The usage and advertising effects of social media in China

Li Chuan Evelyn Mai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The aims of this research are to understand the usage of social media among the young people in China, and to investigate how the users respond to advertising on social media and to analyse the effects of advertising on social media. A survey was conducted among young internet users aged 18-32 with different occupations in China. A snowball sampling technique was adopted to access the respondents. The results show that social media is broadly used by young people in China, mainly to stay in contact with friends, and obtain information. Most of respondents notice the advertisements on social media; over half of respondents pay special attention to specific brands and their webpage and sometimes forward, share the information, or recommend those brands or products. Recommendations generated from peers of social networking would strengthen products or brands interests, and affect respondents’ consumption intentions. However, a high proportion of the respondents disagreed that the products shown in social media are more appealing. The specific case of the brand "NCL’ is used to examine the advertising effects in this research. The results show online advertisement might have drawn more than half of the internet users’ attentions on the brand image, but majority of the respondents have never clicked on the advertisement. Only a very small number of respondents have forwarded VANCL’s brand and product information to other members on their social media. A quarter of respondents, through social media word-of-mouth, understand the brand before their purchase. In other words, although online advertising is a general channel for communicating brand image, the word-of-mouth of the social media has an impact on the customer recognitions of the products and their behaviours. The results indicate that advertising on social media becomes one of the branding tools that appeal to some of the internet users, and strengthen brands or products images, but word-of-mouth may affect purchase behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Social Media Management
Subtitle of host publicationValue Chain and Business Models in Changing Media Markets
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783642288975
ISBN (Print)9783642288968
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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