Exploring the 'Twitter Effect:' An Investigation of the Impact of Microblogging Word of Mouth on Consumers’ Early Adoption of New Products
University of Muenster; Cass Business School, City University London
City University London - Sir John Cass Business School
University of Muenster
March 5, 2012
Microblogging word of mouth (MWOM) through Twitter and similar services constitutes a new type of word-of-mouth communication that combines the real-time and personal influence of traditional (offline) word of mouth (TWOM) with electronic word of mouth’s (EWOM) ability to reach large audiences. MWOM has the potential to increase the speed of dissemination of post-purchase quality evaluations from consumers and thus has been argued to affect early product adoption behaviors. For industries that exploit information asymmetries between producers and consumers when releasing new products, such a “Twitter effect” would threaten existing business models. This study develops a conceptual model of the impact of MWOM on early product adoption, including possible moderating forces, and tests it in the context of the motion picture industry. Studying 105 movies that were widely released in North American theaters between October 2009 and October 2010, and all 4 million MWOM messages about them sent via Twitter on their respective opening weekend, the authors find evidence of the “Twitter effect” and identify boundary conditions. With a matched sample of 105 movies released in the pre-MWOM era, the authors also demonstrate that the spread of quality-related information by consumers through MWOM is indeed the cause of this effect. The authors discuss notable implications for managers of experiential media products and word-of-mouth scholars.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Word of mouth communication, microblogging, Twitter, early adoption, entertainment, motion pictures
JEL Classification: M31, L82working papers series
Date posted: March 5, 2012
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