Comparing Word-of-Mouth (WOM) and Viral Marketing: Behavior Analysis of Consumer Consumption, Information Traits, and Credibility

Chulhwan Choi


The way consumers collect information before making a purchase has a significant effect on their decision. Today, the widespread use of the Internet and smartphones has enabled consumers to collect extensive information via viral marketing. This study aimed to compare word-of-mouth (WOM) and viral marketing strategies on consumption patterns, information traits, and credibility. On/offline surveys were distributed to adults over 20 in Republic of Korea. The final analysis was conducted on data from 269 consumers who had purchased sporting goods based on information in the form of WOM or viral marketing. SPSS 23.0 was used to conduct a statistical analysis (scale validity, reliability, and Multivariate analysis of variance) of the data collected. As a result, in consumption patterns, the viral marketing group showed conspicuous, conformity, and impulsive consumption patterns, while the WOM marketing group showed economical consumption patterns. In terms of purchase information traits, while viral marketing information showed relatively high equivalence and timeliness, WOM marketing information showed high neutrality. Finally, consumers perceived WOM marketing as more credible. This study provides objective data to enable practitioners to better understand which approach will be a suitable strategy based on their product and target market. It can serve as a reference, as it specifically analyzes each marketing strategy against the backdrop of today's unlimited information. 


Keywords: viral marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, consumption patterns, information traits, credibility.




Full Text:



ANTHEUNIS, M.L., & REIJMERSDAL, E.A. (2012). Social connections and the persuasiveness of viral campaigns in social network sites: Persuasive intent as the underlying mechanism. Journal of Marketing, 18(1), 39-53.

BELK, R. (2014). You are what you can access: Sharing and collaborative consumption online. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), 1595-1600.

BERISHA-NAMANI, M. (2013). Information technology, internet, and marketing. International Journal of Electronic Commerce Studies, 4(1), 103-110.

CHEN, C., GONG, X., LEE, M.K.O., ZHANG, K.Z.K., ZHAO, S.J., & LINAG, L. (2017). Examining the effects of motives and gender differences on smartphone addiction. Computers in Human Behavior, 75, 891-902.

CHEN, Z. (2017). Social acceptance and word of mouth: How the motive to belong leads to divergent WOM with strangers and friends. Journal of Consumer and Research, 44(3), 613-632.

FERGUSON, R. (2008). Word of mouth and viral marketing: Taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 25(3), 179-182.

FETCHKO, M.J., ROY, D.P., & CLOW, K.E. (2019). Sport Marketing. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

FOX, J., & VENDEMIA, M.A. (2016). Selective self-presentation and social comparison through photographs on social networking sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19(10), 593-600.

GIORGIO, P. (2020). Sports Industry Outlook. Retrieved from

GOLAN, G.J., & ZAIDNER, L. (2008). Creative strategies in viral advertising: An application of Taylor’s six-segment message strategy wheel. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(4), 959-972.

HO, R., & VOGEL, D. (2014). The impact of social networking functionalities on online shopping: an examination of the web’s relative advantage. International Journal of Business Information Systems, 16(1), 25-41.

JUNG, M.Y., & JO, M.N. (2011). The effect of hospitality viral marketing perception on satisfaction after using viral marketing. Journal of Tourism and Leisure Research, 23(3), 359-376.

KIM, H.S. (2018). Restaurant customer’s word of mouth information and structural relationship among trust, purchasing indention, and word of mouth intention: Focused on mediation role of SNS poster’s trait. Doctoral thesis, Sangmyung University.

KO, U.S. (2019). Study on the determinants of cosmeceutical purchasing according to end users’ consumption trends: Beauty interest and cosmeceutical recognition. Doctoral thesis, Seokyung University.

MORTON, F. (2020). Influencer marketing: An exploratory study on the motivations of young adults to follow social media influencers. Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing, 8(2), 156-165. Retrieved from

NUNNALLY, J.C., & BERSTEIN, I.H. (1994). Psychometric Theory. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

PARK, S.C. (2017). Effects of recognition, usage of point of purchase advertisement on purchase intention: Based on the mediating effect of reliability and liking. Master’s thesis, Yonsei University.

RADU, S. (2019). Global smartphone ownership still uneven. Retrieved from

REIMER, T., & BENKENSTEIN, M. (2016). When good WOM hurts and bad WOM gains: The effect of untrustworthy online reviews. Journal of Business Research, 69(12), 5999-6001.

RUST, R.T., & LEMON, K.N. (2014). E-service and the consumer. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 5(3), 85-101.

SHELDON, P., & BRYANT, K. (2016). Instagram: Motives for its use and relationship to narcissism and contextual age. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 89-97.

SHIN, S.M., HWANG, I.A., & MIN, J.Y. (2016). Effect of viral marketing in on-line mall review and power blog self-presentation on mediator variable word of mouth and apparel purchase behavior. The Research Journal of the Costume Culture, 24(5), 600-616.

SHUKLA, P. (2008). Conspicuous consumption among middle age consumers: Psychological and brand antecedents. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 17(1), 25-36.

SON, B.H. (2017). Regulation of viral marketing through the Internet: Focused on Fair Labeling and Advertising Act. Korea Economic Law Association, 16(1), 279-300.

VEBLEN, T. (2005). Conspicuous Consumption, Vol. 38. Penguin UK.

WOOD, L. (2019). $614 Billion Global Market Opportunities & Strategies to 2022. Retrieved from

YUN, E.Y. (2017). Viral marketing tendencies of Chinese internet celebrities marketing. Journal of Communication Design, 60, 263-276.


  • There are currently no refbacks.