Public Referral, Viral Campaign, and Celebrity Participation: A Social Network Analysis of the Ice Bucket Challenge on YouTube

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Public referral is a viral campaign strategy that takes advantage of the existence of networked culture in social media. The 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge is an exemplary instance of a public referral–based campaign, the success of which can be partly attributed to the voluntary engagement of celebrity communities. This study views celebrities as social actors and explores the ways in which celebrities’ public referral networks grew during the Ice Bucket Challenge. Findings suggest that celebrities engaged in the campaign based on restrictive social networking rules. Also, the referral network grew through homophily, wherein sociodemographic similarities played an important role in celebrities’ referral decision making. This article contends that understanding whom people select to pass along the campaign message should be as important as understanding why people share the message.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interactive Advertising
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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VIP
Electric network analysis
network analysis
Ice
social network
campaign
participation
Decision making
social actor
social media
networking
Social network analysis
Celebrity
Participation
Referral
decision making
community

Keywords

  • celebrity sponsorship
  • electronic word of mouth
  • homophily
  • Ice Bucket Challenge
  • public referral
  • social media campaign
  • social network analysis
  • Viral campaign

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Communication

Cite this

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abstract = "Public referral is a viral campaign strategy that takes advantage of the existence of networked culture in social media. The 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge is an exemplary instance of a public referral–based campaign, the success of which can be partly attributed to the voluntary engagement of celebrity communities. This study views celebrities as social actors and explores the ways in which celebrities’ public referral networks grew during the Ice Bucket Challenge. Findings suggest that celebrities engaged in the campaign based on restrictive social networking rules. Also, the referral network grew through homophily, wherein sociodemographic similarities played an important role in celebrities’ referral decision making. This article contends that understanding whom people select to pass along the campaign message should be as important as understanding why people share the message.",
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