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Whose Post Is It? Predicting E-cigarette Brand from Social Media Posts

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Objectives: E-cigarette advertisers know that 76% of youth use social media, yet little is known about the nature of e-cigarette advertising on social media most favored by youth. We utilized text-mining to characterize e-cigarette advertising and marketing messages from image-focused social media brand sites, and to construct and test an algorithm for predicting brand from brand-generated social media posts. Methods: Data comprised 5022 unique posts accompanied by an image from Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest e-cigarette brand pages for Blu, Logic, Metro, and NJOY from February 2012 to April 2015. Text-tokenization was used to quantify text for use as predictors in analyses. Results: Blu had the largest social media presence (65%), followed by Logic (16%), NJOY (12%) and Metro (7%). Blu's average post length was significantly shorter than all other brands. Words most commonly used in posts differed by brand. Regression analyses successfully differentiated Blu and NJOY brands from other brands. Conclusions: Analyses revealed e-cigarette brands used different types of messages to appeal to social media users. Whereas words used by Blu and NJOY sold a "lifestyle," words used by Logic and Metro relied on device and product identification.
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Keywords: E-CIGARETTE BRANDS; MARKETING; SOCIAL MEDIA; TEXT ANALYTICS; TEXT-MINING; TEXT-TOKENIZATION; YOUTH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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