Emory University, Goizueta Business School

Emory University, Goizueta Business School Emory University, Goizueta Business School

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Personality plays a role in word of mouth advertising

Personality plays a role in word of mouth advertising 2018-01-29
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Panagiotis (Panos) Adamopoulos Vilma Todri

Marketers have long recognized the benefits of word-of-mouth advertising, especially via social media channels. But what makes it effective? Soon-to-be-published research by Emory University professors reveals the personality of users sharing information plays a large role in purchasing decisions.

Panos Adamopoulos and Vilma Todri, along with Anindya Ghose of New York University, find messages from an extrovert to an introvert may increase the likelihood of purchases by 71 percent. The research also indicates a similar message between like personality types can increase the purchase likelihood by 46 percent.

The trio analyzed the post history of users from a Twitter-based purchasing program tested by American Express in 2013. They considered the entire post history of users (140 million tweets) and placed users in one of the "Big 5" Personality Types common in psychology research.

"We wanted to identify the people who have influence over the decisions of others and describe them by personality; age and gender have been done before," said Adamopoulos. "Personality matters. Some are more influential than others. If we have an extrovert influencer talking to an introvert, then we can expect an increase in the chances they will take action."

"Companies are looking for early adopters who can influence other users to make a purchase," Todri adds. "The way companies can use this is to feature users based on personality traits. They can analyze and choose their influencers based on their target audience."

The researchers are now examining more user characteristics to determine what signals could indicate more powerful social media influencers.

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