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Instagram Influencers’ Effects on Users’ Time and Purchases

The Effect of Instagram Users’ Time on Perceptions of Influencers and Subsequent

Purchases

Rory Anderson, Sydney Bateman, Kaylee Bott

Aaron Murdock, Jackson Overlund, Taylor Allen

Utah Valley University
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

INTRODUCTION/RATIONALE

In our lifetime, we have seen social media and technology essentially take over different

perceptions and thoughts on how people view themselves as a person and how they might see

others. Instagram has become a significant part in many people's everyday lives and it consumes

a vast majority of people's free time. However, we want to discover how spending time on

Instagram and the people someone chooses to follow might affect his or her life. Instagram has

800 million active users as of September 2017 (Statista, 2017). This statistic shows how effective

Instagram is at appealing to individuals and how many people have the social media account.

Influencers are all around us, consisting of famous athletes, bloggers, celebrities, experts, and

many others that are constantly influencing us and the things we pay attention to or even buy

from Instagram. Recently, Instagram has started allowing ads to show up throughout a person’s

feed; this is where the inclination to purchase items one might see an influencer wear or promote

comes into play. We started our research with a hypothesis:

H1: Time spent on Instagram has an effect on user purchases and the perceptions

followers have about their influencers.

H0: Time spent on Instagram does not have an effect on user purchases and the

perception of followers about their influencers.

We focused on the literature review to find articles that gave us proof and knowledge that

we could use towards our project and research. Collecting data was the final most successful and

key contribution to our research. Using Qualtrics to gather information really benefited us
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significantly in various ways. We were able to break down the results and clearly see the impact

people and influencers had on each other through Instagram. The charts and information we were

provided with helped us see what opinions mattered most and how strongly someone might have

felt about that particular topic.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The common social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) are able to link to one

another’s pages, sites, and blogs. An important aspect of these interactions that they chose to

focus on is SNM (Social Network Media) viral marketing, a special form of eWOM available on

these social networks that allows and encourages consumers and producers to exchange opinions

and experiences with products and services. eWOM stands for electronic word of mouth, which

is “any positive or negative statement made about a product or company, which is made

available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet” (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004, p.

39).

Three Models of Purchase Intention

In a study done by Dedy Darsono Gunawan and Kun-Huang Huarng, they analyzed how

three popular theories can predict consumers’ purchase intention: Theory Reasoned Action

(TRA), Information Adaptation Model (IAM), and Perceived Risk. In this study they describe

social network media as relationships and interactions between a group of individuals.

Theory Reasoned Action (TRA) is a model to predict behavior. It states that “attitude and

subjective norms influence the intention to perform a particular behavior” (Gunawan, 2015 p.
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38). This means that when a consumer views something as a positive thing, they are more

influenced to buy the product. In contrast, when someone views a product that is contrary to

what they agree with, they are less likely to purchase it. This connected with our research

questions of whether or not social media users had a positive attitude towards their influencers.

We asked if they felt these influencers were honorable, moral, ethical, genuine, competent,

informed, expert, etc. We asked these questions with the same hypothesis or question that

Gunawan and Huarng had: whether users’ attitudes towards influencers positively or negatively

affected their purchase intentions and habits.

In this study they looked at the importance of viral marketing and the effects it has on

consumers’ purchase intention. They researched whether the managing and continuation of these

links, quotes, spokespersons, ads, etc. are all effective and worth the effort. In conclusion they

found that the “source credibility and social influence are critical in creating attitudes toward

information usefulness and subjective norms that lead to consumers’ purchase intention”

(Gunawan, 2015). They found that there is a positive relationship between influencer credibility

and the attitudes and intentions of consumers. They also found that the perceived risk is not an

important factor in influencing consumer purchases.

This particular study was, at the time, only conducted with a group of respondents in

Indonesia. In 2016, Indonesia was the second highest country for social network usage. As such,

these results are fairly representative of most consumers.

This study conducted by Gunawan and Huarng correlates strongly with the results we

found. Their initial questions of how TRA, IAM, and Perceived Risk effect consumers’ purchase

intention are very similar to many of our questions. We also asked how the status and perception

of Instagram influencers effects consumers purchase habits along with other factors.
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Online celebrities’ influence on young female Instagram users

Research done by Elmira Djafarova and Chloe Rushworth (2016) was similar to our own.

They narrowed this examination of social media down to just Instagram alone. More specifically,

they analyzed how celebrity influencers play a role in the purchase decisions of young female

users. Though we did not narrow our research to young female users specifically, this ties with

our own research theories directly.

Instagram has quickly become one of the largest SNS in the world, yet there is not much

research on it. Similar to our own study, they analyzed how certain profiles on Instagram can

influence purchase decisions. Namely, celebrities. As far as influencers go, celebrities are at the

top of the list. They are frequently used to deliver marketing communication messages to their

followers and typically have the highest number of followers (Djafarova et al., 2016, p. 1).

Another question we asked in our research was if users found their influencers as attractive and

trustworthy. In line with the Source Credibility Theory, “consumers perceive individuals with a

large number of subscribers as more attractive and trustworthy” (Djafarova et al., 2016, p. 1).

This emphasizes the use of celebrities to endorse products and ideas to SNS users.

An interesting factor that Djafarova and Rushworth explore is that of self-esteem and

self-control. They state that positively using social media generates positive feedback from

others online, thereby enhancing the users social self-esteem (Djafarova et al., 2016, p. 2).

However, their previous research also showed that “higher self-esteem among individuals online

lowers personal self-control, which can often lead to increased impulse purchasing and excessive

spending” (Djafarova et al., 2016, p. 2). They explain this in more detail saying that when self-

esteem levels are high and individuals are feeling positive they are more likely to lose their
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

rationality and act upon indulgent urges. They then make these irrational and impulsive

purchases online to satisfy their need for social acceptance and prestige. These purchases are

considered as more hedonic purchase decisions (Djafarova et al., 2016 p. 2).

Like us, they used a qualitative approach to reach their study objectives. They relied on

face-to-face interviews. They conducted 18 in-depth interviews with females between ages 18-30

who were considered active users of instagram, meaning they used it on a daily basis (Djafarova

et al., 2016, p. 3). All of the participants were from the same area North East of England. In

future studies they would prefer to widen their demographic to different locations and see if it

would yield the same results.

Their research found that the majority gave a lot of credibility to any product that was

displayed by a celebrity profile. One participant even claimed, “it must be good’ to warrant a

post by that celebrity” (Djafarova et al., 2016, p. 5). Along with this, they concluded that the

Halo Effect was very strong here. Many of the participants, when asked if they would purchase

something from a website unfamiliar to them because it was made known to them by a celebrity,

responded that they would (Djafarova et al., 2016, p. 5).

The results of this study are very significant and applicable to marketers. Considering the

findings that most female users are willing to make online purchases based on celebrity

endorsements, companies should work more to place these endorsements and gain that easy

marketing advantage.

Uses and Gratifications Theory and time spent on SNS

Taking the rising use of social network media in another direction, we analyzed the time

social media users spend online. Scott (2017) performed a similar study in 2017. They examined
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how users spent their time online consistent with the Uses and Gratification Theory (Scott et al.,

2017). Their study focused more on how frequently they use it and how engaged they are in their

use, whereas our study focused more their time spent on it and also how they felt about it.

This survey was given to about 250 adults in the U.S. from ages 18-27 with experience

using at least one social networking platform. They was an equal amount of men to women and

the participants were predominantly white. To measure this, they asked them how many minutes

they spent a day on social media, how often they visited any SNS, if social media was a part of

their daily routine, which days of the week they typically used social media, and for which SNS

they maintained an account (Scott et al., 2017).

In our own research we asked similar questions. Some of the questions we asked were:

how much time users spent online, how often they use it, number of times a day they open them,

how they used their time on social media, and if they felt like they spent too much time on these

SNS. This is where our studies differed slightly.

To measure how engaged they were, they asked their participants if they participated in

various activities on these SNS such as commenting on others posts, sharing videos, updating

their own status, sending private messages to others, etc (Scott et al., 2017). In our research we

didn’t ask direct questions to find engagement levels. However, by just analyzing the qualitative

data we received from certain questions, we are able to infer the engagement levels of our study

and find similar results. Questions that we asked about their attitude towards their time on social

media and the amount of time they spend are ones that would help us decipher their engagement

in social media.

