This paper discusses two trends that threaten to undermine the effectiveness of online social marketing interventions: growing mistrust and competition. As a solution, this paper examines the relationships between website credibility, target audiences’ active trust and behaviour.

Using structural equation modelling to evaluate two credibility models, this study concludes that website credibility is best considered a three-dimensional construct composed of expertise, trustworthiness and visual appeal, and that trust plays a partial mediating role between website credibility and behavioural impacts.

The paper examines theoretical implications of conceptualizing websites according to a human credibility model, and factoring trust into Internet-based behavioural change interventions. Practical guidelines suggest ways to address these findings when planning online social marketing interventions.

Read the full paper: CUGELMAN, B., THELWALL, M. & DAWES, P. (2009) The dimensions of website credibility and their relation to active trust and behavioural impact. Communications of the Association for Information Systems.