Heterogeneity in the effects of online persuasion
SourceJournal of Interactive Marketing, 26, 3, (2012), pp. 176-188
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC KI
Journal of Interactive Marketing
SubjectCognitive artificial intelligence
Average effects of influence strategies on consumers' attitudes and behaviors have been studied extensively. Less is known about the relative size of individual differences in these effects, despite recognition of their importance in social psychology. Two experiments use repeated exposures to influence strategies to identify the effects of each social influence strategy for individual participants. Study 1 provides evidence of large variation in the effects of influence strategies, such that for many participants the estimated effect of using an influence strategy is negative, even though the effect of that strategy is significantly positive on average. Study 2 replicates these findings over three sessions, each a week apart. The observed variation in responses to influence strategies cannot be attributed to transient intra-individual variation (e.g., strategy x mood interactions). Meta-judgmental measures of personality constructs (e.g., need for cognition) explain only a small portion of the observed variance, suggesting the importance of directly modeling heterogeneity in responses to influence attempts. These results are important for interactive marketeers since they indicate that different influence strategies substantially differ in their effects on individual consumers and should thus be adapted to individuals.
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