The study done by Scott confirmed previous research that those who used social media

networks more frequently typically had more engagement with them (Scott et al., 2017). In
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addition to that, most of the people in the highest frequency group tended to use Facebook more

and have more friends on Facebook. They also found that the majority of participants in the high

frequency profile were white women (Scott et al., 2017). In conclusion they stated that they were

not sure whether their findings meant that this high usage of social media was an asset or a

liability. Another note was that the findings may differ in the future because of the size of the

group, all participants being in the U.S., and not that large of a racial demographic spread. These

are also factors that surely influenced our own data and we would hope to cover more bases in

the future.

Instagram use between collectivistic and individualistic cultures

A study conducted by Sheldon, Rauschnabel, Antony, and Car investigated motives for

using Instagram and resulting behavior among Croatian and American users (2017). They

compared the collectivistic Croatian culture with the individualistic American culture, examining

whether such cultural differences influence motivations for Instagram use.

Their participants were 253 American undergraduate students, 58% of them women, and

149 Croatian undergraduate and graduate students, 95% of them women. They were chosen

because this demographic, which is mostly millennials, has grown up using social media

(Sheldon et al., 2017). Like us, they measured Instagram use in hours per day and, relative to our

research, looked at how many followers individuals had.

Questionnaires were given to the students that first asked demographic information, then

motives for Instagram use. They considered five factors and created a composite score of means,

standard deviations and Cronbach’s alphas. The factors were Social Interaction, Documentation,
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

Diversion, Self-promotion, and Creativity, each of which is rather self-explanatory (Sheldon et

al., 2017).

The results (fig. 1) show that “Croatian students tend to perceive followers more as

friends with whom to socialize, whereas Americans are likely to consider them ‘fans’ or an

audience to which they might self-promote” (Sheldon et al., 2017, p. 648). They took the results

through a number of regressions and discovered that the cultures of each country do indeed

influence the motives behind Instagram use, including how American users focus mostly on self-

promotion, while Croatian users focus more on socializing (Sheldon et al., 2017).
Figure 1

Number of followers on influencer credibility

De Veirman, Cauberghe, and Hudders (2017) hypothesized the following: “For an

influencer with a high number of followers, we expect a positive effect of number of followers

on influencer likeability” (De Veirman et al., 2017, p. 804). They conducted a study involving

117 Instagram users, asking them to assess the credibility of certain profiles that had been
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

created for the study. The researchers created Instagram profiles, one male and one female. They

initially set the number of people each influencer followed at a lower amount: 32. Then they

changed it to 32,200 for some participants. They also started with lower numbers of followers

each influencer had: 2,100. Then they bumped that up to 21,200 (De Veirman et al., 2017).

What they found was that the influencers who followed more people and who had more

followers themselves were considered to be opinion leaders and, therefore, more credible than

those who had fewer followers and who followed fewer people (De Veirman et al., 2017).

This matches up with our study, where we wanted to see how people view the influencers

they follow. We asked whether an influencer purchasing more followers impacted a user’s

perception of that influencer, whether negatively or positively. Our study found that a person was

more likely to purchase something from an influencers even if they thought that influencer may

have paid for more followers, as discussed below.

Disclosing influencer advertising and its effect on behavioural intent

Evans, Phua, Lim, and June researched further than we did into the perceptions of

Instagram users about their influencers. They examined whether the perceptions of influencers

by their followers was negatively affected by adding language flagging an influencer’s post as

“Sponsored” or a “Paid Ad” (Evans et al., 2017). The issue is that followers are not aware that a

post may be a paid promotion instead of a personal endorsement, a form of potentially deceptive

advertising.

There were 237 student respondents (18.1% male) to a Qualtrics questionnaire asking

whether they would be likely to share a post, examining whether the determining factor was the

recognition of the post as a paid endorsement. To see if a participant recognized a post as an
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

advertisement they were given a 7-point Likert scale, 1 equaling strongly disagree and 7

equaling strongly agree. They were then asked why they did or did not think a post was an ad,

followed by a question about how they felt about the brand about the advertised brand using a 7-

point semantic differential scale. The next question also used a Likert scale, asking if the

participant would like to try the product advertised (Evans et al., 2017).

They found the following:

Therefore, it appears that under circumstances when the consumer understands that the

Instagram post is advertising, and they also remember a disclosure in that content, there is

a significant negative impact on attitudes and intention to spread eWOM (Evans et al.,

2017, p. 145).

This related to our research where we examined whether followers considered the

influencers they follow to be honest compared to if they think the influencers pay for followers.

