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Advertising Strategy in the Presence of Reviews: An Empirical Analysis

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  • Brett Hollenbeck

    (Anderson School of Management, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095)

  • Sridhar Moorthy

    (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6, Canada)

  • Davide Proserpio

    (Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089)

Abstract

We study the relationship between online reviews and advertising spending in the hotel industry. Combining a data set of TripAdvisor reviews with other data sets describing these hotels’ advertising expenditures, we show, first, that online ratings have a causal demand-side effect on ad spending. Second, this effect is negative: hotels with higher ratings spend less on advertising than hotels with lower ratings. This suggests that hotels treat TripAdvisor ratings and advertising spending as substitutes, not complements. Third, the relationship is stronger for independent hotels than for chains, and stronger in less differentiated markets than in more differentiated markets. The former suggests that a strong brand name continues to provide some immunity to reviews and the latter that the advertising response is stronger when ratings are more likely to be pivotal. Finally, we show that the relationship between online ratings and advertising has strengthened over time, just as TripAdvisor has become more popular, implying that firms respond to online reviews if and only if consumers respond to them.

Suggested Citation

  • Brett Hollenbeck & Sridhar Moorthy & Davide Proserpio, 2019. "Advertising Strategy in the Presence of Reviews: An Empirical Analysis," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(5), pages 793-811, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:38:y:2019:i:5:p:793-811
    DOI: 10.1287/mksc.2019.1180
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    Cited by:

    1. Cheng Zhao & Chong Alex Wang, 2023. "A cross-site comparison of online review manipulation using Benford’s law," Electronic Commerce Research, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 365-406, March.
    2. Hui Zhao & Xiaoyuan Wang & Debing Ni & Kevin W. Li, 2023. "The Quality-Signaling Role of Manipulated Consumer Reviews," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 503-536, June.
    3. Yuichiro Kamada & Aniko Ory, 2016. "Contracting with Word-of-Mouth Management," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2048, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Dante Donati, 2022. "The End of Tourist Traps: A Natural Experiment on the Impact of Tripadvisor on Quality Upgrading," CESifo Working Paper Series 9834, CESifo.
    5. Xiang Hui & Meng Liu, 2022. "Quality Certificates Alleviate Consumer Aversion to Sponsored Search Advertising," CESifo Working Paper Series 9886, CESifo.
    6. Borowiecki, Karol Jan & Pedersen, Maja U. & Mitchell, Sara Beth, 2023. "Using big data to measure cultural tourism in Europe with unprecedented precision," Discussion Papers on Economics 5/2023, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Economics.
    7. Sherry He & Brett Hollenbeck & Davide Proserpio, 2022. "The Market for Fake Reviews," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(5), pages 896-921, September.
    8. Tingting Nian & Arun Sundararajan, 2022. "Social Media Marketing, Quality Signaling, and the Goldilocks Principle," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 33(2), pages 540-556, June.
    9. Yasui, Yuta, 2021. "Controlling Fake Reviews," MPRA Paper 108177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. (Kay) Byun, Kyung-ah & Ma, Minghui & Kim, Kevin & Kang, Taeghyun, 2021. "Buying a New Product with Inconsistent Product Reviews from Multiple Sources: The Role of Information Diagnosticity and Advertising," Journal of Interactive Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 81-103.
    11. Duan, Yongrui & Liu, Tonghui & Mao, Zhixin, 2022. "How online reviews and coupons affect sales and pricing: An empirical study based on e-commerce platform," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    12. Bikram P. Ghosh & Michael R. Galbreth, 2023. "The weight of the crowd, social information credibility, and firm strategy," Production and Operations Management, Production and Operations Management Society, vol. 32(4), pages 1079-1095, April.
    13. Erfan Rezvani & Christian Rojas, 2022. "Firm responsiveness to consumers' reviews: The effect on online reputation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 898-922, November.
    14. Wu, Ruhai & Qiu, Chun, 2023. "When Karma strikes back: A model of seller manipulation of consumer reviews in an online marketplace," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 155(PB).
    15. Yuichiro Kamada & Aniko Öry, 2020. "Contracting with Word-of-Mouth Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(11), pages 5094-5107, November.
    16. Yogesh V. Joshi & Andres Musalem, 2021. "When Consumers Learn, Money Burns: Signaling Quality via Advertising with Observational Learning and Word of Mouth," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(1), pages 168-188, January.
    17. Evan Magnusson, 2022. "Unboxing the Causal Effect of Ratings on Product Demand: Evidence from Wayfair.com," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 525-564, September.
    18. Georgios Zervas & Davide Proserpio & John W. Byers, 2021. "A first look at online reputation on Airbnb, where every stay is above average," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 1-16, March.
    19. Weijia Dai & Hyunjin Kim & Michael Luca, 2023. "Frontiers: Which Firms Gain from Digital Advertising? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(3), pages 429-439, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    advertising; online reviews; TripAdvisor; hotels;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

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