In social networks, every piece of content is accompanied by a lot of information that testifies to success or interest in it. Ohio State University researchers sought to understand how or not this data influenced Internet user choices. In particular, the idea is to understand how they could be more or less persuaded depending on the number of views.
To do this, they conducted a study of 819 American adults between the ages of 18 and 35. You watched two YouTube videos for or against vaping. The videos that supported the practice were commercials by the producers, while the rejected videos were public service announcements signed by tobacco control organizations.
No direct impact on the persuasiveness level
The researchers took care to change the number of times the videos were viewed when internet users consulted them. Overall, participants felt that it was the credibility and message of the videos that won them over. However, the number of views had no direct impact on their persuasiveness.
Hyunyi Cho, the lead author of this study, explains:
There was no ripple effect that would convince people of a video just because a lot of other people saw it. People focus more on self-related factors – what they think of the video – when assessing the impact it will have on others. They focused less on other factors like the number of views to explain why a video might be compelling.
However, the scientist does not rule out that the number of views could play a role in deciding whether or not to watch a video. “We can watch a YouTube video because it has a lot of views, but that doesn’t mean whether we are convinced of the post,” she says.