Recognizable Celebs In their marketing efforts, companies increasingly abandon traditional celebrity endorsers in favor of social media influencers, such as vloggers and Instafamous personalities. The effectiveness of using influencer endorsements as compared to traditional celebrity endorsements is not well understood.
In terms of advertising effectiveness, similarity, wishful identification, and trust mediate the relationship between type of endorser and advertising effectiveness. Product-endorser did not explain the relationship between type of endorser and any of the mediating and dependent variables. In all, our results show the added value of using influencer endorsers over celebrity endorsers and the importance of similarity, identification and trust in this process.
social media influencersinfluencer endorsementcelebrity endorsementidentificationcredibilityproduct-endorser fitadvertising effectiveness
Celebrity endorsements are a popular way for marketers to promote their brands, products, and services. By transferring the positive image and characteristics of a celebrity onto the brand, marketers aim to trigger consumers’ intent to purchase or use the endorsed product or service (Atkin and Block 1983). Many academic studies have confirmed that celebrity endorsements significantly increase advertising effectiveness (e.g., Atkin and Block 1983; Erdogan 1999; Amos, Holmes, and Strutton 2008; Bergkvist and Zhou 2016).
Have gained fame by successfully branding themselves as experts on social media platforms (Khamis, Ang, and Welling 2017). By enthusiastically sharing self-generated content on topics like beauty, fitness, food, and fashion, these (mostly female) social media users have gained a large follower base. Turning their online social presence into a primary profession such as ‘fashionblogger’, or ‘fitgirl’ (Lin, Bruning, and Swarna 2018).
Despite the increasing deployment of influencers for brand endorsement,
scientific knowledge on their marketing value is limited. Whereas the effectiveness of traditional celebrity endorsement has been widely investigated (Bergkvist and Zhou 2016), the impact of influencer endorsement on brand responses is relatively understudied. Although recent qualitative research suggests that influencers. Compared to celebrities, have a stronger impact on brand attitudes and purchase behaviors of young consumers (Djafarova and Rushworth 2017). No study to date has directly compared the two endorsement types. Scholars as well as practitioners would benefit from more insight into the effects of celebrity versus influencer endorsements on advertising effectiveness.
Therefore, in two experiments,
the present research will investigate the effectiveness of endorsement advertising by celebrities versus influencers in terms of attitude toward the advertisement, attitude toward the advertised product. And purchase intention. In addition, we investigate two important mediating processes that may explain potential differences in effectiveness between these two types of endorsements: identification (in particular, perceived similarity and wishful identification; cf. Hoffner and Buchanan 2005) and credibility (consisting of trustworthiness and expertise; cf. Sternthal, Phillips, and Dholakia 1978). Both identification and credibility have been shown to play a key role in explaining celebrity endorsement effects, and may play a significant role in influencer endorsement as well (Chapple and Cownie 2017; Djafarova and Rushworth 2017).
Finally, since the effectiveness of an endorsed advertisement is inseparably tied to the degree in which the endorser fits the advertised product (e.g., Kamins and Gupta 1994; Till and Busler 2000; Fink, Cunningham, and Kensicki 2004). We will take product-endorser fit into account as a moderator in the relationship between type of endorser and marketing outcomes. We will argue that the effect of product-endorser fit on advertising effectiveness may be even more pronounced for influencers than for celebrity endorsers.
Influencers attract millions of followers by sharing content curated from their daily lives on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, evolving around one particular domain of interest (Chapple and Cownie 2017; MediaKix 2017). Although ‘traditional’ celebrities have also found their way to social media. Influencers built their careers online and were unknown to a general public before. Marketers have eagerly embraced these influencers as spokespersons for their brands. And advertisers are investing large budgets on influencer endorsements (WFA 2018). Influencers do not only have the power to directly influence the purchase decisions of a large audience, but their followers also judge them to be reliable information sources (De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders 2017; Djafarova and Rushworth 2017).
A growing body of academic research is investigating the merits of influencer marketing, and the processes playing a role in influencer effects on brand responses.
Recognizable Celebs For example, Lee and Watkins (2016) showed that vloggers positively affect consumer purchase intentions for (luxury) brands promoted in their vlogs. Likewise, in an interview study by Chapple and Cownie (2017). Consumers stated to regularly follow lifestyle vloggers’ product recommendations, either by buying a product themselves or recommending it to others. In this study, participants considered vloggers as credible sources of information, mainly driven by perceptions of trust and similarity. In another study, Colliander and Dahlén (2011) found that a blog post about a fashion brand resulted in higher brand attitude and increased purchase intent compared to an online magazine article on the same topic, because readers felt closer to the blogger.
Although no study has directly compared the impact of influencer endorsements to more traditional forms of endorsement advertising,
interviews with female Instagram users (Djafarova and Rushworth 2017) suggest that influencers are perceived as more credible and relatable than traditional female celebrities, and their product reviews have a significant impact on young females’ purchasing behavior. In an earlier study comparing the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements with product reviews of an unknown ‘ordinary’ customer, female participants were more positive about a promoted experience product when it was promoted by a relatable consumer (Wei and Lu 2013).
Although still in its infancy Recognizable Celebs,
scientific research on influencer endorsement seems to corroborate the acclaimed success of influencer endorsements as a marketing tool and suggests. That influencers may nowadays have a more significant impact on brand attitudes and purchase behaviors than traditional celebrities. We therefore expect that influencer endorsements will result in higher advertising effectiveness than celebrity endorsements. In this study, we will measure advertising effectiveness in terms of attitude toward the ad, attitude toward the advertised product, and purchase intention (cf. Karson and Fisher 2005). In sum, we hypothesize the following:
H1: Compared to celebrity endorsements, influencer endorsements will lead to higher attitude toward the ad, attitude toward the product, and purchase intention.
