YouTube It Before You Buy It: The Role of Parasocial Interaction in Consumer-to-Consumer Video Reviews

Valeria Penttinen*, Robert Ciuchita, Martina Caic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) online reviews are important sources of information that help consumers decide which products and services to buy. Although C2C reviews in video format (e.g., on YouTube) have become increasingly popular, research remains focused primarily on textual reviews. This article emphasizes the importance of C2C video reviews in influencing consumer outcomes through parasocial interaction, a special—albeit one-sided—connection with reviewers. Interactivity and selfdisclosure are suggested as online communication techniques reviewers can use to foster parasocial interaction with their viewers in a single encounter. Parasocial interaction is further established as a psychological mechanism that underlines the impacts of
interactivity and self-disclosure on source credibility, leading to improved consumer purchase intentions. The authors also propose that strong parasocial interaction with reviewers exerts a particularly powerful influence on the purchase decisions of consumers who experience low levels of decision confidence, while arguing for the importance of C2C video reviews in guiding the
decisions of various consumer groups. Research recommendations reveal how managers can encourage consumers to create and share video reviews on different platforms and offer guidance on the ways companies can foster parasocial interaction through firm-related marketing communications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-582
Number of pages22
Issue number4
Early online date15 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • C2C reviews
  • video reviews
  • parasocial interaction
  • interactivity
  • self-disclosure


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