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The 2014 Yale Customer Insights Conference

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Yale School of Management, United States


How do consumers choose to post their brand reviews online? Whereas prior research examines what people say online, we investigate where consumers post their brand-related consumption experience on an online discussion forum. Using the framework of the Persuasion Knowledge Model, we suggest that consumers act as intuitive media planners to assess the extent to which they can reach their specific goals when targeting online audiences. Specifically, we examine the effects of posters' motives, message valence, and audience similarity on posting behavior. We propose and find that persuasion-motivated consumers focus on whether the message is effective in generating interest and emotion from the audience; therefore, they are more likely to post positive messages on a brand-general forum, such as a product forum, and negative messages on a brand-specific forum. In contrast, affiliation-motivated posters primarily focus on audience similarity, preferring to post on a forum where they perceive the audience as similar to them. Three experiments show the different posting patterns under the two motives and demonstrate the mediating role of message effectiveness under a persuasion motive.

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Copyright © 2014 Yale School of Management

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Recommended Citation

Hamilton, R., Schlosser, A., & Chen, Y.-J. (2014). Who's driving this conversation? Systematic biases in the content of online consumer discussions. Paper presented at the 2014 Yale Customer Insights Conference, New Haven, Connecticut.

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