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Making your online voice loud: the critical role of WOM information

Minxue Huang (Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan, People's Republic of China)
Fengyan Cai (Marketing Department, Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China)
Alex S.L. Tsang (Department of Marketing, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Nan Zhou (Department of Marketing, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 26 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore factors that can help generate a bigger ripple for diffusive Word‐of‐Mouth (WOM) in an online environment. Specifically, the paper aims to demonstrate how the characteristics of WOM information influence the ripple effect.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper used a survey based on real posts in online discussion forums to collect the data. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was utilized for analysis.

Findings

WOM as diffusive communication could generate a ripple effect. All of the WOM characteristics, which were investigated (quality, authority, authenticity and interestingness), have a positive effect on resenders' acceptance toward WOM, which, in turn, have a significant positive impact on resenders' resending intention. Furthermore, the positive impacts of WOM characteristics on resenders' acceptance exist, regardless of whether the valence of WOM information is positive or negative.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides insights into the role of WOM information in facilitating the WOM ripple effect. However, the specific characteristics of WOM information that influence consumers' perceptions of WOM are not explored in the present research.

Originality/value

The results of the study may help practitioners manipulate and use online WOM information in order to make marketing communications more efficient and influential.

Keywords

Citation

Huang, M., Cai, F., Tsang, A.S.L. and Zhou, N. (2011), "Making your online voice loud: the critical role of WOM information", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45 No. 7/8, pp. 1277-1297. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561111137714

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited