Consumer Desires to Follow Brands on the Social Networking Site Instagram

Sandra Karina Conrad

Student thesis: Master thesis


The social networking site Instagram is a steadily growing community with increasing numbers of consumers that use its possibilities for self-expression and communication. As it is one of the most popular social networking sites, also brands are represented with profiles on Instagram to get in touch with customers. To increase the success of brands on Instagram, the actual drivers of consumers to follow a brand need to be identified. Hence, the purpose of this thesis is to discover the underlying desires of Instagram consumers to follow brands on this social networking site. Thereby, focus is given on exploring experiences and the feelings of desire of Instagram users as well as how brands on Instagram can facilitate the extension of the consumer’s self. Based on an interpretive, qualitative research approach, ten interviews were conducted. This investigated research study consists of female German consumers, aged between 18 and 29. The findings indicate that the desire to follow brands on Instagram develops on the one hand from a desire for self-extension. Consumers follow brands to define themselves, to present themselves, or to conserve their personal memories on Instagram which ultimately leads to an extension of the consumer’s self. On the other hand, consumers follow brands on Instagram to satisfy occurring feelings of desire. These feelings are the desire for inaccessibility, otherness, and sociality. The findings are interesting for marketers, since they provide an understanding of consumer consumption behavior and how to effectively approach consumers with marketing activities on Instagram

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages74