The Formation of Consumer Credibility Perception and the Role of Personal Values: The Case of Sponsored and Non-Sponsored Product Review Videos

  • Ghadeer Alsaeed

Student thesis: Phd


Most research on the credibility of Product Review Videos (PRVs) fails to explain how individual consumers form their perception of the credibility of PRVs, and why they use certain attributes to assess this credibility. The existing research findings for the credibility of PRVs are mixed, with some conflicting results on the credibility characteristics of the source, message and medium, especially when considering non-sponsored versus sponsored videos. (Dou et al., 2012; Ertimur & Gilly, 2012; Hautz et al., 2014; Xu, Chen & Santhanam, 2015). In order to gain more insight into the drivers behind consumer credibility perceptions of, and responses to, PRVs, the researcher argues that personal values may influence consumer perception, evaluation, and ultimately behaviours. Research on personal values provides a theoretical basis for their relevance in decision making and behaviours (Vinson, Scott & Lamont, 1977; Worsley, Wang & Hunter, 2010). Therefore, the present research addresses the problem of exploring the source, message and medium factors implicated in the formation of PRV credibility perception in the case of both sponsored and non-sponsored PRVs. It further examines how these may be affected by what consumers seek to attain from watching PRVs. To fulfil the aims of this research, two distinct qualitative studies following an exploratory methodology were undertaken. In seeking to explore participants’ perceptions of the credibility of PRVs and uncover their personal values, a critical realist epistemological approach was followed. Analysing data from 21 in-depth semi-structured interviews, Study One shows that even for non-sponsored PRVs, participants have enhanced and sophisticated persuasion knowledge regarding the possible motivations and tactics used by the producers of PRVs (the source), which influences their credibility perceptions of, and responses to, the PRVs. The findings indicated that participants followed a process to assess the credibility of the source (the reviewer), message (review) and the medium (video), independently and in combination, to form an overall view of credibility. This is an important finding because it explains how these dimensions of credibility assessment interact (Wathen & Burkell, 2002). Further, the participants associated these attributes of the dimensions of credibility with cognitive and affective consequences and then connected these consequences with the attainment of specific personal values. Following this, Study Two was carried out by conducting in-depth interviews with users (N=40) to further examine how consumers perceive and respond to sponsored PRVs. Boutiqaat is the largest virtual store in the Middle East for cosmetics, clothing and more, in which customers can explore personal reviews from Arab influencers and purchase their choices directly from Boutiqaat. The findings found that participants showed increased scepticism towards sponsored PRVs. Study Two extends the reach of Social Exchange Theory (SET) to online perceived social relationships by conceptualising the online influencer-follower relationship in terms of a cost-benefit assessment; it is based on a cost-benefit assessment that participants assess sponsored PRVs. An equitable cost- benefit assessment leads to perceived fairness and thus credibility and favourable responses.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPanagiotis Sarantopoulos (Supervisor)


  • User-Generated Content
  • Product Review Videos
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Sponsored Content
  • Online Credibility
  • Personal Values
  • Consumer Behaviour

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