Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Kluge

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Shelton

Third Advisor

Dr. Adina Scruggs


Electronic Word-of-mouth (eWOM) helps shape consumers’ purchasing decisions and companies’ marketing choices. Researchers and practitioners have extensively studied textual or word-based eWOM in online reviews, blogs, e-mails, and product sites. The effect of implicit eWOM, eWOM using paralinguistic cues, on consumer behavior has been infrequently studied even though marketers often seek to use implicit eWOM to influence consumers. On Facebook, the most popular social networking platform in the world, three of the most frequently used forms of implicit eWOM are the emoticon, the emoji, and the GIF. A comparison of the effect of types of implicit eWOM on the purchase intention of eWOM receivers was made in two studies. Four theories, specifically, (Social Presence Theory, Short et al., 1976), Affect as Information Theory, (Clore & Storbeck, 2006), the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1984) and the Foote, Cone, and Belding Grid Model (Vaughn, 1980, 1986), were used to frame the studies. In Study 1, four independent groups were shown product reviews that were text only, text plus emoticon, text plus emoji, or text plus GIF. Half of each group were shown a product review of candy and half were shown a product review of a computer. The products represent different levels of engagement and cognitive/affective processing. Study 2 included four independent groups shown product reviews that were text only or text followed by either an emoticon, an emoji, or a GIF. Each participant was shown reviews of three products (candy, a chair, or a computer), chosen to represent different levels of engagement and cognitive/affective processing. All pairs of groups were compared using an independent groups t-test. No significant increase in purchase intention due to implicit eWOM was found in either study. In two comparisons between text only and 1) text plus emoticon and 2) text plus emoji, purchase intention was higher for the text only review than for the review that included a paralinguistic cue.