Date of Award

Spring 5-29-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Honors Designation

na

Program of Study

Communication - Corporate Communication

Language

English

First Advisor

Michael Bayer

Second Advisor

Michael Goodman

Third Advisor

Caryn Medved

Abstract

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.

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