Academy of Marketing Studies Journal (Print ISSN: 1095-6298; Online ISSN: 1528-2678)

Research Article: 2020 Vol: 24 Issue: 2

To Study the Impact of Instafamous Celebrities on Consumer Buying Behavior

Yuvika Gupta, IMS Unison University, Dehradun

Sonal Agarwal, Datalink Institute Tema, Ghana

P.B Singh, MJP Rohilkhand University, Bareilly

Abstract

With 1 billion monthly active users as of June, 2018, Instagram is undoubtedly one of the most popular social networking apps in the world (TechCrunch, 2018). In today’s scenario it has become the most popular gaining and giving popularity to people through app. Hashtags have become the jargon of the Generation Y. Every life story finds its way through likes and comments with the aid of #Hashtags. Instagram is that social media networking app which is much more than just uploading and liking pictures and maybe, that is one of the crucial reasons why it has surged up in comparison to other social media like snapchat, facebook etc. The social media platforms, such as Instagram, continue to grow rapidly in popularity, brands are using this platform effectively with new strategies, in order to gain visibility in the audience. A new popular tactic utilized is an online “celebrity” known as a social media influencer (SMI). Brands are using SMI the same way as celebrity endorser to distribute information and influence consumers’ perceptions. Using SMIs in communication and marketing campaigns has grown in popularity in almost all the industries whether it is beauty/fashion, home/family, health/fitness, travel/lifestyle, food/beverage, business/tech or entertainment. The purpose of this paper is to study and understand the factors that affect the consumers’ buying behavior with reference to Instagram. The study also investigates the source credibility of Instafamous Celebrities on consumers’ buying intention. The goal is to show that celebrities on instagram are influential and effects consumers’ purchase behavior.

Keywords

Consumer Buying Behavior, Digital Marketing, Instagram, Instafamous Celebrities, Micro-Blogging, Social Media Influencers.

Introduction

In this era of digital world, social media has emerged as the fastest way of sharing information with the consumers. The social networking sites (SNS) Facebook, Twitter, Snap chat and many more are growing day by day in terms of number of users. Among all of these Instagram has originated as the social networking site with the maximum number of increase in users. As per the survey by TechCrunch, 2018 the total number of users has reached about 1billion and the figures are rapidly increasing day by day. Since the academic research on this media is low so the researcher studied the effect of instragram celebrities known as Instafamous celebrities towards buying behavior. The other upcoming SNS, WeChat marketing has also helped the companies in enhancing their brand value and profitability in this mobile internet era (Wang, 2017). It states that social media has drastically transformed the means of information sharing. The upsurge of internet has enabled the customers to new interactive world where customers can share and upload their views, thoughts, ideas, experiences and suggestions about different product. The rapid growth of the Web has made it possible to access an increasingly large amount of information on the Web, while on the other side it has also created a difficulty for customers to select the appropriate information available on different sites (Huang, 2006). Undoubtedly instagram has turned out to be the most preferred and leading social networking site for those who choose instagram as their workplace and a means to earn. It is not only popular for connecting with friends but it has also become an extremely dominant platform for businesses. According to Liao & Wang (2009), consumers purchase the products not only for material possessions but for social needs also.

Nowadays, instagram is capable of turning housewives into successful fashion designer, or a banker into a photographer. This concludes that now people prefer to become an instagram influencer rather than traditional profile jobs, and increase the followers with their own personal brands. Apparently, the word “famous” represents something significant which most of the people are looking for in the future.

As influencer marketing grows, big influencers such as well-known celebrities are becoming more expensive for business. So, companies take the help of insta-famous celebrities as the micro influencers for influencer marketing of their product in the right budget. These Micro influencers do not have any celebrity outreach but they are very influencing and popular among their followers. At very first the small brands select their target customers and then they look for a nontraditional celebrity i.e. an instagram influencer having the maximum number of target audience as followers. The simple mantra for the brand to increase its number of followers and achieving the objective of the company is to work with the right influencer for targeted audience. For example, a cosmetic brand achieve better results in sales by working with a rising beauty blogger with 50k followers rather than a famous celebrity makeup artist or beautician who may ask for 10 times of their budget.

McCracken (1989) defined celebrity endorser as

“Any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement.”

