When media matters: examining the effects of media richness and naturalness on parasocial interactions and purchase intentions within influencer marketing
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 22:16 authored by David Chidiac
This study examines the effectiveness of social media influencers by assessing the roles of media richness and media naturalness, in driving parasocial interactions and developing perceptions of authenticity and purchasing intentions. Two online surveys were administered via Qualtrics based on a Social Media influencer's YouTube and Instagram posts. They were distributed to members of a local university, and social media groups on Reddit and Facebook yielding 221 responses. Findings indicate that parasocial interactions were the largest driver of purchasing intent. This suggests that consumers who interact with influencers are more likely to engage in a purchase based on the influencer's recommendation and their own underlying opinions of the influencer. Additionally, media richness played a statistically significant role in driving perceived parasocial interactions, resulting in increased purchase intentions. However, media naturalness and authenticity were revealed to be necessary but not sufficient drivers of the parasocial interaction and purchasing intent processes. This suggests that whilst rich media is an important factor in predicting purchasing intent behaviours in a digital marketing context, consumers do not place as much importance in the authenticity and naturalness of a social media influencer's message. Therefore, managers should spend time utilising influencers who employ rich and detailed media within their published content and rely on a variety of media types when active in an online space. This study contributes to the understanding of the distinct drivers of parasocial interactions that specifically affect purchasing intentions and influencer effectiveness -- abstract.