Perceived helpfulness of online consumer reviews: The role of message content and style

Robert M. Schindler, Barbara Bickart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


The rise of online reviews written by consumers makes possible an examination of how the content and style of these word-of-mouth messages contribute to their helpfulness. In this study, consumers are asked to judge the value of real online consumer reviews to their simulated shopping activities. The results suggest the benefits of moderate review length and of positive, but not negative, product evaluative statements. Non-evaluative product information and information about the reviewer were also found to be associated with review helpfulness. Stylistic elements that may impair clarity (such as spelling and grammatical errors) were associated with less valuable reviews, and elements that may make a review more entertaining (such as expressive slang and humor) were associated with more valuable reviews. These findings point to factors beyond product information that may affect the perceived helpfulness of an online consumer review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-243
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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