Toronto Metropolitan University
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Social media marketing: who is watching the watchers?

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posted on 2024-03-25, 18:04 authored by Jenna JacobsonJenna Jacobson, Anatoliy GruzdAnatoliy Gruzd, Angel Hernandez-Garcia
The ready access to and availability of social media has opened up a wealth of data that marketers are leveraging for strategic insight and digital marketing. Yet there is a lack of professional norms regarding the use of social media in marketing and a gap in understanding consumers’ comfort with marketers’ use of their social media data. This study analyzes a census-balanced sample of online adults (n=751) to identify consumers’ perceptions of using social media data for marketing purposes. The research finds that consumers’ perceived risks and benefits of using social media have a relationship with their comfort with marketers using their publicly available social media data. The research extends the applicability of communication privacy management theory to social media and introduces marketing comfort—a new construct of high importance for future marketing research. Marketing comfort refers to an individual’s comfort with the use of information posted publicly on social media for targeted advertising, customer relations, and opinion mining. In the context of the construct development, we find that targeted advertising is the strongest contributing component to marketing comfort, relative to the other two dimensions: opinion mining and customer relations. By understanding what drives consumer comfort with this emerging marketing practice, the research proposes strategies for marketers that can support and mitigate consumers’ concerns so that consumers can maintain trust in marketers’ digital practice




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