Reexamining Health Messages in the Digital Age: A Fresh Look at Source Credibility Effects
49 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2015 Last revised: 5 Aug 2015
Date Written: 2015
This paper investigates the influence of perceived source credibility on the effectiveness of health-related public service announcements (PSAs) and electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) communications. Findings indicate that online commenters who are perceived to be credible are instrumental in influencing consumers’ responses to pro- vs. anti-vaccination online PSAs. Results further suggest that it is not the advertising message (i.e., the PSA advocated position) alone that influences consumers’ responses (even when consumers perceive the PSA sponsor to be highly credible) but rather, the commenters’ reactions to the claims presented in the PSA that also independently contribute to consumers’ vaccination attitudes and behavioral intentions. Finally, results also show that when the relevant expertise of online commenters is identified, the effectiveness of the PSA’s advertising message is moderated by the interactive effect of the online comments and their associated perceived credibility.
Keywords: electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), online comments, vaccination attitudes, vaccination behavioral intentions, vaccines, source effects, credibility, trustworthiness
JEL Classification: D18, D11, D12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation