, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 483-494
Date: 04 Mar 2012

Effectiveness of Consensus Information in Advertising: The Moderating Roles of Situational Factors and Individual Differences

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This study aims to investigate the influence of both individual consumer differences and the purchase decision context on the effectiveness of consensus information in advertising.


Three experiments explore the effectiveness of consensus information. In Experiment 1, gender serves as a moderator. Experiment 2 contains an examination of the susceptibility to interpersonal influence (SII) and purchase decision context as two potential moderators. Finally, Experiment 3 instead explores the need for cognitive closure (NFC) but again includes the purchase decision context as the two possible moderators.


In Experiment 1, female participants, but not male participants, generate higher purchase intentions for ads with consensus cues as opposed to those without them. With Experiment 2, this study demonstrates that the effectiveness of consensus cues increases for a group (vs. personal) purchase decision, but only for people with high susceptibility to individual influence. In Experiment 3, the effectiveness of consensus cues is relatively greater for a group (vs. personal) purchase decisions, but only for consumers with a high NFC.


Understanding what moderates the effectiveness of consensus information in advertising has the potential to help practitioners apply consensus information more effectively to improve their advertising returns.


This study provides initial evidence about the impact of consensus information in advertising on purchase intentions, which is contingent on the situational context and individual differences.