Trusting on a Whim? A Multi-method Inquiry of Cue-based Trust in Online Consumer Product Reviews

The 19th International Conference on Research in Advertising 2021

Abstract: Online, consumers often cannot develop trust through cumulative experiences with another party but must instead rely on heuristic cues for their trust formation. Drawing on the theoretical construct of cue-based trust and signaling theory, we conducted an online experiment as the final study of a three-study multi-method research project aimed to identify content attributes serving as trust cues in online consumer product review videos and evaluate and test their efficacy at eliciting consumer trust. The current study’s online experiment found that three of the trust cues elicited in a series of focus groups and an online survey (balanced information, establishing expertise, and reviewer appearing to be a genuine user of the product) were shown to effectively elicit consumer trust without any previous experience with the reviewer or brand. Findings contribute to the understanding of cue-based trust and signaling theory in the eWOM context and hold practical implications for various stakeholders.

Alexander Pfeuffer  Joe Phua  Marilyn Primovic 

Related Research

Pseudo-reviews: Conceptualization and consumer effects of a new online Phenomenon

Abstract: A pseudo-review is a type of online user-generated review (“review”) posted on an e-commerce website that often resembles an authentic review on the surface, telling an exaggerated story about alleged product use. However, while authentic reviews often include humor as a stylistic device to convey a genuine product evaluation, pseudo-reviews use humor to mock […]

Hye Jin Yoon
read more
Stranger Danger? Cue-based Trust in Online Consumer Product Review Videos

Abstract: Trust is a significant factor in electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) effects. Consumers often need to form judgments about others using heuristic cues when they cannot rely on previous cumulative experiences with an online entity. Drawing on the theoretical construct of cue-based trust and signaling theory, this study aimed to identify and examine the efficacy of content […]

Joe PhuaAlexander Pfeuffer
read more