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Abstract

In the contemporary globalised markets opinion leaders play a vital role in the process of the purchasing decision-making of consumers. Thanks to their individual skills, specific knowledge or their personality, opinion leaders have a direct or indirect influence on the attitudes and decisions of consumers. In the contemporary globalised marketing using social media, this role is taken over by the influencers who affect consumers with their thoughts, attitudes and opinions and thus, significantly influence trends in demand for particular products. Over the recent years, influencer marketing has become increasingly popular, representing a specific type of social media marketing. The aim of this scientific contribution is the systematization of knowledge about the position and roles of influencers as opinion leaders in the social media environment in order to identify their typology, influence factors and the intensity of their impact on consumer decision making process, based on the comparison of knowledge from the results of global research studies and the quantitative online research study processed by authors. The findings of the survey showed that the promotion of some products through influencers may be more advantageous than others. Influencers will have the greatest impact when buying clothes, shoes, cosmetics and, surprisingly, services. Meanwhile, people rely heavily on other factors to buy food, jewellery and electronics, but it is not excluded that influencer marketing could affect them as well.
The role of influencers in the consumer
decision-making process
Stefan Zak1,
*
, Maria Hasprova2
1University of Economics in Bratislava, Dolnozemska cesta 1, 852 35, Slovak Republic
2University of Economics in Bratislava, Dolnozemska cesta 1, 852 35, Slovak Republic
Abstract. In the contemporary globalised markets opinion leaders play a
vital role in the process of the purchasing decision-making of consumers.
Thanks to their individual skills, specific knowledge or their personality,
opinion leaders have a direct or indirect influence on the attitudes and
decisions of consumers. In the contemporary globalised marketing using
social media, this role is taken over by the influencers who affect
consumers with their thoughts, attitudes and opinions and thus,
significantly influence trends in demand for particular products. Over the
recent years, influencer marketing has become increasingly popular,
representing a specific type of social media marketing. The aim of this
scientific contribution is the systematization of knowledge about the
position and roles of influencers as opinion leaders in the social media
environment in order to identify their typology, influence factors and the
intensity of their impact on consumer decision making process, based on
the comparison of knowledge from the results of global research studies
and the quantitative online research study processed by authors. The
findings of the survey showed that the promotion of some products through
influencers may be more advantageous than others. Influencers will have
the greatest impact when buying clothes, shoes, cosmetics and,
surprisingly, services. Meanwhile, people rely heavily on other factors to
buy food, jewellery and electronics, but it is not excluded that influencer
marketing could affect them as well.
1 Introduction
Inevitable fact is, that during the last twenty to thirty years significant changes have
occurred, caused by penetrating the internet or mobile technologies into human lives. The
technological development brought own changes in terms of social and societal trends,
technology such as the internet or mobile phones have had a huge impact on these trends.
The changes also affect the preferences and behaviour of consumers. In spite of the
significant technological changes there is an assumption, according to which the essence of
consumer behaviour does not significantly change, however, resources used by people will
change in a significant way. Technological progress, social trends even variety of choice
and improving of economic situation of population are factors which change consumers´
*
Corresponding author: stefan.zak@euba.sk
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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behaviour in the market. Marketing managers are forced to react on changes of lifestyle and
consumer behaviour.
With technologies and especially the internet, consumers are becoming more and more
informed and it is much more difficult to hit their traditional media. Segmentation can be
identified as a key tool in responding to these changes. Today's era is characterized by the
fact that for meeting the needs on the market consumers have an extremely large and varied
range of different products. This fact encourages the perception of consumption as an
important part of social life. The growth of social media has completely revamped the way
people interact, communicate and engage [1]. Social media have become major media
platforms to share personal information, news, photos, videos and are an essential
communication platform facilitates the interactions of online users, which can influence or
be affected by the opinions of others [2, 3]. Research and applied evidence suggest that
online opinion leaders are important promoters of products and services in different areas of
business and marketing tools [4, 5, 6, 7]. At present, influencer marketing is an important
tool to influence buying behaviour and can be defined as the process of exploring,
identifying, supporting and engaging people involved in high impact conversations. It is an
important form of online marketing, in which the marketers target a sub -population of
influential people, instead of the entire base of potential buyers [8].
