Modeling the relationship between firm and user generated content and the stages of the marketing funnel

Colicev, Anatoli; Kumar, Ashish; O'Connor, Peter

While research has successfully linked social media to separate customer metrics, an in-depth conceptual and empirical understanding of how social media affects the stages of the marketing funnel is currently lacking. We draw on extant theories of consumer information processing and source credibility to conceptually link and contrast the relationships between firm generated content (FGC) dimensions of neutral valence, positive valence and vividness, user generated content (UGC) dimensions of volume and valence and the marketing funnel stages of awareness, consideration, purchase intent and satisfaction. Using daily aggregate brand-level data for 19 brands across seven industries, our analysis shows that UGC dimensions have a stronger relationship with awareness and satisfaction while FGC dimensions are more effective for consideration and purchase intent. Specifically, we observe that FGC vividness has the strongest relationship with consideration and purchase intent, while UGC valence dominates UGC volume for these stages. Our results also show that brands with higher corporate reputation have stronger relationships between dimensions of FGC and the marketing funnel stages. Findings by consumption category show that UGC and FGC dimensions have larger positive relationships with awareness for durables and non-durables, and with consideration, purchase intent, and satisfaction for services. Thus, overall, our study offers critical managerial insights into social media marketing regarding how to leverage both FGC and UGC in managing the marketing funnel and brand reputation.