Influencer Marketing Visual Attention and Engagement on Instagram: The Westwing Italia Case

Annalisa Bandera

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Westwing Group is a home and living company operating exclusively online. The Italian branch has recently collaborated with three Italian influencers to promote its private label furnitureon Instagram. Nevertheless, unlike clothes or jewellery, furniture is not “for personal use”. Thus, athree-steps experiment has been envisagedin order to verify whether digital influencer marketing is an effective promotional tool for Westwing Italia, able to engage the users and to direct their attention to the promoted products without generating confusionin the users.To do so, a sample has been exposed to twelve images selected fromWestwing Italia’s Instagram account, each of which belonging to one of the following categories: inspirational images, ‘shoppable’inspirational images, ‘shoppable’images and images featuring influencers.In the first step, the participants were asked to scroll through the images, simulating the usage of Instagram, to investigate if the images featuring influencers registered a higher engagement rate than the other categories. In the secondstep, the participants wereexposed to the images while being monitored with an eye-tracking system, to investigate which element captured their visual attention. Moreover, the sample was also asked to rate the likeableness of each image. In the third step, participants were asked to fill in a questionnaireasking them to rate the likeableness of each image and if they believed it had promotional purposes.Overall, images featuring influencers performed poorly compared to the other images; they registered the lowest engagement rate, as well as the lowest likeableness rate. Theinfluencerscatalysed the participants’ visual attention, who then did not look at the products promoted. Again, the participants could not tell what was being advertised in the images, even though the presence of influencers made clear they were advertisement. Thus, digital influencer marketing has proven to be unsuitable for Westwing Italia, which should instead leverage ‘shoppable’inspirational images –appreciated by the users –to lead the users further in the purchasing process, generating sales through itsInstagram profile.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages113
SupervisorsDaniel Barratt