28 Jul User-generated content
The term user-generated content is used broadly and can be applied to very different media types, which can be a problem when trying to compare different user-generated content studies with each other. One form of user-generated content that has been researched are reviews, with studies showing that positive reviews influence the number of bookings on a travel website (Ye et al. 2011) and that people are more likely to use reviews if they perceive the credibility of the source to be high (Ayeh, Au, and Law 2013). A study by Zhu and Zhang (2010) investigated the effect of user-generated content in the video game industry, finding that reviews were especially influential for lesser known games and that even one negative review can possibly damage the success of such a game (Zhu and Zhang 2010). Not all user-generated content, however, is primarily evaluative in its nature, which could finally result in effects on the recipients differing from the effects for reviews reported above. Tang and colleagues (2014) investigated effects of mixed and indifferent user-generated content, both types being neutral in essence, but mixed content including positive and negative remarks while indifferent content included neither. The authors found that mixed content led to higher sales numbers because it motivates the consumer to process the available information and engage with the content while indifferent content led to lower sales numbers because it is of no interest for the consumer (Tang et al. 2014). Integrating the notion of neutral user-generated content adds an interesting aspect to the literature on user-generated content.
Overall, literature supports the idea that there seems to be some sort of link between user-generated content and purchase behavior, with positive user-generated content leading to higher sales figures. Still, there is a gap in current literature concerning other forms of user-generated content, for example blogs or YouTube videos that are made for entertaining the user. Also missing from the literature on user-generated content is a comparison between user-generated content and other forms of content.
- Zhu, Feng, & Zhang, Xiaoquan (2010). Impact of Online Consumer Reviews on Sales: The Moderating Role of Product and Consumer Charactersistics. Journal of Marketing, 74, 133-148. https://doi.org/10.1509/jmkg.74.2.133.
- Ye, Q., Law, R., Gu, B., & Chen, W. (2011). The influence of user-generated content on traveler behavior: An empricial investigation on the effects of e-word-of-mouth to hotel online bookings. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 634-639. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.04.014.
- Ayeh, Julian, Au, Norman, & Law, Rob (2013). “Do We Believe in TripAdvisor?” Examining Credibility Perceptions and Online Travelers’ Attitude toward Using User-Generated Content. Journal of Travel Research, 52, 437-452. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0047287512475217.
- Tang, Tanya, Fang, Eric, & Wang, Feng (2014). Is Neutral Really Neutral? The Effects of
Neutral User-Generated Content on Product Sales. Journal of Marketing, 78, 41-58.