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Selling Things, Use Celebrity; Selling Experiences, Use Customer Reviews [Study]

Content sells, but which type of online content sells best – celebrity content – such as celebrity endorsements, or customer consumer such as customer reviews?

Both types of content have good track records on boosting sales; celebrity endorsements bump up sales on average by about 4% , and customer reviews can bump up sales by up to 10%).  But a new study from Computers and Human Behavior suggests that it depends on the type of product you’re selling.

  • For selling ‘things’ – like shoes, the study found that celebrity endorsements were more effective through the AISAS (Attention, Interest, Search, Action, Share) model of online consumer behaviour
  • For ‘experience’ products – like cosmetics (skin toner), that you need to use in order to evaluate their quality, the study found that customer reviews were more effective

So celebrity-oriented content marketing might be just the ticket for selling physical products that can be evaluated on looks and spec, but when experiential products and services, customer reviews are top.

An examination of the celebrity endorsements and online customer reviews influence female consumers’ shopping behaviour‘ by Pei-Shan Wei, Hsi-Peng Lu, Computers in Human Behavior 29 (2013) 193–201




Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.