We found a surprising result: those followers who believe their influencers had paid for

followers were still likely to purchase something those influencers recommended. This is similar

to the results of the study done by Evans, et al., where they found that when consumers saw a

brand disclosure they were not as likely to spread eWOM but their intent to purchase the items

the influencers had advertised did not change.

Perception of Facebook friends and purchasing decisions

A study conducted in Italy by Amatulli, Guido, and Barbarito in 2014 looked at, among

other things, the relationship between number and intensity of Facebook friendships, perceptions
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

of those friends as “cool”, and likeliness to purchase or make lifestyle changes based on those

friendships.

They used an emailed online survey to ask a final sample of 294 users (62.6% women

and 37.4% men) some 15 questionnaire items, using 7-point Likert scales to assess

influenceability on lifestyle choices, friendship intensity, friends’ perceived coolness, and

purchasing decisions.

What they found was that, for low-popular users (those who had few friends on SNS), the

intensity of friendships led to these users being more likely to make purchasing decisions and

lifestyle changes based on those friends’ recommendations. Amatulli, et al. attribute this to the

idea that friendship intensity is strongly related to friendship quality (2013). Our findings show

that Instagram users are more likely to purchase items recommended by those influencers they

perceive as having positive personal characteristics, which follows quite nicely with the results

found by Amatulli, et al. However, our findings suggest that many people still viewed these

influencers less as “friends” and more as “opinions leaders.”

METHODOLOGY

Our methodology was greatly influenced by the academic goals of the COMM 3020

research methods class. Our study was conducted through an online survey with both qualitative

and quantitative instruments to help us gain a foothold and experience the world of research. The

survey was conducted from February 16th until March 27th, 2018. Our participants were

selected through convenience and volunteer sampling. The survey was intended to be conducted

in the U.S. The survey was passed through word of mouth and social media links on Facebook,
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Instagram, and Twitter. The survey was made and recorded using Qualtrics software. We had 64

respondents and excluded four from our data analysis due to a majority of incomplete survey

instruments.

We chose not to poll demographic information on our samples. Initially this decision was

chosen to help keep our survey viable and short as a courtesy to those who would be taking the

survey. After compiling the data we regret not having this information. Our survey consisted of

four major instruments, with several individual heuristic questions. Our main instruments

included time use, influence, purchasing, and perception.

Time Use

Time use included six items: four qualitative items and two quantitative open response

items. This instrument was meant to determine the temporal investment a user placed in the

platform and the directionality of that investment. Participants were asked “How many times per

day do you open Instagram?” (ranging from “less than once” to “more than five(5) times per

day”); “How many hours do you spend on Instagram per day?” (ranging from “less than one” to

“more than four”); “When do you usually access Instagram?” (respondent asked to check all that

apply from morning, afternoon, evening, and late night). To determine the directionality of the

respondents attitude with their time use we asked them whether they use Instagram for their

professional work (“Yes” or “No” response). We also asked for open responses to “Do you feel

like you spend too much time on Instagram? Why, or why not?” and “Please describe how you

spend your time on Instagram”.

Influence
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

Influencers were defined as “Anyone you follow, but don’t necessarily know, because

you believe they have expertise in, or authority on, something you’re interested in.” The

influence instrument included six items, with one(1) being open response. This instrument was

meant to determine participants acknowledgement and understanding of Instagram influencers.

Participants were asked “Do you follow influencers on Instagram?” (“Yes” or “No” response);

“Do you influencers others?” (“Yes” or “No” response); “Do you feel that following influencers

has made your life better?” (“Yes” or “No” response); “Do you find your influencers physically

attractive? (“Yes” “No”, or “Some of them” response); “Do you think things that look good on

your influencers look good on you? (“Yes” “No”, or “Some of them” response); and “How do

influencers impact your life? (open response).

Purchasing

Our purchasing instrument included five items. This instrument was meant to determine

actual influence through purchasing behavior. The items included “Have you ever purchased

something because of influencers?” (“Yes” or “No” response); “What type of item did you

purchase? (respondent asked to check all that apply from fashion, fitness, personal care and

beauty, food items, technology, entertainment, personal development, or open response other

section); “What percentage of clothing and/or products you buy are because of influencers?”

