Yu Ding’s research aims to help firms address trust deficits. His research topics cover trust in authority (e.g., science), trust in brands (e.g., news media), trust in people (e.g., strangers), and debiasing, in contexts of misinformation and social media.
- Trust, Debiasing
- Misinformation, Social Media
- Ph.D. in Marketing (with M.Phil.), Columbia University, 2022
- M.S. in Statistics, National University of Singapore, 2016
- B.A. in Marketing (with Honors), Fudan University, 2013
“I Really Know You: How Influencers Can Increase Audience Engagement by Referencing Their Close Social Ties”
Chung, Jaeyeon, Yu Ding, and Ajay Kalra (2023), forthcoming in Journal of Consumer Research.
Despite firms’ continued interest in using influencers to reach their target consumers, academic and practical insights are limited on what levers an influencer can use to enhance audience engagement using their posts. We demonstrate that posting stories with or about people whom they share close ties with—such as family, friends, and romantic partners—can be one effective lever. Content that incorporates close social ties can be effective for several reasons: it may increase perceptions of authenticity, enhance perceived similarity, increase the perception that the influencers possess more warmth, and could satisfy the viewers’ interpersonal curiosity. We analyze texts and photographs of 55,631 posts of 763 influencers on Instagram, and after controlling for several variables, we find robust support that consumers “like” posts that reference close social ties. Further, this effect enhances when first-person pronouns are used to describe the special moments with these close ties. We supplement the Instagram data with an experimental approach and confirm the relationship between close ties and consumer engagement. Managerially, this is a useful insight as we also show that sponsored posts tend to be perceived negatively compared to non-sponsored posts, yet, embedding social ties on the sponsored posts can mitigate consumers’ negative responses.
“Hiding Gifts Behind the Veil of Vouchers: On the Effect of Gift Vouchers Versus Direct Gifts in Conditional Promotions”
Ding, Yu and Yan Zhang (2020), Journal of Marketing Research, 57(4), 739-754.
To boost sales, marketers often conduct promotions that offer gifts conditional on the purchase of a focal product. Such promotions can present gifts in different formats: customers could be informed that they will receive a gift directly or that they will receive a voucher entitling them to a gift. Normatively speaking, the two formats are equivalent, as a voucher’s value is identical to that of the gift it represents. Yet this article suggests that promotion format (voucher vs. direct gift) influences consumers’ intention to purchase the focal product. Five lab experiments and one field experiment reveal that, compared with presenting a gift directly, introducing a voucher attenuates the influence of gift value on purchase decisions, decreasing purchase intentions for promotions offering high-value gifts but increasing purchase intentions for promotions offering low-value gifts. This effect occurs because vouchers break the direct association between the focal product and the gift, reducing people’s tendency to compare the gift’s value with the focal product’s value. The effect observed can be attenuated by increasing the salience of gift value.
“From Variability to Vulnerability: People Exposed to Greater Variability Judge Wrongdoers More Harshly”
Ding, Yu and Krishna Savani (2020), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118(6), 1101–1117.
Recent decades have seen increased variability in diverse domains, such as the climate and asset prices. As more resources are required to cope with greater variability in the outside world, exposure to greater variability can make people feel that society is more vulnerable. This sense of vulnerability, in turn, can lead people to judge and punish wrongdoers more harshly. Studies 1a–2c found that people who were exposed to graphs representing greater variability were more willing to punish wrongdoers, both in domains that were related to the source of variability and those that were unrelated. Studies 3 and 4 found that people who experienced more variable dice rolls were more likely to punish unethical behaviors in hypothetical scenarios and in experimental games, even at a financial cost to themselves. Studies 5a and 5b provided evidence for the underlying mechanism—sense of vulnerability—using correlational designs. Study 6 provided experimental evidence for the underlying mechanism. These findings suggest that increasing variability in diverse domains can have unexpected psychological consequences.
“The Past, Present, and Future of Measurement and Methods in Marketing Analysis”
Ding, Yu, Wayne S. DeSarbo, Dominique M. Hanssens, Kamel Jedidi, John G. Lynch Jr., and Donald R. Lehmann (2020), Marketing Letters, 31, 175-186.
The field of marketing has made significant strides over the past 50 years in understanding how methodological choices affect the validity of conclusions drawn from our research. This paper highlights some of these and is organized as follows: We first summarize essential concepts about measurement and the role of cumulating knowledge, then highlight data and analysis methods in terms of their past, present, and future. Lastly, we provide specific examples of the evolution of work on segmentation and brand equity. With relatively well-established methods for measuring constructs, analysis methods have evolved substantially. There have been significant changes in what is seen as the best way to analyze individual studies as well as accumulate knowledge across them via meta-analysis. Collaborations between academia and business can move marketing research forward. These will require the tradeoffs between model prediction and interpretation, and a balance between large-scale use of data and privacy concerns.
“When Norms Loom Larger Than the Self: Susceptibility of Preference-Choice Consistency to Normative Influence Across Cultures”
Savani, Krishna, Monica Wadhwa, Yukiko Uchida, Yu Ding, and N.V.R. Naidu (2015), Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 129, 70-79.
The present research investigated a novel account of how normative influence varies across culture—whether there exist cultural differences in the motivation to adhere to social norms even when similar norms are prevalent across cultures. Experiment 1 established that both Americans and Indians perceived that most others would disapprove of individuals who made choices primarily based on their own preferences compared to individuals who also took other factors into consideration. Experiments 2 and 3 found that when either general normative concerns or specific norms were highlighted, Indians’ preference–choice consistency shifted whereas Americans’ did not. Experiment 4 demonstrated that motivating people to act counter-normatively (rather than normatively) increased Indians’ preference–choice consistency but had no influence on Americans’. The findings indicate that even when the norm content does not differ across cultures, people from a more interdependent culture are more susceptible to normative influence than people from a more independent culture.
* indicates equal authorship
“Time Flies Only When the Speed is ‘Just Right’: The U-Shaped Effect of Animation Speed on Perceived Waiting Time”
Ding, Yu, and Ellie Kyung.
“Slim = Luxurious? Product Shape and Consumer Perceptions of Product Luxury”
Ding, Yu*, Jill Xiong*, and Gita V. Johar.
“Religious Homogeneity and Intolerance Can Predict Science Denial”
Ding, Yu, Gita V. Johar, and Michael. W. Morris.
“Fact-Checking Matters: A Novel Crowdsourcing Approach for Improving the Information Ecosystem”
Ding, Yu and Gita V. Johar.