Do different kinds of user-generated content in online brand communities really work?

Date13 November 2017
Publication Date13 November 2017
AuthorAntonia Estrella-Ramón,Fiona Ellis-Chadwick
SubjectLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Collection building & management,Bibliometrics,Databases,Information & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet,Records management & preservation,Document management
Do different kinds of
user-generated content
in online brand communities
really work?
Antonia Estrella-Ramón
Department of Economics and Business,
University of Almeria (International Campus of Excellence in Agrifood (ceiA3)),
Almeria, Spain, and
Fiona Ellis-Chadwick
Department of Marketing and Retailing, School of Business and Economics,
Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
Purpose Due to the fact that user-generated content (UGC) and online brand communities (OBCs) are
gaining popularity, the purpose of this paper is to identify the type of UGC that has a real effect on product
success, in terms of the number of owners, within a popular OBC associated with video games.
Design/methodology/approach Different types of UGC for 205 video games were manually collected
(the number of positive and negative comments, discussions, screenshots, artwork, videos, guides developed
by users and the presence of a workshop) to test their influence on product success. The proposed hypotheses
were tested using multiple ridge regression analysis.
Findings Results show that users look for simple and quick reviews and content about products in OBCs
(i.e. guides developed by users, comments, artwork and screenshots). However, results also show that users do
not guide their purchases based on UGC when the process of gaining understanding is more time consuming
(i.e. reading discussions, watching videos) or requires more active involvement (i.e. workshop presence).
Originality/value Limited research has been conducted on the type of UGC found in OBCs. This study
contributes to the understanding of the potential influence of different types of UGC on product success.
In addition, it offers managerial insights for companies into how to manage content in online communities.
Keywords User-generated content, Online communities, Steam, Video games industry,
Vividness and richness of the content
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The video game industry has grown considerably over the past decade, demonstrating
resilienceand flexibilitywith regard tothe economic crisisthat began in 2008.In the same year,
worldwide sales in this sector (including hardware and software) surpassed $50 billion
(more than double the annual sales in 2004, 2005 and $5 billion more than in 2007) (Wesley and
Barczak, 2016). This increase in sales growth has continued and by 2016 recorded sales
reached $74 billion (Statista, 2016). Video games should no longer be viewed as the exclusive
domain of antisocial teenagers but rather as a form of media that has occupied an important
position among mainstream media in terms of participation and revenues. Their impact on
society is far-reaching, creating new forms of interaction among users, for example, through
online brand communities (OBCs), and also influencing technology advances (e. g. artificial
intelligence, computer graphics). Indeed, communication scholars have noted that video games
are now one of the leading forms of media consumption, with sales rivalling the most
Online Information Review
Vol. 41 No. 7, 2017
pp. 954-968
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/OIR-08-2016-0229
Received 26 August 2016
Revised 22 February 2017
8 May 2017
Accepted 9 May 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Culture and Sports, within the State
Framework of Talent Promotion and its application in R&D, Subprogram of Mobility, from the
State Plan of Scientific, Technical and Innovative Research 2013-2016.

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