Not all digital word of mouth is created equal: Understanding the respective impact of consumer reviews and microblogs on new product success
Marchand André, Hennig-Thurau Thorsten, Wiertz Caroline
The expansion of the Internet and social media have triggered a differentiation of the word-of-mouth (WOM) concept, with consumer communication about brands and products now taking place in various settings and forms. Two important digital WOM types are microblogs and consumer reviews. To clarify their differential roles for product success, this study offers a theoretical framework of the influence of these two types of WOM, drawing from consumer information search theory and diffusion theory. The tests of the proposed framework use a longitudinal data set of video game sales and weekly information gathered from microblogs (i.e., over 13 million tweets from Twitter) and consumer reviews (i.e., more than 17,000 Amazon consumer reviews). Analyzing a system of equations provides evidence that the influence of microblogs and consumer reviews on new product success changes over time. Prior to launch, the volumes of microblogs and consumer reviews, together with advertising, represent primary sales drivers. After launch, the volume of microblogs is initially influential, then loses impact, whereas the impact of the volume of consumer reviews continues to grow. The valence of consumer reviews gains significance only near the end of the observation period, but the valence of microblogging is never influential.