What Happens in Vegas Stays on TripAdvisor? A Theory and Technique to Understand Narrativity in Consumer Reviews

64 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2015 Last revised: 25 Jul 2019

See all articles by Tom van Laer

Tom van Laer

The University of Sydney

Jennifer Edson Escalas

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Stephan Ludwig

Westminster Business School

Ellis van den Hende

Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE)

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Many consumers base their purchase decisions on online consumer reviews. An overlooked feature of these texts is their narrativity: the extent to which they tell a story. The authors construct a new theory of narrativity to link the narrative content and discourse of consumer reviews to consumer behavior. They also develop from scratch a computerized technique that reliably determines the degree of narrativity of 190,461 verbatim, online consumer reviews and validate the automated text analysis with two controlled experiments. More transporting (i.e., engaging) and persuasive reviews have better developed characters and events as well as more emotionally changing genres and dramatic event orders. This interdisciplinary, multimethod research should help future researchers (1) predict how narrativity affects consumers’ narrative transportation and persuasion, (2) measure the narrativity of large digital corpora of textual data, and (3) understand how this important linguistic feature varies along a continuum.

Keywords: automated text analysis, computational linguistics, consumer reviews, narrative persuasion, narrative transportation, storytelling

JEL Classification: M31

Suggested Citation

van Laer, Tom and Edson Escalas, Jennifer and Ludwig, Stephan and van den Hende, Ellis, What Happens in Vegas Stays on TripAdvisor? A Theory and Technique to Understand Narrativity in Consumer Reviews (2019). Journal of Consumer Research, 46(2), 267–285, Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2702484, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702484 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2702484

Tom Van Laer (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Jennifer Edson Escalas

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Stephan Ludwig

Westminster Business School ( email )

35 Marylebone Road
London NW1 5LS
United Kingdom

Ellis Van den Hende

Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) ( email )

Delft
Netherlands

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
487
Abstract Views
2,080
rank
64,797
PlumX Metrics