Companies frequently offer product recommendations to customers, according to various algorithms. This research explores how companies should frame the methods they use to derive their recommendations, in an attempt to maximize click-through rates. Two common framings—user-based and item-based—might describe the same recommendation. User-based framing emphasizes the similarity between customers (e.g., “People who like this also like…”); item-based framing instead emphasizes similarities between products (e.g., “Similar to this item”). Six experiments, including two field experiments within a mobile app, show that framing the same recommendation as user-based (vs. item-based) can increase recommendation click-through rates. The findings suggest that user-based (vs. item-based) framing informs customers that the recommendation is based on not just product matching but also taste matching with other customers. Three theoretically derived and practically relevant boundary conditions related to the recommendation recipient, the products, and other users also offer practical guidance for managers regarding how to leverage recommendation framings to increase recommendation click-throughs.

advice taking, algorithms, explanations, framing, recommender systems
Journal of Marketing
Department of Marketing Management

Gai, J, & Klesse, A.K. (2019). Making Recommendations More Effective Through Framings: Impacts of User- versus Item-Based Framings on Recommendation Click-Throughs. Journal of Marketing, 83(6), 61–75. Retrieved from