How visual attention to social media cues impacts visit intention and liking expectation for restaurants

Simonetti, A. and Bigne, E. 2022. How visual attention to social media cues impacts visit intention and liking expectation for restaurants. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 34 (6), pp. 2049-2070. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-09-2021-1091

TitleHow visual attention to social media cues impacts visit intention and liking expectation for restaurants
TypeJournal article
AuthorsSimonetti, A. and Bigne, E.
Abstract

Purpose. This research examined how social media (TripAdvisor) content influences restaurant visit intentions and liking expectations, how online review valence affect the viewing behavior of the social media page, and which social media elements capture the initial attention of the consumer.
Design/methodology/approach. The study used eye-tracking and self-reported data, and applied a 2-within-subjects design manipulating rating valence.
Findings. The pictures posted by firms and opinions posted by users attracted consumers’ attention. However, in the negative valence condition, participants needed to expand upon the content by reading additional (and more detailed) online reviews with specific cues, revisited the content more often, and more closely fixated on specific online ratings. Moreover, the picture of the restaurant was the first area seen (reflecting a bottom-up process) and the third-party ad tended to be viewed last (reflecting selective attention).
Implications. All social media elements are seen but only some affect decisions, with negatively (vs. positively) valenced reviews requiring consideration of an extra element. Of relevance to managers, this study stresses the importance of the pictorial element and the influence of user-generated content on the attention and judgment of consumers.
Originality. This study suggests that, in order to form an opinion, viewers devote more cognitive effort and attention when evaluating restaurants with negatively (vs. positively) valenced reviews. However, viewing patterns appear unaffected by review valence. It also demonstrates how consumers pay attention to different social media elements.

Keywordsattention
consumer behavior
eye-tracking
online reviews
social media content
valence
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Journal citation34 (6), pp. 2049-2070
ISSN0959-6119
Year2022
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-09-2021-1091
Publication dates
Published online04 Apr 2022

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