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A picture is worth a thousand words: how images influence information quality and information load in online reviews

Abstract

Decision science researchers have studied the influence of information overload extensively. Current electronic word of mouth (eWOM) research suggests that too much or too little information in a review can lead to decreased trust and purchase intent. This study adds to that paradigm by exploring the effects of images on uncertainty reduction in eWOM. More specifically, this study analyzes how images may influence trust and purchase intent based on an online review when there is too little or too much textual information. Findings indicate that when there is too little textual information, adding images increases trust and purchase intention, as information load increases. Likewise, when there is too much textual information, research suggests that consumers tend to skip over parts of the text. As such, images are still valuable, as they offer information that might have been missed in the text. These results suggest that when an improper amount of text is provided in a review, images may moderate the potential negative effects of that text length on trust and purchase intent.

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Zinko, R., Stolk, P., Furner, Z. et al. A picture is worth a thousand words: how images influence information quality and information load in online reviews. Electron Markets 30, 775–789 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-019-00345-y

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Keywords

  • Electronic word of mouth
  • Information overload
  • Information quality
  • Images

JEL classification

  • M3