Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

New Product Adoption in Social Networks: Why Direction Matters

Schulze, Christian
Takac, Carsten
Volume: 67
Number: 1
Pages: 2836 - 2844
ISSN-Print: 0148-2963
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2014
Keywords: Transformational leadership; Individual differentiation; Group identification; Creative behavior; OCB; Social identity theory

Marketing managers and researchers generally agree that analyzing data from social networks and using them to influence consumers' purchase decisions are useful strategies. However, not all social network data may identify the most influential customers. This empirical study of more than 300 students reveals the low explanatory power of friendship networks (e.g., Facebook) and undirected-advice networks (e.g., LinkedIn). Only directed-advice networks (e.g., Google +) clearly identify influential consumers. In addition, the results challenge conventional wisdom that firms should target advisers assuming that they have the strongest influence on new product adoption. This study contradicts this common assumption and reveals that structural equivalence drives product adoption more than cohesion because advisees' adoption pressures advisers to purchase the product as well. Finally, the study shows the value of social network data beyond the traditional ego-centric psychographic metrics, such as innovativeness or opinion leadership.