Using a set of two experimental studies, this dissertation’s objectives were twofold. The first study examined the effects of sponsorship disclosure modes (written-only, spoken-only, and written-and-spoken disclosure) in sponsored online consumer product reviews on consumers’ attention to and perceived persuasive intent of sponsored eWOM. The second study explored the level of detail (low vs. high) and extent of disclosed commercial gain (general sponsorship, free product, payment for review, or sales commission) on attitudes toward the reviewer and a brand via proposed competing mechanisms of cue-based trust and persuasion knowledge. In both studies, effects were explored for search goods and experience goods. Study 1 found that, consistent with limited cognitive capacity theory and the Limited Cognitive Capacity Model of Mediated Message Processing, the spoken-only and written-and-spoken conditions generated incrementally higher attention when compared to written-only. However, perceived persuasive intent was not affected by disclosure mode. Key insights from Study 2 furthermore identified that, for experience goods, high detail level disclosures led to a more favorable attitude toward the reviewer, while the level of detail did not affect attitudinal responses for search goods. The results also showed that, in terms of extent of disclosed commercial gain, only the disclosure of receipt of a free product affected persuasion knowledge, trust, and attitude toward the brand. The receipt of a free product condition emerged as the only condition that did not exhibit lower trust and less favorable attitude toward the brand. Furthermore, persuasion knowledge, not trust, emerged as the indirect mediator facilitating extent of disclosed commercial gain effects on attitudes toward the brand and the reviewer for the disclosures of the receipt of a free product or a sales commission. The study contributes to the understanding of limited cognitive capacity, sponsorship disclosure effects, and to persuasion knowledge model and trust literature. Practical implications for eWOM stakeholders including advertisers, content creators, and policy makers are also discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2018. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Jisu Huh. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 241 pages.
The Effects and Underlying Mechanisms of Sponsorship Disclosure in eWOM.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.