The important boom in influencers has motivated companies to consider them as an appropriate tool for promoting their brands. Their presence in the digital communication plans of companies also aims to improve their image and provide value to the consumer through social media. But it is these same companies that question the real return on their investment, and rely more on intuition and ‘trial and error’ when using this resource. The degree of efficiency was still to be empirically validated, something in which two UAL professors, David Jiménez and Raquel Sánchez, from the area of Marketing and Market Research of the Department of Economics and Business of the University of Almería, have worked, resulting in a definitive study published in the International Journal of Information Management.
The study contributes to a better understanding of the persuasive power of ‘influencers’, by determining to what extent this power acts on the consumer behaviour of followers, in particular, forming and developing specific attitudes and behaviours.
In the research on influencer marketing, the analysis of its effectiveness in terms of certain cognitive-affective and behavioural responses of followers, derived from the persuasive impact of these influencers through the information they transmit about brands, has not been deepened until now. Jiménez and Sánchez have therefore established new implications through their interesting work, entitled ‘The role of digital influencers in brand recommendation: Examining their impact on engagement, expected value and purchase intention’. In order to examine whether influencers really have a sufficient level of influence to motivate their followers behaviour as consumers of the promoted products and/or services, they have analysed the effects of this potential influence on engagement towards the brand (analysing this concept as the propensity of followers to identify with the brand), the expected value of the brand and the purchase intention of the recommended brand.
From a sample of 280 followers of influencers, scientists have demonstrated that the perceived influence has a significant effect on the three variables considered, in addition to the fact that these variables are also related to each other. The study contributes to a better understanding of the persuasive power of influencers by determining the extent to which this power acts on the consumer behaviour of followers, in particular by forming and developing specific attitudes and behaviours. In this way, it is empirically validated that ‘influencers’ who enjoy perceptual influence over their followers can generate greater engagement, greater expected value and, ultimately, increased purchase intent. Therefore, the results show the desirability of using influencers marketing to companies, but with one condition that should not be forgotten: as long as these influencers have some degree of influence over their followers in perceptual terms.
This means that when companies have to decide on the suitability of one ‘influencer’ or another to promote their brands, they should complement the objective measures traditionally considered, such as the number of followers or ‘likes’, with an evaluation of them through perceptual measures, such as that proposed in the article. It is also suggested that influencers can be used as a promotional tool when the company’s objective is to increase value expectations about its brands, to make individuals feel identified with its brands and/or to test its products or services.