(respondent asked to pick from categories ranging from 0% to 100%); “Have you ever paid

money to gain followers?” (“Yes” or “No” response); and “Do you think the person you follow

has paid to gain more followers?” (“Yes” or “No” response).
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

Perception

The perception instrument was adapted and used with general permission from James C

McCroskey. The intent of this instrument was to measure participants general perceptions of

their influencers credibility. There were 18 items in this instrument. All items were measured on

a 7 point Likert scale. Point 1 being “Strongly disagree” and point 7 being “Strongly agree”. The

items included “I perceive the influencers I follow as intelligent”; “I perceive the influencers I

follow as trained”; “I believe that the influencers I follow care about me”; I perceive the

influencers I follow as honest”; “I perceive the influencers I follow have my interests at heart”;

“I believe the influencers I follow are trustworthy”; “I perceive the influencers I follow as

experts”; “I perceive the influencers I follow are not self-centered”; I believe that the influencers

I follow are concerned about me”; “I perceive the influencers I follow as honorable”; “I perceive

the influencers I follow as informed”; “I perceive the influencers I follow as moral”; “I perceive

the influencers I follow as competent”; “I believe the influencers I follow are ethical”; “I

perceive the influencers I follow as sensitive”; “I perceive the influencers I follow as bright”; “I

perceive the influencers I follow are genuine”; and “I perceive the influencers I follow as

understanding”.
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

RESULTS

Time Spent on Instagram

Research questions one through six dealt with time our respondents spend on Instagram. Figure

1 shows a normal distribution of frequency of use throughout the hours of the day. Whether it

was how much time they were on Instagram, when respondents would use Instagram or how they

spent their time on the app—the

first six questions aimed to

capture a time variable. Our main

hypothesis states, “Time spent on

Instagram has an effect on user

purchases and the perceptions of

followers about their influencers.”

By asking the following questions

we gained insight first in to time.

RQ1: How many times per day do

you open Instagram? Figu
re 2
43% of respondents answered they opened Instagram two to five times per day. 47% of

respondents admitted they opened Instagram more than five times per day.

RQ2: How many hours do you spend on Instagram per day?

A majority (52%) responded they spent less than one hour on Instagram per day. The next

highest was 1-2 hours at 32% of respondents. 10% said they spent 2-3 hours/day. Only 6% spent

3-4 or 4+ hours on Instagram.
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

RQ3: Do you use Instagram for your professional work?

23% responded yes and 77% responded no.

RQ4: When do you usually access Instagram? Check all that apply.

Most respondents chose that they access Instagram in the morning (44 responses) and the

evening (46 responses). 33 respondents said they accessed it in the afternoon and 33 respondents

said they accessed Instagram late at night.

RQ5: Do you feel like you spend too much time on Instagram?

27 respondents replied yes. Wasting time or using the app as a filler was cited in 20 of the cases.

A couple of quotes from respondents: “Most of my time is for work but sometimes I do sacrifice

sleep because I don’t pay attention to the time at night I spend on it.” “Yes I do feel like I do

spend too much time just because I like looking at everyone’s posts and wishing I was doing or

had what they had.”

RQ6: Please describe how you spend your time on Instagram.

Every respondent replied they usually are just scrolling through their feed or discover page.

Influencers

The next section of questions deals with so called “influencers” on Instagram.

RQ7: Do you follow influencers on Instagram?

75% of respondents said “yes” they do follow influencers. 25% said “no” they do not follow

influencers.

RQ8: Do you influence others?

71% responded “no” and 29% responded “yes.”

RQ9: Do you feel that influencers have made your life better?
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A majority (64%) chose no, and 36% chose “yes.”

RQ10: How do influencers impact your life?

Those who felt bad/envious about themselves or their lives: 8

Those who felt good about the influencers/motivated by them: 9

RQ11: Do you find your influencers physically attractive?

49% of respondents chose “some of them,” 26% said “yes” and 25% said “no.”

RQ12: Do you think things that look good on your influencers look good on you?

58% answered “some of them,” 30% answered “no” and 12% answered “yes.”

Purchases

RQ13: Have you ever purchased something

because of influencers?

About 52% said “yes” and 48% said “no.”

RQ14: What type of item did you purchase?

Check all that apply.

Of those who bought an item Figure 2 shows a

breakdown.

RQ15: Have you ever paid money to gain followers?

100% answered “no.”

RQ16: Do you think the person you follow has paid to gain followers?

60% responded that yes they did think their influencers paid to gain more follower. Where 40%

said they didn’t think their influencers paid to gain followers.