Since ages celebrity endorsement in advertising is prevalent and researches have shown a significant relationship between the endorser and buying behavior. Online platforms are currently very prevalent for celebrity endorsement. In the last few years, it is observed that in digital marketing micro influencers such as bloggers and ‘Instafamous’ personalities has increased massively. These instafamous celebrities have an ability to transform an unidentified or new brand into a well-known brand through their pages and profiles by creating an optimistic association among their social media followers. The reason of usage of instafamous celebrity endorsement on social media is to add value to the products or services offered. An individual is likely to copy the style of their favorite instafamous celebrity so as to obtain a similar degree of feedbacks which the celebrity receives on his/her instagram account.

Instagram has coined as the most prevalent SNS, which has benefited the influencers in rising to fame through their budding followers. Consumers perceive individuals with a large number of followers as more attractive and trustworthy (Source Credibility Theory), which effects consumers purchase behavior. Instagram has gradually developed as the most influential and credible source of information due to the increase in social media users and easy availability of internet via smart phones.

Literature Review

With the increase of the mobile users worldwide (Statista, 2016) marketers interest for advertising on social media through instagram has drastically increased. The online information sharing on public domain has not only benefitted the consumers in purchase decision, but also the marketers in generating electronic word of mouth (EWOM) (Cheung & Lee, 2012). The online customer reviews, play a twofold role; they provide information about the product to the customer as well as make recommendations for other users (Lee et al., 2008; Bingjia et al., 2010).

According to the different researchers the use of celebrity endorsements helps in building the brands recognizable and creates positive attitude (Petty et al., 1983), enhance the likelihood of purchase (Friedman & Friedman, 1979), foster brand loyalty, and positively impact word of mouth (Bush et al., 2004). The customer’s positive attitude has a reasonable area of scientific inquiry in marketing (Huang, 2001). As per Ohanian (1990), the consumer’s interest in celebrity life has significant impact on the attraction level, which helps in influencing the customer by celebrity endorsements. Similarly, the positive perception that an individual generates about instafamous celebrity is likely to have significant impact on the buying behaviour (Kutthakaphan & Chokesamritpol, 2013). In addition to it, there are number of researches arguing that information shared by the reviewer or blogger about the product is more reliable than what is shared by a well-known celebrity (Camahort, 2016). Companies believe on ‘Instafamous’ phenomenon has enhanced and they assert that instafame leads to the path of achievement, they consider that success of the product completely relies on the influencer fan following. Influencer outreach has become an increasing focus for the companies as it is important that the influencer should be in line with the brand (Chahal, 2016).

S. No. Title of Paper Author/s Journal Year Findingsá
1 áThe Driving Forces of Facebook Social Commerce áAhmad Samed Al-Adwan and Husam Kokash Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research 2019 Tthe research model concluded that the interaction between trust in a SNS platform, familiarity with the platform, social commerce information seeking and social presence affect and shape customers’ intentions to purchase from e-sellers through Facebook social commerce. Based on the empirical results, familiarity, social presence, trust and social commerce information seeking have direct positive influences on social purchase intentions.
2 Impact of Social Media Marketing on Brand Experience: A Study of Select Apparel Brands on Facebook Beigá & Khan Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective 2018 The researchers concludedá that the content sharing and interaction have a positive significant impact on sensory, affective, behavioural and intellectual experiences.
3 Negotiating consumerism and feminism on instagram Mathilde & Hansen The 11th IEEE International Conference on Social Computing and Networking 2018 Most of the influencers are aware of their position as role model but are not necessarily in agreement.
4 Engagement with Social Media and Social Media Advertising: The Differentiating Role of Platform Type Hilde Voorveld, Guda van Noort, DaniŰl áMuntinga & Fred Bronner   Journal of Advertising 2018 The different functionalities and characteristics of social media platforms translate into different consumer experiences.
5 New media and commoditized motherhood: A focus group study on Instagram mother Rengim Sine, Damla Parlak Yorganci Route Educational and Social Science Journal 2017 The results conclude that Instagram moms and new media marketing process has a strong relationship as they prefer to purchase the products recommended by bloggers.
6 Social media usage, electronic word of mouth and purchase-decision involvement Shantanu Prasad, Ishwar Gupta, Navindra Totala Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration 2017 The research finds that social media usage and EWOM have positive impact on consumers’ purchase-decision.
7 Self Branding, ‘Micro Celebrity’ and the rise of social media influencer. Susie Khamis, Lawrence Ang, Raymond Welling Celebrity Studied 2017 The rise of ‘Insta-fame’ and pursuit of Instafamous Celebrities has effictively transform the social interactive and conversational media in this Information Age.
8 The influence of eWOM in social media on consumers’ purchase intentions: An extended approach to information adoption Erkan & Evans Computers in Human Behavior 2016 The results confirm that quality, credibility, usefulness and adoption of information, needs of information and attitude towards information are the key factors of eWOM in social media that influence consumers’ purchase intentions.
10 The influence of culture on instagram use. Al-Kandari, Ahmed A. Al-Hunaiyyan, Rana Al-Hajri Journal of Advances in Information Technologies 2016 This study confirms that males are more likely than female to post their personal pictures on Instagram, more likely to disclose their personal information and more likely to have public accounts unlike females who are more likely to have private accounts than males.
11 How Instagram can be used as a tool in social networking Marketing Huey Sook Lim, Dr. Rashad Yazdanifard Procedia-Social an behavioral sciences 2014 Instagram helps the marketers to get the feedback from the customers, which help them in formulating their marketing strategies.
12 The Use of Celebrity Endorsement with the Help of Electronic Communication Channel Kutthakaphan & Chokesamritpol Thesis. Society and Engineering; Malardalen University, School of Business 2013 The result shows that this advertising technique easily reach to consumers and help them to know the product.

