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Word of mouth (WOM) is now widely believed to help drive consumer decision making. What has not been as widely discussed is the relationship between advertising and WOM. New empirical data collected by the authors over a three-year period show that 20 percent of WOM discussions refer to paid advertising in media. Further, the research finds that conversations that are “advertising influenced” in this way are significantly more likely to involve recommendations to buy or try a brand when compared with other WOM discussions about brands. These findings hold across a wide range of product categories.
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