The increased use of web 2.0 throughout the last couple of years has awakened the interest of marketers, and initiated a new way of marketing known as influencer marketing. As influencer marketing has become a popular way of marketing, in the 21st century, there has been made some research within this area. However, in 2017 new rules and regulations regarding influencer marketing have been made internationally which emphasize that the influencers have to make it apparent when they post content which is sponsored. As these rules and regulations have been made quite recently, limited and country specific work regarding the effects of disclosed sponsored content on consumers exist. Thus, the gap in this area as well as the relevancy of this topic, have been the motivation for looking further into this. Therefore, this thesis aims to shed light on how disclosed sponsored content from bloggers affect the attitudes and behaviours of consumers, to see if influencer marketing is as effective as it has been before, when the bloggers have to disclose it when the content is sponsored. As this thesis aims to investigate the influence of sponsored content on the consumers, the emphasis will be on the consumers with only little attention given to the blogger and the company. To make the research more specific, the thesis limits itself to only look at young female consumers in their twenties, who consume fashion blogs. As for the methods, the thesis is based on a netnographic analysis of three sponsored blog posts, from three different bloggers, with different cultural backgrounds. These are supplemented with six semi-structured research interviews with young female consumers of fashion blogs. The findings of this thesis suggest that disclosed sponsored content is generally not as effective as the content from bloggers which does not seem sponsored. The reason for this is because the interviews show that the blog consumers tend to skip the sponsored posts because they feel like these posts generally do not seem as genuine as the non-sponsored ones. This is backed by the interviewees who feel like the bloggers who make sponsored content usually have other motivations, such as earning money, when making sponsored contents. Therefore, the consumers are only persuaded to buy products that are shown by bloggers who seem genuine. Thus, this thesis finds that misfit between blogger and sponsor, as well as lack of trust and credibility are factors which can lead the consumers to susceptibility, when seeing a persuasive message. This shows that the personal aspect and the reputation of the blogger are important for the consumers, as consumers are only persuaded by the marketing messages of bloggers who seem trustworthy and credible. Therefore, it is important that there is a fit between the blogger and the sponsor, in order for the advertising message to seem genuine and thus attractive for the consumer. Furthermore, the findings also show that the level of brand awareness can also have a positive impact on the behavioural intent of the consumers. Thus, this thesis concludes that a lack of trust and credibility, fit between sponsor and blogger, as well as brand awareness are factors which can lead to susceptibility and thus have a negative influence on the behavioural intent of the consumers. However, if these are positive the behavioural intent of the consumers is likely to become positive. Also, the findings show that when comparing advertising through bloggers to traditional advertising, advertisement messages that are communicated through bloggers are usually received more positively. The reason for this is because the blogger is more likely to reach out to the right target group, as the findings show that the consumers choose to follow bloggers who they can get inspired from and who reflect their actual or desired self. Thus, the inspirational factor which the blogger contributes with by communicating the advertisement message in a more creative way also have an influence in making the advertising message more attractive for the consumers. Hence, it is concluded that the disclosed sponsored content tends to affect the attitudes and behaviours of the consumers in a negative way, as most of the respondents tend to skip these posts. However, it is still an effective way of marketing, as consumers find blog advertising more effective than traditional advertising, such as those on the TV. Lastly, this thesis contributes to existing research within influencer marketing, by adding a new perspective to it, as this thesis sheds light on whether blog advertising is still as effective when the bloggers have to make it apparent, when their blog posts are sponsored.
|Educations||Master of Business, Language and Culture, Intercultural Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||168|