The listed studies in Table 1 have studied the impact of celebrity endorsement towards online buying decision of the consumers. In the influencing process, information credibility of a follower from the celebrity endorsing the product is examined. There are number of studies in support that states that the most viable factor in eWOM acceptance is eWOM credibility (Anandarajan & Sivagami, 2016; Hajli, 2014; Bhatt & Bhatt, 2012; Trusov et al., 2009).

Table 1: Reliability Statistics
Cronbach's Alpha N of Items
0.95 9
KMO and Bartlett's Test
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. 0.909
Bartlett's Test of Sphericity Approx. Chi-Square 1559.446
Df 036
Sig. 0.000

As the importance of influencer marketing in purchase decision making is acquainted, online markets, put into action a review feature, that allow users to vote for reviews. In academia, researchers are interested to study the impact of reviews on consumers’ buying behavior, keeping the focus on influencing factors (Wang, 2017; Bannister et al., 2013; Dennis et al., 2010; Trusov et al., 2009). Although, the researches done previously also concluded that the reviews has significant effect on consumer purchase decision (Laroche et al., 2013; Lee, 2013; Pate & Adams, 2013). Thus in this study, researcher try to study the influence of instafamous celebrities on consumers’ buying behaviour.

Research Methodology

Research Objectives

1. To identify the factors that affect the consumer buying behavior with reference to Instagram.
2. The study also investigates the source credibility of Instafamous Celebrities on consumers buying intention.
3. To analyze the influence of Instagram celebrities on the consumers’ buying behavior.

Data Collection

The data for the study was collected using a questionnaire. The study was carried out among college students in Uttarakhand public universities, as 71% of the present users on instagram are below the age of 35 years (Statista, 2019). Hence, 400 young consumers were selected from different cities. The sample size calculation was based on Yamane (1967) formula. The sampling techniques used in selecting the respondents were convenience sampling and purposive sampling. The variables are measured at the ordinal level.

The respondents were asked to rate the study variables on a 7 point Likert scale (7 being Strongly Agree) and their behaviour on social media advertising was captured. A pilot survey of 25 respondents testing has been done in Dehradun. An iterative process of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed to assess and diagnose the reliability of the constructs. Thereafter, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to check the reliability and validity of the full measurement model. Finally, structural equation modelling was used to examine the hypothesized relationships between the variables.

Research Hypotheses

Based on the observations of the respondents, the study also wanted to confirm whether these responses are true for consumers’ purchasing online. The following hypotheses have been formulated to evaluate the applicability of these observations:

H1: The instafamous celebrity physical attractiveness influence consumers’ purchase behavior.

H2: The income level of consumers following instafamous celebrity influence consumers’ online buying behaviour.

Results and Discussions

Primarily, to check the reliability and validity of the questionnaire, Cronbach’s alpha, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) and Bartlett test were performed. The value of 0.91 for Cronbach’s alpha indicates good internal consistency of the items in the scale. Similarly, the value of KMO was 0.909 and statistically significant values for Bartlett’s test for sphericity (p<0.05) indicated that factor analysis is appropriate Table 1.

