No Comment?! The Drivers of Reactions to Online Posts in Professional Groups

Journal of Interactive Marketing, Forthcoming

46 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2014 Last revised: 19 Feb 2016

See all articles by Robert P. Rooderkerk

Robert P. Rooderkerk

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Koen Pauwels

Ozyegin University

Date Written: December 30, 2015


Social media has moved beyond personal friendships to professional interactions in high-knowledge industries. In particular, online discussion forums are sponsored by firms aiming to position themselves as thought-leaders, to gain more insight in their customer base and to generate sales leads. However, while firms can seed discussion by posts, they depend on the forum members to continue the discussion in the form of reactions to these posts. The goal of the current study is to investigate what features and characteristics drive the number of comments that a post receives on an online discussion forum. The empirical setting involves a global manufacturer connecting with health care professionals through a LinkedIn discussion forum. We project that (i) content characteristics, (ii) post characteristics, (iii) author characteristics, and (iv) timing characteristics jointly determine the number of comments a post receives. We show that the readability of the post, the controversiality of the content and the status of the post author have the highest elasticity on the number of comments. These results provide valuable insights for firms on how to build and maintain an attractive online forum through ongoing discussions.

Keywords: social media, online discussion forum, count data, content analysis, B2B

JEL Classification: M10, M31

Suggested Citation

Rooderkerk, Robert P. and Pauwels, Koen, No Comment?! The Drivers of Reactions to Online Posts in Professional Groups (December 30, 2015). Journal of Interactive Marketing, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Robert P. Rooderkerk (Contact Author)

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR


Koen Pauwels

Ozyegin University ( email )

Kusbakisi Cd. No: 2
Altunizade, Uskudar
Istanbul, 34662

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