The term influencer marketing is marketing products and services of those who take
action to influence the purchasing behaviour of other people. Such buying influence is most
often the result of popularity, reputation or even expertise of influencers. This type of
marketing can be compared to word of mouth marketing. At strengthening its social media
represent a crucial role and create appropriate conditions for the use of this instrument.
Branding, that is to say the use of celebrities a few years ago, has become more popular
with bloggers over the years, but today, branding is also about ordinary consumers who
have a lot of influence on others. Influencer marketing can be said to be one of the fastest
growing tools in reaching new consumers with the help of online media. [9]
Influencer marketing is based, in particular, on the confidence of consumers acquired by
opinion leaders. Many of the influencers are also bloggers, that is, people who share their
experiences, stories or interests with the broader internet public. They have their own circle
of interests, they even have not been originally the influencers, and they just became ones.
Many of them are sportsmen, actors, adventurers, or just ordinary mothers on maternity
leave. Each of them can influence another group of people, and each of them is also able to
promote a different product. The essence of the influencer marketing is the right product
promotion. An essential factor of this form of marketing is that the influencer must be
identified with the product, so he or she will not recommend a product without any
experience with it, or even absence of any knowledge of it.
Many people believe that influencer marketing is a bubble that will not last long and
burst. Customers, brands, as well as the numbers themselves talk about something else.
However, we can expect changes in this trend. Companies will benefit from an even deeper
collaboration with influencers, which presents new opportunities. Influencers and agencies
will establish more transparent and intensified relationships with each other. World
influencers prices are starting to grow enormously, so companies are increasingly using
cooperation with microinfluencers. For businesses, the number of clicks, fans, or responses
is often a misleading measure.
Influencer marketing is prevalent in firm strategies, yet little is known about the factors
that drive success of online brand engagement at different stages of the consumer purchase
funnel [10]. That’s the way marketing practitioners may consider partnering with different
influencer depending on their influencer marketing campaigns’ specific goals and take
advantage of different influencer depending on whether marketers want to create more buzz
about corporate initiatives or publicize products just launched [11].
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Influencer marketing has some limitations too, for example cooperating with influencers
with high numbers of followers might not be the best marketing choice for promoting
divergent products, as this decreases the brand's perceived uniqueness and consequently
brand attitudes [12] or consumers could react negatively to influencers' posts when they do
not appear with the products they endorse [13].
2 Methodology
The aim of this paper is to find out how influencer marketing affects consumer purchasing
decisions. In order to achieve that objective, we used the basic methods of scientific
research - analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction and interrogation. In order to obtain
theoretical background to the researched issue, it was based on information available in
professional books, magazines and electronic sources from foreign and domestic authors. In
this theoretical section we used mainly methods of synthesis and analysis. As part of the
marketing research, we applied a quantitative method of inquiry - questioning using an
online questionnaire. Another method, which belongs to inductive-deductive methods, is
the method of cognition, which we used in the evaluation of the questionnaire and based on
the results formulated suggestions and recommendations.
3 Results and discussion
3.1 The main results of the survey
Any business or brand that wants to promote their product most effectively is aware that
influencer can have a very positive impact on their communication campaign . Especially in
recent years, influencers have been given the opportunity to express themselves and
influence potential consumers. Thanks to social networks, they can quickly build a network
of fans and supporters and easily communicate their opinions, ideas and experiences with
products.
The aim of our survey was to determine whether and how much influencers affect
consumers in purchasing decisions. This survey has also identified products where
consumers rely heavily on the opinion of influencers and areas where the opinions of
influencers are considered the most credible, and whether the look and reputation of the
influencers is important in purchasing decisions. We conducted a survey using a
standardized questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of both open and closed questions
and was distributed via the Internet. The survey was attended by 430 respondents who were
from different age groups and came from different regions. Answers were collected during
the two-month period - from February to March 2019.
