Despite the expected value of online customer reviews as an emerging advertising medium, the manner of enforcing its effectiveness on customers’ purchase behavior is still a question not well answered. To address the question, we propose a new central route cue called “advertising appeal” to examine attitude and intention to purchase a product or service based on the reasoning of the elaboration likelihood model. We also propose that consumers’ consumption goal and attitude certainty separately moderate the advertising appeal effect on purchase intention through a degree of favorable attitude. We test these hypotheses by conducting a laboratory experiment with 50 participants. In this experiment, we manipulate two kinds of advertising appeals and consumption goals. This study demonstrates that attribute-based appeal reviews are more influential than emotion-based appeal reviews in the persuasion process, regardless of the individuals’ consumption goals. However, the advertising appeal effect on purchase intention is more pronounced for hedonic consumers than for utilitarian consumers.
Li, Jing; Ngai, E. W. T.; and Xu, Xin, "Is a Positive Review Always Effective? Advertising Appeal Effect in the Persuasion of Online Customer Reviews" (2015). PACIS 2015 Proceedings. 164.