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Tweeting as a Marketing Tool – Field Experiment in the TV Industry

Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming

Posted: 4 Jul 2014 Last revised: 25 Jan 2017

Shiyang Gong

University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) - Business School

Juanjuan Zhang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Ping Zhao

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Xuping Jiang

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Date Written: January 22, 2017

Abstract

Many businesses today adopt tweeting as a new form of product marketing. However, whether and how tweeting affects product demand remains inconclusive. The authors explore this question using a randomized field experiment on Sina Weibo, the top tweeting website in China. The authors collaborate with a major global media company and examine how the viewing of its TV shows is affected by (1) the media company’s tweets about its shows, and (2) recruited Weibo influentials’ retweets of the company tweets. The authors find that both company tweets and influential retweets increase show viewing, but in different ways. Company tweets directly boost viewing, whereas influential retweets increase viewing if the show tweet is informative. Meanwhile, influential retweets are more effective than company tweets in bringing new Weibo followers to the company, which indirectly increases viewing. The authors discuss recommendations on how to manage tweeting as a marketing tool.

Keywords: tweet; microblog; Weibo; Twitter; social media marketing; social media ROI; field experiment; television

JEL Classification: M31, C93

Suggested Citation

Gong, Shiyang and Zhang, Juanjuan and Zhao, Ping and Jiang, Xuping, Tweeting as a Marketing Tool – Field Experiment in the TV Industry (January 22, 2017). Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2461370

Shiyang Gong

University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) - Business School ( email )

Huixindongjie No.10
Ningyuan 522
Beijing, 100029
China

Juanjuan Zhang (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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

Ping Zhao

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China

Xuping Jiang

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China

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