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Abstract

This paper discusses two trends that threaten to undermine the effectiveness of online social marketing interventions: growing mistrust and competition. As a solution, this paper examines the relationships between Web site credibility, target audiences’ active trust and behaviour. Using structural equation modelling to evaluate two credibility models, this study concludes that Web site credibility is best considered a three-dimensional construct composed of expertise, trustworthiness and visual appeal, and that trust plays a partial mediating role between Web site credibility and behavioural impacts. The paper examines theoretical implications of conceptualizing Web sites according to a human credibility model, and factoring trust into Internet-based behavioural change interventions. Practical guidelines suggest ways to address these findings when planning online social marketing interventions.

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