashion firm on the micro-blogging service Twitter. On Twitter, 'promoted tweets' allow advertisers to target individuals based on the content of their recent postings. Twitter continuously identifies in real time which topics are newly popular among Twitter users. In the field tests, we collaborated with a charity and a fashion firm to target ads at consumers who embraced a Twitter trend early in its life-cycle by posting about it, and compared their behavior to that of consumers who posted about the same topic only later on. Throughout both field tests, we consistently find that early propagators of trends are less responsive to advertising than consumers who embrace trends later.

Keywords: Online Advertising, Targeting, Twitter, User-Generated Content, Internet, Reactance

JEL Classification: M3, M31, M37

Suggested Citation

Lambrecht, Anja and Tucker, Catherine E. and Wiertz, Caroline, Advertising to Early Trend Propagators: Evidence from Twitter (March 28, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2419743 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2419743

Anja Lambrecht (Contact Author)

London Business School ( email )

Regent's Park
London, NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Catherine E. Tucker

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS) ( email )

100 Main St
E62-536
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cetucker.scripts.mit.edu

Caroline Wiertz

City University London - Sir John Cass Business School ( email )

106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom

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