Netnography and a Summative Content Analysis Approach to Market Research


Netnography and a Summative Content Analysis Approach to Market Research


Alan Shaw

Classification JEL

C90, D83, M30, O30.


With organisations like Facebook restricting how their application programming interface (API) can be used and scholars questioning the legality and ethics of web scrapping (i.e., the use of technology in the automatic extraction of data from the Web) more discussions around a qualitative Netnographic approach is needed. This paper addresses these issues by reflecting on the application of a passive summative content analysis method to Netnography and how it can be used in marketing research. It focuses on the rollout of smart meters (meters that allow consumers and service providers to monitor power consumption), which the UK Government has now delayed because of a poor uptake. As such, it contributes to the marketing domain’s theory and knowledge and provides a possible set of solutions that the UK Government and energy providers could consider to increase engagement. The study starts by providing an overview of the literature within Netnography and its use as a qualitative methodology. It then demonstrates, step by step, how a summative content analysis approach can be applied to Netnography, using NVivo as the platform of analysis. The case study utilises Mumsnet (UK’s biggest network for parents, with approximately 10 million unique visitors and 100 million-page views per month) as the forum for analysis. Threads over a six-month period were considered. The key themes identified can be explained as: smart meters were not transferable between energy providers; users were concerned about being hacked; the connecting signals did not always work; and such meters were not compulsory. The study demonstrates how effective and efficient Netnography can be in market research. It also provides some clear guidance on how copyright issues should be addressed.


Netnography, Summative content analysis, Market Research, Smart meters.

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Please cite this article as: etimm (2020) Netnography and a Summative Content Analysis Approach to Market Research. Journal of Emerging Trends in Marketing and Management.