RQ17: What percentage of clothing and/or products you buy are because of influencers?
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

88% said less than 20% of their clothing/products were bought because of influencers. 10% said

20-40% and 2% said 41-60% of their clothing was bought because of the influencers they follow.

Perceptions

The next questions dealt with how followers perceive or felt about the influencers they

follow.

RQ18: I perceive the influencers I follow as intelligent.

RQ19: I perceive the influencers I follow as trained.

RQ20: I believe that the influencers I follow care about me.

Over 50% of respondents strongly disagreed or disagreed with this statement.

RQ21: I perceive the influencers I follow as honest.

RQ22: I believe that the influencers I follow have my interests at heart.

RQ23: I believe the influencers I follow are trustworthy.

RQ24: I perceive the influencers I follow as experts.

RQ25: I perceive that the influencers I follow are not self-centered.

RQ26: I believe the influencers I follow are concerned about me.

RQ27: I perceive the influencers I follow as honorable.

RQ28: I perceive the influencers I follow as informed.

RQ29: I believe the influencers I follow are moral.

RQ30: I perceive the influencers I follow as competent.

RQ31: I believe the influencers I follow are ethical.

RQ32: I perceive the influencers I follow as sensitive.

RQ33: I believe the influencers I follow are genuine.
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

RQ34: I perceive the influencers I follow as understanding.

Figure 3 Shows the significance of perceptions among followers. There is a significant,

positive correlation between perception and purchasing. The better followers perceive their

influencers to be the more likely they were to buy a product that the influencer used or promoted.

Figure 3 also shows a positive, significant correlation between purchases and influence. The

more followers felt influencers actually influenced them, the more likely they were to make

purchases.

Based on the results and figure 3, we would need to accept the null hypothesis. We see no

significant correlation between time spent on Instagram and purchases made.

Time_use Influence Purchasing Perceptions
Time_use Pearson Correlation 1 -.213 .075 .137

Sig. (2-tailed) .102 .568 .297

N 60 60 60 60

Influence Pearson Correlation -.213 1 .396** .244

Sig. (2-tailed) .102 .002 .060

N 60 60 60 60

Purchasing Pearson Correlation .075 .396** 1 .511**

Sig. (2-tailed) .568 .002 .000

N 60 60 60 60

Perceptions Pearson Correlation .137 .244 .511** 1

Sig. (2-tailed) .297 .060 .000

N 60 60 60 60

Figure 3
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

DISCUSSION

When designing our research project, we were looking for the best way to get the best

results to what we were researching. We discussed as a group what kind of questions we would

want to do whether if they were open or closed questions. The way we were able to decide on

which to use was by deciding which question would give us the very best results in order to

make the best correlations. Before we finalized our survey, we wanted to discuss as a group what

kind of limitations we were going to set on our survey, what kind of correlations we were

looking for and how we were going to perceive our results.

The way our survey was limited was by keeping it strictly on instagram. We were only

looking for results that would help us with how much influence these influencers actually have

on their followers. At first we were talking about how we wanted to see how social media as a

whole influenced people, but as we kept on talking about it, we narrowed it down to just

instagram so we could get some pretty concrete evidence that would be both interesting and

exciting to research. When we put it all together, we tried to put the best questions we could on

our survey that would help us get the best correlations we could.

Our survey questions were all about how instagram influencers influenced their

followers. A lot of the questions discussed how and why the followers think they are so

influenced by the influencer. Some of the correlations that we had were what we expected and

some of them were not. “If you believe that an influencer has paid to get more followers- you

also think that what looks good on them looks good on you”. This correlation in our results was

very shocking to us because we were not expecting this correlation. We believe that this result

can very easily create some new knowledge when it comes to the research on how much
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

influence the influencer has. If the influencer does not have to earn the followers, they just have

to buy them. Some more people may consider this and start to use the applications that would

allow them to purchase followers and become an influencer. To go along with this new

knowledge, there is another correlation that will add some solid backing to this. “If you think

they paid for followers, you are likely to see them as honorable”. This was another new

knowledge result, because as a group we did not expect this to come out of our survey just due to

the fact that we did not think that a lot of the followers put into perspective if the influencer

purchased or earned their followers. This was some of the new knowledge that our survey was

able to generate, we were also able to generate some results that will help add to our research.

