The state of influencer marketing through opinion leaders has shifted immensely throughout the last decade. Traditional influencer marketing heavily relied on celebrities and their popularity in order to market their products. Nonetheless, with the development and the establishment of social media this factor has changed, where now non-celebrities have gained immense power through their popularity on social media. Therefore, marketer have shifted their attention to the social media influencers and start utilizing them for their advertising strategies. It has been shown that consumers have a preference for visual communication, which has become through the nature of social media more and more important. Another aspect that is crucial in terms of marketing and SMI is the factor of source credibility. Literature argues that source credibility is highly important and has a significant effect on the consumer’s BA and the advertisement itself Therefore, it is possible to question the aspect of visual eWOM induced through SMIs, which does not reflect their image from the perspective of their audience. In order to answer such, it has been proposed that the visual alignment between the SMI and the brand itself has a significant and positive effect on their credibility and therefore BA. Therefore, the previously stated research question has been developed: To what extent does the visual depiction of social media influencers and brands’ Instagram posts - and their alignment - affect the social media influencer’s credibility, and the consumer’s brand attitude and purchase intention? Hence, an online experiment was conducted, which based on the hypotheses to answer this question. In order to obtain data on this manner, a quantitative approach was chosen to conduct analyses. Therefore, an experiment with six distinct visual conditions was created, were visual alignment was computed through topic modeling and computer-mediated distance calculations. Furthermore, the factor of source credibility was analyzed for its mediating effects on brand attitude. The analyses yielded diverse results, and demonstrated a negative mediation effect; meaning that whenever credibility is relevant the effect of visual alignment increases. Furthermore, it showed that visual alignment is a determining factor for credibility and brand attitude. These results add to the findings of existing literature and therefore, yield relevancy.

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Ju-Sung, J.
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Moucachen, Josef. (2019, July). Importance of Visual Alignment between SMIs and Brands A Quantitative Research. Media & Business. Retrieved from