What Drives Consumers to Pass Along Marketer-Generated eWOM in Social Network Games? Social and Game Factors in Play
Social network games (SNGs) are part of the highly evolving marketing and e-commerce channel of social network sites (SNSs). Marketers in SnGs offer economic incentives of game currency or virtual goods in exchange for consumer interactions with ads, often encouraging consumers to forward marketer-generated messages broadly to social networks. This study investigates factors that lead consumers to engage in these marketer-generated electronic word of mouth (eWOM) behaviors. Social factors, and game factors with intrinsic and extrinsic benefits, are studied within extensions of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). Survey data from 158 participants who play games on Facebook were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Normative influence positively impacted eWOM behaviors of opinion passing, or forwarding the message, and opinion giving, which is a persuasion attempt. Game enjoyment negatively influenced opinion passing, and economic incentive positively impacted both eWOM behaviors. Opinion passing significantly enhanced attitudes toward advertising, which in turn, positively influenced brand attitudes. Outcomes suggest marketers may increase brand awareness among eWOM senders through campaigns in SNGs, resulting from enhanced positive attitudes toward SNG advertising. However, applicable to SNGs and other games with advertising, marketers must balance appeal of economic incentives with low disruption to play experiences.