Perceived Helpfulness of Online Consumer Reviews: The Role of Message Content and Style

38 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2010 Last revised: 12 Apr 2012

See all articles by Robert M SCHINDLER

Robert M SCHINDLER

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Camden

Barbara A. Bickart

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

Date Written: November 1, 2010

Abstract

The rise of online reviews written by consumers makes possible an examination of how the content and style of these word-of-mouth messages contribute to their helpfulness. In this study, consumers are asked to judge the value of real online consumer reviews to their simulated shopping activities. The results suggest the benefits of moderate review length and of positive, but not negative, product evaluative statements. Non-evaluative product information and information about the reviewer were also found to be associated with review helpfulness. Stylistic elements that may impair clarity (such as spelling and grammatical errors) were associated with less valuable reviews, and elements that may make a review more entertaining (such as expressive slang and humor) were associated with more valuable reviews. These findings point to factors other than product information that may affect the perceived helpfulness of an online consumer review.

Keywords: Word-of-Mouth Communication, Online Marketing, Consumer Information Search, Consumer Review, Consumer Behavior

Suggested Citation

SCHINDLER, Robert M and Bickart, Barbara A., Perceived Helpfulness of Online Consumer Reviews: The Role of Message Content and Style (November 1, 2010). Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 2012; Boston U. School of Management Research Paper No. 2010-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1701043 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1701043

Robert M SCHINDLER (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Camden ( email )

Camden, NJ 08102
United States

Barbara A. Bickart

Boston University, Questrom School of Business ( email )

United States
617-353-3458 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://smgnet.bu.edu/mgmt_new/profiles/BickartBarbara.html

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