Formulation of hypotheses:
H1: For the most trusted people influencer regarded personalities from the sports field.
H2: More than 55% of respondents consider products that promote influencers to be
better than others.
H3: At least 30% of respondents would buy a product just because it was promoted by
their favourite influencer.
H4: Influencers have the greatest influence on consumer decision-making when
buying clothes.
In the first hypothesis (H1) we expressed the assumption that the most trusted people
considered influencers from the sports field. After evaluation, we can conclude that
sportsmen are most trusted for up to 44.5% of respondents as shown on figure 1. This is the
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possibility with the largest number of answers, and we accept the first hypothesis.
Fig. 1. The most trusted influencer types
The second hypothesis (H2) suggests that more than 55% of respondents consider
products that promote influencers to be better than others. After evaluating the question that
examined the perception of the quality of such products, we reject the hypothesis. Only
32.8% of respondents consider products promoted by influencers to be of high quality. We
can say that most respondents consider product quality to be neutral.
In the third hypothesis (H3), we assumed that at least 30% of respondents would buy a
particular product just because it was promoted by their favourite influencer. The analysis
provided us with sufficient information to reject this hypothesis. There were only 21.9% of
respondents who would be encouraged to buy.
The last hypothesis (H4) we expressed the assumption that the influencer major impact
on consumers' decisions when purchasing clothes. We can accept this hypothesis after the
evaluation of the survey. The data we processed show that 45% of the respondents would
be influenced when buying clothes, of which 12% of respondents expressed strong
agreement and the remaining 33% agreed.
The survey also showed that among all the areas in which influencers operate,
respondents trust most to athletes and experts in the field. In today's consumer society,
beauty and attractiveness might seem to be the most important factors, but our research has
shown that consumers place more emphasis on the skills and expertise of the influencers as
shown on figure 2. Companies considering influencing influencers should not forget this
and reach for a professional or expert.
Fig. 2. Desired influencers characteristics
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3.2 Discussion and recommendations
The aim of the survey was to find out how influencers influences celebrities in the process
of consumer buying decisions. After processing the results, we can draw the following
conclusions and recommendations.
Given how often consumers encounter influencer marketing in their area, we can call it
a very successful and popular form of promotion. However, despite the widespread use of
this method, it can still provide a competitive advantage. Different consumer segments will
respond differently to the types of influencers the company chooses to engage. We can say
that the success of influencer marketing is choosing the right personality according to
whom they plan to target advertising. Large international brands usually reach for sound
names from the world of celebrities to present luxury, exclusivity and interest. However,
this method is usually not possible for smaller and start-up brands, mainly because of high
costs. Therefore, it is important for them to select a person with whom they can identify the
target segment of our product and is considered trustworthy in their area, even though it is
not known to the wider public.
Influencer marketing has a great meaning as an effective branding strategy and in their
marketing efforts, companies increasingly abandon traditional celebrity endorsers in favour
of social media influencers, such as vloggers and instafamous personalities [14, 15]. The
companies should also remember that engaging an influencer in the promotion process does
not automatically mean people's trust in the quality of the product. Our research has sho wn
that a large proportion of consumers think that influencers agree to promote a product
simply because they get paid for it. People in our survey expressed the view that only an
attractive or successful personality is not enough, and the success of the product is
primarily up to him. For a successful marketing campaign, a combination of these two
factors is therefore important: a quality product and a trusted influencer.
As an influencer can evoke positive emotions and encourage consumers to buy, it can
also have the opposite effect. It is relatively common for some personalities to build up
negative publicity over time, and the public does not receive them with enthusiasm. The
biggest risk of influencer marketing is the connection of a company with a personality who
is involved in a scandal or causes too many negative reactions. Our survey also found
respondents who were discouraged by such personalities from buying the product
themselves, even though they were convinced of the purchase before they were promoted.
