Electronic Word-of-Mouth Versus Interpersonal Word-of-Mouth: Are All Forms of Word-of-Mouth Equally Influential?

Matthew L. Meuter, California State University, Chico
Deborah Brown McCabe, Menlo College
James M. Curran, University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee

Customers are increasingly using social media channels in their purchase decisions. We explore the influence of interpersonal word-of-mouth (WOM) and various forms of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). WOM is found to have more influence on behavioral intentions, trust in WOM, and attitude toward the firm compared to all eWOM channels explored. The influence of various eWOM channels is also compared. Independent sources (i.e., Facebook and yelp.com) are more influential than company-controlled sources of eWOM, such as customer testimonials on a firm website. This pattern is consistent across behavioral intentions, trust in WOM, and attitude toward the firm.

 

This paper is published in Services Marketing Quarterly, Volume 34, Issue 3, (2013). Pg. 240-256.