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Investigating the persuasive impact of online textual content: A narrative theory approach
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Higher levels of competition in online channels and the resulting information overloadamong customers is becoming an issue of increasing concern among marketers whoseek to provide persuasive content. Past research has revealed that storytelling is aneffective tool to achieve persuasion. Research has also suggested that consumers areessentially storytellers who narrate their experiences in the form of stories. Severalresearchers have looked at consumers’ stories and investigated the effect that thesestories have on their receivers.In the last decade the research about storytelling has shifted to the online world. Thereis a board agreement amongst researchers that this is indeed very persuasive whencompared to other forms of promotional online content. Although online content canpossess various characteristics, textual content is the dominant type of contentemployed by both consumers and sellers/producers. This thesis asks:What effect do characteristics of online textual content have on persuadingconsumers?This research question is grounded in Narrative Paradigm Theory that is used to presenta conceptual model that allows for the development of more specific research questionsdealing with characteristics of online textual content. To do this, a distinction is firstdrawn between user generated content (UGC) and producer generated content (PGC).In both cases, textual content can be story- or argument-based and can possess variousother characteristics, that can be basic (valence and word count), stylistic (story-/argument-based) and semantic (use of meaning in words). The thesis seeks toinvestigate what effect these characteristics have on the persuasion process ofcustomers viewing online textual content. It seeks to understand what characteristicsmake textual content, (whether UGC or PGC) believable and influential and whetherthe knowledge learnt from UGC can be used by marketers to create persuasive content.A further aim of the research, is to identify an analytical tool that can help contentcreators identify the persuasive potential of any given text.iii | P a g eThe main research question and model gave rise to the following five sub-researchquestions:RQ1: What are the themes and concepts used by reviewers expressingdiffering customer satisfaction when posting UGC?RQ 2: Does the narrative force resulting from reviews posted as UGC differby declared customer satisfaction ratings?RQ3: What is the impact of different content type and length of online textualreviews on narrative believability and purchase intention?RQ4: Does objective knowledge effect the impact of different content type ofonline textual reviews on narrative believability and purchase intention?RQ5: Does story-based textual PGC improve website stickiness?To answer these research questions, four empirical studies are undertaken. Study oneanalyses the first two research questions whilst the remaining three studies each analysea further research question. Different research methods for collecting and analysingdata were used to address the research questions. Using different research methods isregarded advantageous because it allows for methodological rigorousness. The firststudy employs the qualitative analytical tools using the Diction and Leximancersoftware while the three other studies make us of an experimental approach.Experimental designs are preferred when the goal of the research is theory application.This doctoral thesis is presented in a monograph format comprising five chapters:Introduction, Literature review, Methodology, Empirical studies, and Conclusion. Thelatter indicates how the research contributes to the body of knowledge by providingmultiple theoretical and managerial implications.Keywords: Online textual reviews, UGC, PGC, Narrative Paradigm Theory,Persuasion, Storytelling Narrative force, Narrative believability, Diction, Leximancer

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå University of Technology, 2019. , p. 235
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Social Sciences Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-76234ISBN: 978-91-7790-456-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7790-457-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-76234DiVA, id: diva2:1357414
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-10-03 Created: 2019-10-03 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

The full text will be freely available from 2019-11-07 08:00
Available from 2019-11-07 08:00

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Cassar, Mario

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
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Output format
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