Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 5-29-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Honors Designation


Program of Study

Communication - Corporate Communication



First Advisor

Michael Bayer

Second Advisor

Michael Goodman

Third Advisor

Caryn Medved


This study examined how source expertise, objective information about product ingredients and benefits, review length, and the use of promotional language influence the perceived credibility of a sponsored review post for skincare products. This study carried out 4 in-depth interviews and online survey to 106 millennials living in the U.S. Results indicated that subjective comments about a reviewer’s personal experiences had a higher level of perceived credibility of a review post than objective information about product ingredients and benefits. With regard to source expertise, a sponsored review post written by an influencer with higher expertise was perceived as more reliable than a review post written by an influencer with lower expertise. This study also found that a lengthy post had a more positive effect on the perceived credibility of a post than a short post. Promotional language had a negative effect on the reliability of a post. A sponsored review post without a promotional message was evaluated more positively in terms trustworthiness than a post including promotional language.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.