Effectiveness of online word of mouth on exposure to an Internet-delivered intervention
The use of online word of mouth (WOM) seems a promising strategy to motivate young people to visit Internet-delivered interventions. An Internet-delivered intervention aimed at changing implicit attitudes related to alcohol was used in two experiments to test effectiveness of e-mail invitations on a first visit to the intervention. The results of the first experiment (N = 196) showed that an invitation by e-mail from a friend was more effective to attract young adults (aged 18-24 years) to the intervention website than an invitation from an institution. A 2 × 2 design was used in the second experiment (N = 236) to test manipulations of argument strength and the use of peripheral cues in invitations. Results showed that weak arguments were more effective to attract young adults to the intervention website when an incentive was withheld. These results need to be taken into account when using online WOM as a strategy to improve exposure to Internet-delivered interventions.