The role of identification and credibility Recognizable Celebs
Existing research on endorsement marketing has identified two major processes that may underlie the effect of brand endorsement on advertising effectiveness: identification with the endorser (e.g., Basil 1996) and perceived endorser credibility (e.g., Ohanian 1991). Since both processes suggest to play a significant role in influencer endorsements as well (Chapple and Cownie 2017; Djafarova and Rushworth 2017), we will investigate to what extent identification and credibility can explain influencer versus celebrity endorsement effects.
When consumers believe that they share certain interests, values, or characteristics with an endorser. They are more likely to adopt their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (Cialdini 1993; Kelman 2006). Identification derives from both actual and perceived similarity, or the degree to which one perceives to have things in common with another person. As well as wishful identification, which is the desire to be like the other person (Hoffner and Buchanan 2005).
In the case of celebrity endorsements, identification mostly arises from wishful identification, or an individual’s aspiration to be like that celebrity (Kamins et al. 1989). In contrast, we expect identification with influencers to more strongly determined by perceive similarity (Gräve 2017). In comparison to celebrities. Influencers are perceived as more relatable and approachable, like having a long-distance friend (Djafarova and Rushworth 2017). Influencers tend to directly address their followers in their posts, which connotes a certain closeness. And makes followers see them as peers (Erz and Christensen 2018; Gannon and Prothero 2018). The ability to comment on influencers’ posts and the possibility for interaction may strengthen the feeling that the influencer is similar to oneself (Schmidt 2007).
In sum, unlike celebrities Recognizable Celebs,
In this study. We will measure advertising effectiveness in terms of attitude toward the ad. Attitude toward the advertised product, and purchase intention (cf. Karson and Fisher 2005). In sum, we hypothesize the following:
H2a: Influencer endorsements lead to a higher perceived similarity with the endorser than celebrity endorsements.
H2b: Celebrity endorsements lead to more wishful identification with the endorser than influencer endorsements.
H2c: Perceived similarity and wishful identification mediate the relationship between influencer vs. celebrity endorsements and attitude toward the ad. Attitude toward the product, and purchase intention.
A second process that has been shown to play a role in the relationship between endorser and advertising effectiveness is perceived endorser credibility
(Sternthal, Phillips, and Dholakia 1978; Ohanian 1991). In general, research on endorsement effects has shown. That consumers are more likely to positively evaluate brands and products endorsed by people that they perceive to be credible (Erdogan 1999; Bergkvist and Zhou 2016). Credibility consists of two components: trustworthiness and expertise (Sternthal et al. 1978). Trustworthiness refers to perceptions of honesty, integrity, and believability of an endorser. Whereas expertise refers to the relevant knowledge, skills, or experience the endorser perceive to be possessing (Erdogan 1999).
Eisend and Langner 2010). Erkan and Evans 2016).
In the present study,
we argue that influencers may perceive as more credible product endorsers than celebrities. First, influencers know to share user-oriented product reviews, recommendations, and personal experiences on their social media channels. Such as beauty influencers demonstrating make-up articles in their vlogs1.
In contrast, consumers are generally well aware that celebrities get paid for their endorsements (Friestad and Wright, 1994). Second,
influencers generally promote products in authentic Recognizable Celebs,
real-life settings, which may increase perceptions of trustworthiness as compared to celebrities.
They are perceived as more credible compared to more commercial forms of endorsement. Hence, when influencers endorse a product. Consumers may be more likely to attribute this to the endorser genuinely believing in the positive characteristics of the product than when Erz and Christensen, 2018). Based on these propositions, we state the following hypotheses:
H3a: Influencer endorsements lead to a higher perceived trustworthiness and expertise than celebrity endorsements.
Using an endorser in an advertisement does not automatically guarantee a successful advertisement. Previous research has demonstrated. That the effectiveness of an endorsed advertisement is inseparably tied to the degree in which the image, personality. Or expertise of the endorser fits the advertised product (e.g., Kamins 1990; Kamins and Gupta 1994). Multiple studies have confirmed that when an endorser’s perceived expertise matches the product endorsed. This enhances product evaluation and purchase intention (e.g., Till and Busler 2000; Fink et al. 2004). Moreover, endorsers that advertise products. That do not fit their expertise deeme less credible (Dwivedi and Johnson 2013; Lee and Koo 2015).
endorser relevance to the product mention by consumers as important to endorsement success as well (Djafarova and Rushworth 2017). Indeed, the effect of product-endorser fit on credibility may be even more pronounced for influencers than for celebrity endorsers.
H4: The effect of product-endorser fit on trustworthiness and expertise is more pronounced for influencer endorsers than for celebrity endorsers.
Study overview Recognizable Celebs
We conducted two studies to test our hypotheses, using different endorsers and products in each study. All hypotheses visualize in the conceptual model in Figure 1. In both studies, we manipulated type of endorsement by creating advertisements with either a celebrity or influencer endorser. Fit manipulate by pairing the endorser with a product that fit or did not fit with the endorser’s profession.
Figure 2. Example of an influencer endorsement with poor fit: A protein shake endorsed by a beauty blogger (blurred for legal & copyright reasons).
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The first study was based on a convenience sample of 131 Dutch adults, consisting mostly of students. The second study used a random sample of 446 US adults collected through Amazon MTurk. Both studies focused on women only as the majority of influencers tailor to a female audience (Gannon and Prothero 2018; IndaHash Labs 2017).