Brands and companies that are thinking about influencer marketing should therefore spend
sufficient time on the selection process and make sure they have enough information before
making the final decision.
However, it should also be remembered that not only the brand can be negatively
influenced by personality, but the promotion of an inappropriate product can also harm the
influencer himself. Our survey was also attended by respondents who changed their mind
about a popular person so far just because they promoted an inappropriate product. The
credibility and popularity of such a person is thus declining, and any other project on which
it will collaborate may be at risk as it will be perceived by the public as untrustworthy.
From the answers of our survey, we can conclude that at present, mainly influencers, who
promote products in which animals have been harmed, are perceived negatively - fur coats.
The survey also showed that the promotion of some products through influencers may
be more advantageous than others. Influencers will have the greatest impact when buying
clothes, shoes, cosmetics and, surprisingly, services. Companies offering their products in
these areas should therefore definitely consider such cooperation. Meanwhile, people rely
heavily on other factors to buy food, jewellery and electronics, but it is not excluded that
influencer marketing could affect them as well.
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4 Conclusion
Influencers promoting products and brands have become part of consumers' daily lives. We
can find an advertising campaign with an influencer several times a day, especially on
social networks. Influencers promote various products such as clothing, shoes, cosmetics,
but also services. Using influencer marketing can bring many benefits to a brand, but most
importantly, positively impact the sales of its products. Consumers, however, need not only
be positively influenced, and companies that choose to implement this strategy should also
be aware of the risks involved in working with influencers.
This paper is an output of the science project VEGA (S.G.A.) 1/0657/19 The role of influencers in the
consumer decision-making process.
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This chapter focuses on how innovations are shared and spread across social systems. This is sometimes called the diffusion of innovations, though we will argue for spread as the key concept. The chapter explores the processes, the drivers and the obstacles to these processes in public innovation. This chapter has five parts. It starts with Rogers’ well-known diffusion theory, which is concerned with the spread of innovations that seem to be successful in one context and deployed in another context. The second part looks at the legacy of Rogers’ conceptualization. The third part critiques that diffusion model in two ways—in relation to how organizations learn as they adopt/adapt ideas and practices from other contexts and also in relation to power. The fourth part of the chapter addresses power as it relates to the spreading and adoption (or adaption) of existing innovations in new contexts. In the last part, translation theories, both the actor–network theory approach and the organizational translation approach will be discussed. These are alternative diffusion theories that clearly see power as part of the spread and translation process.KeywordsPublic innovationDiffusionSpreadingLearning processTranslationsPower
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We explore the mechanism through which social media influencers (SMIs) persuade consumers to adopt brands. Guided by the influence framework, we propose and test empirically SMIs’ influence mechanism, which occurs in four principal stages: (a) a SMI's influence attempts (showcasing H1: attractive; H2: prestigious; H3 and H4: expert; H5: informative; and H6: interactive Instagram contents); (b) target consumers’ attitudinal response to the influence exercised (evaluating the SMI as a H7: taste and H8: opinion leader); which, in turn, affects (c) the targets’ desire to comply (the desire to mimic); and ultimately (d) their favorable behavioral outcomes (H9: social media word‐of‐mouth and H10: purchase intentions). On the basis of the survey data from 395 respondents, we used structural equation modeling to test our hypotheses and proposed model. We verified the robustness of our results using an ordered probit regression model and analyzed the mediating role of consumers’ desire to mimic SMIs in the influence mechanism. Our results confirm that the five aspects of influencing posts affect consumers’ attitudes positively and significantly, which in turn leads to positive behavioral outcomes through their desire to mimic SMIs. We discuss the results’ important implications for both scholars and practitioners.
