How credible is the incredible influencer? : A study examining what factors affect the perception of credibility in influencer marketing.
Abstract: Problem formulation: What factors affect the consumers perception of credibility in influencer marketing on social media? How and why do certain factors affect the credibility of influencer marketing? Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to understand what factors affect the perception of credibility in influencer marketing on social media. Moreover, the aim is to understand how and why certain factors affect the credibility in influencer marketing in order to elaborate a conceptual model consisting of factors generating credible influencer marketing. Theoretical framework: The theoretical framework of this paper consists of existing theories regarding social identity theory, perception, brand communication, word-of-mouth (WOM), celebrity endorsement and social influencers. Methodology: This study is conducted through both a quantitative and a qualitative study with a deductive approach. The collection of primary data consists of an online survey where 120 respondents participated followed by five qualitative interviews. In order to determine what aspects to examine, a conceptual model was created based on the previous findings within credibility in WOM and celebrity endorsement. The secondary data building the theoretical framework of this thesis are collected from peer reviewed articles published in scientific journals as well as books. Empirical findings: The empirical findings consist of the result from the qualitative and quantitative study. The result of the quantitative study presents the outcome from 24 Likert scale items presented in text, charts and tables. The empirical findings from the qualitative study presents the outcome from the interviews conducted through personal communication face to face or through Skype and are presented in text that are strengthened with citation from the interviews. Conclusion: The findings show that the credibility in influencer marketing is positively affected by the perception of the influencer being a credible source and the influencer and the brand being a good fit.
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