Sample Profile

The age-wise composition of the sample respondents indicates that 262 (65.5 per cent) respondents belong to the age group of 20-29 and 138 (34.5 per cent) are between 30-35 years of age. Likewise, 120 were married, 280 are bachelor. The economic parameters of the respondents are provided in figures below. The data reveals that a significant proportion of the respondents are highly qualified. In total, 300 of them are having a post-graduate degree and 26 are doctorate Figure 1. Also, 80 per cent of the respondents are working in private job. A small proportion is also in teaching proportion Figure 2.

Figure 1: Qualification

Figure 2: Profession.

From Figure 3, it can be inferred that majority of the respondents (38 per cent) are having a monthly income between INR 20,000 to INR 40,000. Only 21.5 per cent of the entire sample is having an income of less than INR 20,000 monthly. It shows that the sample respondents are fairly from well off educated families and most likely to have the capacity to purchase online.

Figure 3: Monthly Income.

Findings of Objective 1

To examine the relationships between the likelihood of physical attractiveness of instafamous celebrity and purchasing behaviour, the correlation between the two variables are calculated and the result is presented in Table 2. It can be clearly stated that the instafamous celebrity physical attractiveness affect much to consumer buying behavior as the correlation coefficient is 0.876. Consumers are appealed by the physical attractiveness and will purchase the product endorsed by them. Further Table 3 represents the correlation between the variables, the correlation between knowledge and reliability is least i.e. 0.382 which represents that the consumers consider knowledge but are not much influenced by it while purchasing the product.

Findings of Objective 2

According to Jain (2016), the increase in income of any individual has a positive spin-off effect on the disposable income. This will indulge in impulse buying behavior of the person. This proposition is measured in this objective by calculating the correlation between the income level and purchasing behaviour of consumers in India. The study result reveals that the income of the consumer affect their buying behaviour and the first hypothesis is accepted Table 2. However, it is found from the survey that the purchasing behaviour of the different income group women is different which is quite obvious. It can be infer that as the consumers have developed as an important segment for the marketers in India, therefore, the marketers should consider them with utmost importance in buying decision process (Le Roux & Maree, 2016).

Table 2: Correlations Between The Variables
  Beautiful Sexy Good
looking
Expert Experience Trust Reliable Confident Knowledge
Beautiful 1 0.785** 0.706** 0.698** 0.507** 0.575** 0.497** 0.431** 0.586**
Sexy   1 0.758** 0.684** 0.413** 0.571** 0.498** 0.463** 0.496**
Good looking     1 0.807** 0.493** 0.579** 0.552** 0.521** 0.583**
Expert       1 0.525** 0.570** 0.531** 0.518** 0.582**
Experience         1 0.425** 0.393** 0.401** 0.594**
Trust           1 0.598** 0.476** 0.429**
Reliable             1 0.404** 0.382**
Confident               1 0.450**
Knowledge                 1
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
Table 3: Correlations
  Income Purchase
Income 1 0.876**
Purchase 0.876** 1

Findings of Objective 3

One of the primary objectives of this study is to find out the factors that influence Indian consumers to purchase online. The study considered various parameters including beautiful, sexy, good looking, expert, knowledgeable, trust, confidence, etc. as the plausible aspects to explore the various dimensions of impact of celebrity endorsement on social media advertising. The respondents were asked to rate their agreement level on a 7 point scale (7 being Strongly Agree) with respect to online purchase. Table 4 shows that they are inclined to have positive opinions on all the parameters as all the ratings of average responses are more than 4 with very moderate standard deviation. Hence, the survey definitely observes lots of satisfactory effects of online purchase by Indian consumers.

Table 4: Descriptive Statistics
  N Mean Std. Deviation
Beautiful 400 4.3179 0.90708
Sexy 400 4.3857 0.85335
Good looking 400 4.3393 0.84601
Expert 400 4.2821 0.75641
Experience 400 4.4036 0.78945
Trust 400 4.7321 0.70904
Reliable 400 4.6929 0.73679
Confident 400 4.7643 0.62247
Knowledge 400 4.5857 0.62192
Valid N (list wise) 400    

However, the study further tried to identify which are the major factors from the above observations (see Table 5) that influence significantly in online purchase. The study adopted Principal Component Method to extract the components. The components which exhibit more than one Eigen Value are taken as principal components. As highlighted in Table 5, the first three components whose Eigen value is greater than one (5.381, 1.802 & 1.695 respectively) together explain 76.42 per cent variations in the model, the number of principal components have been taken as three.