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Social media influencers are winning over the Internet with their outstanding work and presence. Their opinions have a powerful impact on people, especially on young generation. We can mark them as a modern phenomenon that has seen a huge increase in cooperation with marketing agencies over recent years. More and more people are following such influencers so that they do not miss out on their content. Brands flock to such influencers for mentions, reviews and recommendations. Even though influencer marketing is a relatively new strategy, it continues to be a viable solution for marketers who are willing to think outside the box while building relationships with their target market. The aim of the study is to offer a comprehensive reflection on influencer marketing opportunities and determine the impact of influencers on consumer behaviour of Generations Y and Z. We wanted to find out whether influencers, who promote products, can attract potential customers and encourage them for purchase, as well as find differences between the given consumer generations. In order to meet the objectives of the study, own research was conducted (459 respondents from the Slovak Republic belonging to Generations Y and Z were involved in the inquiry). The research findings confirm that there are significant differences between the above-mentioned consumer generations in the area of impact of influencers on consumer behaviour, which leads to different marketing opportunities. For statistical processing of the results, we used the Kruskal-Wallis Test, Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test, Fisher's Exact Test and Dunn's Test of Contrasts. © 2018, University of SS. Cyril and Methodius, Faculty of Mass Media Communication.
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This study aimed to examine the effects of awareness of paid endorsements by social media influencers on followers’ cognitive persuasion knowledge (ad recognition), attitudinal persuasion knowledge (relationships with the influencer), and behavioral intentions, specifically eWOM intention and purchase intention. Employing an online survey (N = 269), this study found that awareness of paid endorsement relates to ad recognition, which is correlated with purchase and eWOM intentions. We also found that awareness of paid endorsement is correlated with influencer-follower relationship, which is associated with purchase and eWOM intentions. However, ad recognition does not affect influencer-follower relationship. Implications for public relations theory, practice, and policy are discussed.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to test the effects of two types of celebrities (Instagram celebrity vs traditional celebrity) on source trustworthiness, brand attitude, envy and social presence. The proposed theoretical model consists of the celebrity type as the independent variable, social presence as the mediator and self-discrepancy as the moderator. Design/methodology/approach A randomized two-group comparison (Instagram celebrity vs traditional celebrity) between-subjects experiment (n=104) was conducted. Findings The results indicate that consumers exposed to Instagram celebrity’s brand posts perceive the source to be more trustworthy, show more positive attitude toward the endorsed brand, feel stronger social presence and feel more envious of the source than those consumers exposed to traditional celebrity’s brand posts. Structural equation modeling (Mplus 8.0) and bootstrap confidence intervals indicate that social presence mediates the causal effects of celebrity type on trustworthiness, brand attitude and envy. Multiple regression analyses reveal the moderating effects of appearance-related actual–ideal self-discrepancy. Practical implications Ultimately, managerial implications for social media marketing and Instagram influencer-based branding are provided. From the perspective of marketing planning, the findings speak to the power of influencer marketing as an effective branding strategy. Originality/value The paper discusses theoretical implications for the marketing literature on celebrity endorsements.
Influence maximization is the problem of finding influential users, or nodes, in a graph so as to maximize the spread of information. It has many applications in advertising and marketing on social networks. In this article, we study a highly generic version of influence maximization, one of optimizing influence campaigns by sequentially selecting “spread seeds” from a set of influencers, a small subset of the node population, under the hypothesis that, in a given campaign, previously activated nodes remain persistently active. This problem is in particular relevant for an important form of online marketing, known as influencer marketing, in which the marketers target a sub-population of influential people, instead of the entire base of potential buyers. Importantly, we make no assumptions on the underlying diffusion model, and we work in a setting where neither a diffusion network nor historical activation data are available. We call this problem online influencer marketing with persistence (in short, OIMP). We first discuss motivating scenarios and present our general approach. We introduce an estimator on the influencers’ remaining potential – the expected number of nodes that can still be reached from a given influencer – and justify its strength to rapidly estimate the desired value, relying on real data gathered from Twitter. We then describe a novel algorithm, GT-UCB, relying on probabilistic upper confidence bounds on the remaining potential. We show that our approach leads to high-quality spreads on both simulated and real datasets. Importantly, it is orders of magnitude faster than state-of-the-art influence maximization methods, making it possible to deal with large-scale online scenarios.