Marketing science is far behind concerning social media topics

Today, I came across a nice study on how social media research developed over the last 15 years. In their latest paper “Social Media Research in Advertising, Communication, Marketing, and Public Relations” Khang, Ki, and Ye brought together all scientific social media publications from 1997-2010 from four research disciplines:
- Advertising,
- Communication,
- Marketing, and
- Public Relations.

Unsurprisingly, social media publications increased when the larger social networks evolved:

More astonishing is the fact that social media seemed to be primarily a communications topic so far. Marketing and advertising publications (only 67 out of 436!!!) were rather rare, as this table indicates:

To me, this is a relatively sad snapshot of our discipline. Shouldn’t marketing science actually always be one step ahead of marketing practice? Shouldn’t we come up with ideas to form tomorrows markets rather than running behind mass-phenomena of today’s markets?


Author: Jonas



  1. Jonas,

    interesting insights indeed. The one aspect I don’t agree with you us that these numbers should make us sad — good academic marketing journals require a two to three years turnaround of new papers and ideas (from initial idea to final publication), so that, given the recency of the phenomenon under scrutiny itself, it seems quite intuitive that relatively few top-level papers have come out by now.

    One might consider this long turnaround time a problem, considering the high dynamics of social media — I agree, but only for studies on very specific issues. Instead of trying to compete with commercial researchers (which do not “suffer” from our rigorous quality control mechanisms such as peer-reviews which really slow down things), we must focus on the “big” topics — the general mechanisms that fuel social media and the fundamental implications it has for managing organizations. Such findings will justify a long research process and can make an important contribution when they eventually come out.


    • True, good research needs time and good publications, too. Still, the communications discipline seems to have started much earlier with its social media-research projects as 335 communications publications vs. 67 marketing and advertising publications indicate.


  2. Hi Jonas, I’ve come across this article in my university’s e-journal at Universiti Utara Malaysia. Unfortunately, there are no full text. Could you share the article … I really need it for my study. Thank you.

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