With our survey, we were looking to get some solid results to where we could prove that

what we were researching was a legit idea. “Influencers for professional work are more likely to

feel they influence others”. This correlation was able to help us prove more and more about our

research. This is the kind of result we were looking for because our whole project has to do with

how much influence these influencers have on their followers. It was good to be able to think

about getting the influencers from different areas of expertise in on the research. It helped us to

see which influencer had the most influence due to their area of expertise. “If they use it for

professional work, followers are more likely to see influencers as trained, experts, honorable,

informed, morale, competent, sensitive, bright, genuine and understanding, perceive them as

being genuine is the strongest correlation”. This kind of result is exactly what you are looking for

when conducting a research project. The opinion of the follower is extremely important when it

comes to how they perceive the influencer. Without a positive outlook on the influencers, the

followers are highly unlikely to consider the influencers to even be an influencers or worth

following due to the lack of respect they have for them. With the followers having the respect for
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

the influencer, the influence is still capable to have their job. Getting into other areas of

expertise, we were able to see how other topics of influencing were perceived by their followers.

“Those who use it to buy beauty and personal care they believe their influencers have their best

interests at heart, are concerned about them, honorable and informed,morale, competent, ethical,

sensitive, bright, genuine and understanding”. With this being beauty and personal care related, it

makes a lot of sense that they would think that the influencer cares about them due to the topic

being a personal topic that can help the follower increase their beauty and personal care.”Those

who buy fashion from influencers consider their influencers to be informed,morale, competent,

ethical,bright and understanding”. Getting into the fashion side of the expertise we were able to

see that the followers have a very positive outlook on the people they consider to be their

influencers. We were also able to throw some questions in there about how much use and when

people use instagram.

It was important to us to find out when people used their phones the most because we

wanted to try and find out as much as we could about the followers. “More hours a day on it are

likely to buy fashion and personal care products”. We were able to come up with correlations

that were able to find the relationship between how much the follower goes on instagram and

what they are likely to purchase because of how much they use instagram. Another correlation

that will help create new information is the one between how much they open Instagram and how

many people they follow. This research was able to tell us that the more they open Instagram, the

more followers they are likely to have. This kind of result is going to help create new

information due to the fact of knowing that if the person is likely to open Instagram up more

frequently and follow more people because of it, more people might try and target this certain
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

group that does this. We were able to find some very interesting and new results due to our

research, but of course there are some things for future research to do differently.

Even though our survey was great and gave us great results, there are a few thing that we

wish we did differently in order to have a better outcome of the survey. When checking out our

results, we were able to find out what we missed. Not having demographic information was

heartbreaking. We knew how strong the questions were that were in our survey, but we realized

that without some of the demographics, our survey was not going to be as good as we have

hoped it would be. If we would have just figured to put the demographics such as age, gender,

location and so on. We would have been able to come up with some pretty good correlations that

would be exciting to share with others. For future research, we recommend that they take the

time to double check everything before they finalize it because they could miss something that

could be very important to the research they are doing.

CONCLUSION

To conclude, we were impressed with the overall results that we gained from the research

we have conducted about influencers on Instagram and they effect they have on users and

followers. It is amazing that just through something as simple as a social media site such as

Instagram, it can be that addicting and influencers can have that much an affect on someone. We

found that it is easier for someone to be influenced by a person that is very well known by the

community surrounding them or might be famous in anyway. If they are famous, the impact they

have is much more significant because they want to follow along and do what is trending to be

popular to gain more followers and attention through social media. Instagram has an effect on

users self-esteem, what you buy, what you wear, and the amount of time you spend on social
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

media. It is such a crucial way of communication in today's world that it is essential that you are

a user because you might have a fear of missing out or getting caught up on the new trends that

might be out there in the world.

If we were to do this study again or move on father along with our research, we would

aim to focus a little bit more on demographics and add to our questions we asked our volunteers.

Knowing the age and things of that nature of someone that is taking your survey and their

opinion on social media matters a lot because you need to know what type of person may be

responding to the questions you are asking to get more in depth feedback. Age is very crucial in

a survey including social media. Us as a group were very impressed with the overall feedback we

received from our research. It was very satisfying to know how successful we became by finding

out the results and realizing and learning the impact that Instagram influencers have on users and

followers everyday.
Anderson, Bateman, Bott, Murdock, Overlund, & Allen - Instagram Influencers’ Effects

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