Table 5: Total Variance Explained
Component Initial Eigenvalues Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings
Total % of Variance Cumulative % Total % of Variance Cumulative %
1 5.381 59.790 59.790 2.956 32.840 32.840
2 1.802 8.912 68.702 2.026 22.514 55.355
3 1.695 7.718 76.420 1.896 21.065 76.420
4 0.605 6.721 83.141      
5 0.413 4.591 87.732      
6 0.383 4.260 91.992      
7 0.339 3.767 95.759      
8 0.221 2.458 98.217      
9 0.160 1.783 100.000      
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

Finally, after estimating the loading of variables on each factor, a Varimax with Kaiser Normalization rotation has been performed to ensure the orthogonality between the factors. The Rotated Component Matrix, presented in Table 6, exhibit the final loading of individual variables on each identified component. Further, as per guidelines of Hair et al. (2013), the study considered 0.40 as cut off factor loading for a sample size of 400.

The variables are distinctly loaded on any of the three identified components. Therefore, the three factors may be acknowledged with their respective variables and the result is summarized in Table 7.

The CFA was conducted for this measurement model in AMOS 18 (Figure 4). An analysis of regression weights and covariance residuals was done. Table 8 gives the details of fit indices of the measurement model. The CFA shows a reasonable fit of the measurement model (X²/DF = 4.610, GFI = 0.960, RMSEA = 0.06, CFI = 0.944). After assessing the fitness of the measurement model, where latent variables showed their distinctiveness, the structural relationships between the constructs was tested (purchase intention did not show discriminant validity with other variables, but looking at the CFA results, and composite reliability results for the variable, it was retained in the model).

Figure 4: Measurement Model In Amos 18.

In the present era of digitization, the celebrity endorsement on social media and its influence on consumer buying behaviour deserve a closer attention from the researchers and marketers. Online consumers apart from shopping also generate online support for their peers which help in establishing trust on social media and affect their buying behaviour. In this research the prime focus is on Indian consumers, to analyze and evaluate their perception and behaviour towards social media advertising. Thus the research shows how celebrity endorsement trust and influence impact consumers’ intention to buy through social networking sites. A demographic variable such as income does play a significant role in influencing the online purchase behaviour.

In a nutshell, Insta-famous celebrities power a trustworthy relationship with the consumers, develop high engagement with the followers and guide them in their buying decisions. These buying decisions are mostly based on an influencer’s direct recommendations and tagged suggestion. The research shows that more and more, consumers are looking to bloggers and reviews before they buy the product. It is found that the instafamous celebrities are considered to be more honest and transparent than the celebrity, which drives their credibility over the celebrity. 83% of Instagrammers say they discover new products and services on Instagram (Facebook, 2019). This reveals that consumers are using Instagram as a channel to take inspiration for their purchase.

Conclusion

Instagram is not just introducing the brand to customers’, however it is also bridging the gap between buyers and sellers, by further introducing options like Instagram shopping and Instagram checkout. The impact of using Instagram is observable by marketers as it plays an important role at every step of customer’s purchase process. Buyers are looking for inspiration through Instafamous celebrities and researching the products on instagram before they finally purchase the product.

According the research by Mention (2018), 50% of Instagram users follow at least one business which means that businesses on instagram have a great opportunity to increase their customer base. It assists in increasing the sales of both local brand and businesses around the world. As per Facebook (2019), Instagram assists 80% of its users in buying decision. The report on Instagram users reflects that most of the users purchase decision is usually based on what they saw on instagram. Thus, it can be concluded that the instafamous celebrities play an important role in influencing the online buyers, so if company is not promoting on Instagram they are missing out huge opportunity.

Futre Scope

Hence, in the future study can be conducted on other geographical area by increasing the number of respondents, cities or states. The scope of the study can be extended by making it product specific such as apparels, electronic products, etc. This study has studied about micro- influencers only on Instagram which can be extended to other social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. This study considered only income as one of the factors while other factors such as education can also be considered for the further research.

References

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