Current Issue Summary
December 2022 (Vol. 62, Issue 4)
How the Impact of Social-Media Influencer Disclosures Changes over Time: Discounting Cues and Exposure Level Can Affect Consumer Attitudes and Purchase Intention
Previous research on social media influencer disclosures examined the effects of a single stimuli with only one exposure. But this work by the global research team Nathaniel J. Evans (University of Georgia), Delia Cristina Balaban and Meda Mucundorfeanu (both at Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania), and Brigitte Naderer (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich) explores the potential effects of repeated exposures. The study takes into account their effect on consumer skepticism—a key component of persuasion knowledge development. Persuasion knowledge can negatively affect consumers’ attitudes and behaviors (such as purchase intent) toward the promoted brand. The research also incorporates the “sleeper effect,” accounting for attitude change over time because of persuasive communication. Spoiler alert: Time heals.
Participants were shown Instagram influencers whose posts and stories varied between single- and multiple-exposure conditions. Of particular interest were the interaction effects of skepticism and time on brand attitude and purchase intention. A key finding: Multiple exposures lead to increased skepticism—hurting brand attitude and purchase intention in the short term. But these negative effects “dissipate over time.” Among other takeaways:
- “A single exposure to content from a social media influencer leads to lower levels of skepticism, which has a positive impact on both brand attitude and purchase intention.”
- Influencers should alternate branded and nonbranded content. “An appropriate integration of influencer marketing campaigns that considers the fit between brand and social media influencer,” along with a “well-rounded balance of content, is highly recommended.”
- Even for highly skeptical viewers, long-term effects prove that “a significant time delay may actually attenuate negative effects over time.”