Title: Attributes of Instagram influencers impacting consumer brand engagement

Authors: Helen Inseng Duh; Thabile Thabethe

Addresses: Marketing Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa ' Marketing Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract: Social media influencers are described as people having the power to influence consumers' brand opinions, reactions and behaviour. The attributes giving influencers this power, especially on Instagram, where a single post can cost up to $1.2 million, need examination. Three models have been proposed for the understanding of attributes accountable for brand communicators' persuasiveness/effectiveness. These models required integration and testing in the context of Instagram influencers, brand engagement and millennials. Considering that South-Africa's large number of millennials are significantly drawn to famous influencers on social media, this study extended Ohanian's (1990) integrated source credibility model to examine Instagram influencers' attributes impacting millennials' brand engagement. Data was quantitatively collected from 330 millennials in a socio-economically and culturally diverse university. Structural equation modelling results revealed that influencers' trustworthiness, familiarity, similarity and likability were significant drivers of brand engagement. Likability's impact was surprisingly negative. Expertise and attractiveness did not impact brand engagement significantly.

Keywords: influencer marketing; social media; influencers' attributes; Ohanian model; brand engagement; millennials; trustworthiness; expertise; familiarity; attractiveness; likability; similarity; South Africa.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2021.118261

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2021 Vol.15 No.5/6, pp.477 - 497

Received: 07 Dec 2019
Accepted: 27 Apr 2020

Published online: 12 Oct 2021 *

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