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Abstract

As information and communication technology continue its remarkable development, the exchange of information online becomes as prevalent and frequent as face-to-face communication in daily life. Therefore, the management and application of WOM (word of mouth) practices will become more important than ever to companies. Currently, there are various types of communication channels for online WOM, and each channel has its own unique traits. Most of the previous research studies online WOM by examining the information inside a single communication channel, but this research chooses two different communication channels and analyzes the effects of online WOM with each channel’s unique characteristics. More specifically, this research focuses on the expectation that the effects of information from Twitter and blogs on product sales may differ because Twitter and blogs, two different communication channels for online WOM, have their own unique traits. Our particular aim is to perform an in-depth examination on the effects of communication channel’s volume and valence on product sales, two important attributes of online WOM. Furthermore, while most of the empirical research focuses on online WOM and analyzes its effect on markets of temporary experience goods, such as movies and books, this research highlights focuses on the automobile market, a durable goods market.
The results of our analysis are as follows: First, regarding blogs, a positive valence significantly and positively affects the sales of products, and this result indicates that consumers are influenced more by the emotional aspect of a product presented in a post than by the number of blog posts. Second, regarding Twitter, the volume of online WOM significantly and positively affects sales, an indication that as the number of posts increase, the sales increase.
Through this research, we suggest that even those firms that sell durable goods can increase sales through the management and application of online WOM. Moreover, according to the characteristics of communication channels, the effects of online WOM on sales differ. As a practical implication of this research, we suggest that companies can and should create marketing strategies appropriate to their targeted communication channels.

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