Title: The effects of familiarity and similarity on compliance in social networks

Authors: Maurits Kaptein; Clifford I. Nass; Panos Markopoulos

Addresses: Department of Research Methods and Statistics, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands ' Deceased; formerly of: Department of Communications, Stanford University, CA, USA ' Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Abstract: Advertisers on social network sites often use recommendations by others in a user's networks to endorse products. While these familiar others are hypothesised to be more effective in influencing users than unfamiliar others, there is a catch: familiarity does not necessarily ensure similarity to the familiar person, a potential problem because the combination of familiarity and dissimilarity has been hypothesised to lead to lowered compliance. In an experiment (N = 44), we test people's compliance to similar and dissimilar familiar others in an online environment: we show that in both cases, familiarity leads to increased compliance. The work highlights the importance of familiarity on interpersonal influence and suggests that gaining familiarity, even in situations of dissimilarity, can be an effective means to increase the impact of advertisements and marketing campaigns in social media.

Keywords: persuasion; compliance; similarity; familiarity; interpersonal influence; social networks; social networking sites; SNS; advertising impact; advertising campaigns; marketing campaigns.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2014.066849

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2014 Vol.8 No.3, pp.222 - 235

Available online: 08 Jan 2015 *

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