Marketing Applications of Social Tagging Networks
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This dissertation focuses on marketing applications of social tagging networks. Social tagging is a new way to share and categorize content, allowing users to express their perceptions and feelings with respect to concepts such as brands and firms with their own keywords, “tags.” The associative information in social tagging networks provides marketers with a rich source of information reflecting consumers’ mental representations of a brand/firm/product. The first essay presents a methodology to create “social tag maps,” brand associative networks derived from social tags. The proposed approach reflects a significant improvement towards understanding brand associations compared to conventional techniques (e.g., brand concept maps and recent text mining techniques), and helps marketers to track real-time updates in a brand’s associative network and dynamically visualize the relative competitive position of their brand. The second essay investigates how information contained in social tags acts as proxy measures of brand assets that track and predict the financial valuation of firms using the data collected from a social bookmarking website, del.icio.us, for 61 firms across 16 industries. The results suggest that brand asset metrics based on social tags explain stock return. Specifically, an increase in social attention and connectedness to competitors is shown to be positively related to stock return for less prominent brands, while for prominent brands associative uniqueness and evaluation valence is found to be more significantly related to stock return. The findings suggest to marketing practitioners a new way to proactively improve brand assets for impacting a firm’s financial performance. The third essay investigates whether the position of products on social tagging networks can predict sales dynamics. We find that (1) books in long tail can increase sales by being strongly linked to well-known keywords with high degree centrality and (2) top sellers can be better sellers by creating dense content clusters rather than connecting them to well-known keywords with high degree centrality. Our findings suggest that marketing managers better understand a user community’s perception of products and potentially influence product sales by taking into account the positioning of their products within social tagging networks.