Chatbot ads with a human touch: A test of anthropomorphism, interactivity, and narrativity

Yuan Sun, Jin Chen, S. Shyam Sundar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots are increasingly capable of simulating human-like conversations. But, is this desirable for strategic communications? Will chatbots be more persuasive if they are more human-like, not only in their appearance but also in their interaction and delivery of advertising content? We explored these questions with a 2 (chatbot profile: human-like vs. machine-like) x 2 (message interactivity: high vs. low) x 2 (ad type: narrative vs. factual) experiment (N = 414). Data reveal that high message interactivity fosters positive attitudes toward the chatbot and the ad by mitigating violated expectancy. Narrative ads promote chatbot advertising through perceived transportation. A three-way interaction revealed that when a chatbot is machine-like in appearance, higher interactivity and adoption of a narrative style of delivery serve to increase ad persuasiveness by heightening social presence. Theoretical and practical implications for chatbot advertising are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114403
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Feb 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing

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