The weekend effect in online reviews

Andreas Bayerl, Jacob Goldenberg, Verena Barbara Schoenmueller, Stahl Florian

Research output: Conference paperContribution

Abstract

In other disciplines, weekend effects are already known and well-researched. In healthcare, the weekend effect states that there are higher mortality rates for patients admitted to hospitals during the weekend (Ricciardi et al. 2014). In Finance, the weekend effect states that stock returns are lower on Mondays than on the previous Friday (Cross 1973). Our main contribution lies in proving the robust existence of a weekend effect in Marketing across different datasets of online reviews, as well as providing explanations for it. Human decision-making can be prone to influences from externalities that seem far from obvious. For example, judges judge differently depending on how far away they are from their lunch break (Danziger, Levav and Avnaim-Pesso 2011). Also pleasant or unpleasant weather conditions influence the degree of hedonic consumption (Govind, Garg and Mittal 2020). And in general, even subtle external cues (e.g., the color orange being more prominent around Halloween) can often strongly influence behavior (Dijksterhuis et al. 2005; Berger and Fitzsimmons 2008). This also holds for online review behavior as shown by Brandes and Dover (2022), who found that bad weather reduces online rating scores for past consumption behavior. We follow their call for research about additional situational factors influencing eWOM, with a special focus on the "when question" (i.e., the time a review is written). The identification of social influence in online reviews is important because they have been shown to influence our decision-making in various contexts and even have an effect on sales (You et al. 2015; Babi¿ Rosario 2016). We find consistent and robust evidence that there is a weekend effect in online reviews: Incoming online reviews are significantly worse on a weekend than they are during the week. Our aim in this paper is twofold. First, we establish the weekend effect of reviews and demonstrate that it is robust across online platforms and second, we investigate causes that lead to this phenomenon. We test multiple alternative explanations empirically across different online review datasets, and also add additional evidence from a text analysis as well as evidence from a survey. We show that a) during the weekend different individuals or consumers review (i.e., consumers with less friends) and b) the size of the weekend effect is contingent on social aspects of the business/product being reviewed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2023
Event45th ISMS Marketing Science Conference 2023 - Miami
Duration: 7 Jun 202310 Jun 2023

Conference

Conference45th ISMS Marketing Science Conference 2023
CityMiami
Period7/06/2310/06/23

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