Driving Factors for Opinion Diffusion Behavior in Consumers on Online Social Networks: A Study of Network Characteristics
Online consumer social networks have become an important marketing channel for productrelated information diffusion in the technological landscape. This paper aims to identify the factors that drive opinion diffusion behavior in consumers on online social networks. To empirically test the theoretically driven hypotheses, the study uses firsthand survey responses from 614 respondents based in two major cities in China: Shenzhen, an eastern city, and Xi'an, a western city. A survey of online
... ing consumers shows that both network heterogeneity and network influence have a positive impact on consumers' level of online opinion leadership and online opinion seeking behavior. However, network acquaintance has an insignificant impact on the level of opinion diffusion. Furthermore, online opinion diffusion has a positive impact on behavioral consequence, which has two dimensions: online forwarding and online communication. An online opinion leader is more likely to forward and communicate information than an online opinion seeker. Multiple-group analysis indicates that gender and city moderate the effect of opinion diffusion. Theoretically, this paper makes several contributions to marketing literature, particularly from a social networking perspective. The results from this study can help online retailers and social network service providers utilize consumer networks to improve online opinion diffusion. Within social networking literature, this is a unique attempt to explore the factors driving opinion diffusion behavior in consumers' online social networks. INDEX TERMS Social network services, diffusion processes, consumer behavior, communication networks.