After several years of ups and downs, I am very pleased to announce the publication of my new paper, “The importance of online reviews depends on when they are presented” in the journal, Decision Support Systems.
The paper brings to bear a classic focus of cognitive psychology – information order effects – in a much more recent context: online reviews. Here is the abstract:
Imagine that you are a marketer with a good product but mediocre online reviews. When would be the best time to present the review score information to consumers: before the product description, with the product description, or after the product description? In order to answer this question, we carried out three online experiments in which we manipulated the order of information (reviews presented first or last), and timing of information (reviews presented simultaneously with or sequential to the product description). Overall, consumers put more weight on information that was seen most recently, particularly when the product description and review information was presented sequentially and the average review score was relatively low. That is, consumers put more weight on review score information after they had first formed an independent opinion based on the product description. Theoretically, these findings are best explained by an adjustment-based anchoring account. Practically, these findings arm managers with effective tactics regarding the placement of review score information.
This is the second article I have published as a sole author and the experience is always different. The motivation has to come entirely from within because there is no one else in the world who has a stake. As a result, the project often gets downgraded in importance relative to other projects with collaborators. Perhaps for that reason, it is even more satisfying to cross the finish line.
I look forward to continuing with my other projects focused on how consumers use and are influenced by online reviews. Stay tuned!