– The purpose of this paper is to improve the understanding of how different forms of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) and simultaneous marketing communications (MC), two crucial components of relationship marketing, affect consumer persuasion when presented in a business-to-customer (B2C)-sponsored vs a customer-to-customer (C2C)-sponsored social network site (SNS). A concise typology of eWOM is also proposed.
– An experiment involving different social network movie sites was conducted testing the effects of different eWOM along with a comparison to MC on consumers’ interest in, and likelihood to watch movie DVDs.
– The empirical results showed that not all eWOM types have the same persuasiveness and community sponsorship as a source credibility cue is more influential from a C2C-sponsored SNS than from a B2C one, particularly for many-to-one eWOM communications.
– Future research should include both positive and negative types of eWOM using different product categories to increase the generalizability of the results.
– Not all eWOM types are created equal, and thus, SNS sponsorship can lead to source bias and affect the persuasiveness of eWOM embedded in SNSs. The results also imply that not all positive word-of-mouth has a more positive effect than MC.
– The approach of measuring two forms of communications simultaneously adds to the much-needed integrative approach of studying the simultaneous delivery of MC and WOM and provides a more nuanced view of persuasion knowledge.