How Interest Shapes Word-of-Mouth Over Different Channels

40 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2012

See all articles by Jonah A. Berger

Jonah A. Berger

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Raghuram Iyengar

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Date Written: February 29, 2012

Abstract

Consumers share word-of-mouth face-to-face, online, and through various other channels. But do these channels affect what people talk about, and if so, how? Analysis of over 21,000 conversations, as well as a laboratory experiment, demonstrate that conversation channel continuity norms shape what gets discussed. In discontinuous conversation channels (e.g., online posts or text), pauses between conversational turns are expected, so people have time to select and craft what they say. Consequently, more interesting products should be talked about more than boring ones. In channels where conversations are expected to occur more continuously (e.g.,face-to-face or on the phone), however, there is less time to selectively pick what one talks about. Consequently, how interesting products are to talk about should have less of an impact on whether they get discussed. These findings shed light on what drives word-of-mouth and how companies can design effective word-of-mouth campaigns.

Keywords: word of mouth, online, offline

Suggested Citation

Berger, Jonah A. and Iyengar, Raghuram, How Interest Shapes Word-of-Mouth Over Different Channels (February 29, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2013141 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2013141

Jonah A. Berger (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Raghuram Iyengar

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

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