Predictors of the Effectiveness of Celebrity Endorsement on Facebook

By Um, Nam-Hyun | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Predictors of the Effectiveness of Celebrity Endorsement on Facebook


Um, Nam-Hyun, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


I find it unsurprising that social media now represent an important advertising channel (Lee & Um, 2014). Celebrity endorsement has long been a popular advertising strategy in traditional media, with a celebrity or celebrities being featured in more than 25% of television commercials (Lee & Um, 2014). Thus, because celebrities are already known to be highly effective tools for advertising in traditional media contexts (Choi, Lee, & Kim, 2015), they are also likely to wield great influence in social media (Lee & Um, 2014). On Twitter, celebrities commonly tweet about brands they endorse, whereas on Facebook they commonly post status updates about the brand (Lee & Um, 2014). For example, on his Facebook fan page Roger Federer has 14,512,339 "likes" and 123,697 "talking about this" status updates regarding his endorsement of Nike (as of May 14, 2016). His Facebook fan page receives a great deal of traffic; thus, it serves as a media outlet that reaches target audiences. Celebrity endorsement has been widely studied in the context of television and print media. But little research has been conducted in the context of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Recently, however, celebrity endorsement in social media contexts has been receiving more attention from academia as well as marketing practitioners (Lee & Um, 2014), owing to consumers' heavy media consumption through these forums. Mitchell and Olson (1981) defined consumers' attitude toward a brand as an "individual's internal evaluation of the brand" (p. 318) and Kotler (1994) defined purchase intention as the likelihood that a consumer will buy a particular product. Finally, electronic word-of-mouth has been defined as "any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customers about a product or company, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet" (Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh, & Gremler, 2004, p. 40). My purpose in this study was to explore the inner workings of celebrity endorsement on social networking sites (SNS) in relation to these factors. The effectiveness of celebrity endorsement has been explained using prior theories and models of celebrity endorsement, including the source model (McGuire, 1985), the meaning transfer model (McCracken, 1989), match-up hypothesis (Kamins, 1990), and social identification theory (Tajfel, 1979), most of which have been focused on the relationship or interaction between a celebrity endorser and consumers. In a social media context, however, consumers are in control of information and experience a high level of interactivity (Bright, 2008), so celebrity endorsements may work differently on SNS compared to in traditional media. Consumer engagement, which refers to the act of participating in social activities by interacting with others (Achterberg, Kerkstra, Ooms, Muller, & Ribbe, 2003) and interactivity, which means the extent to which users can modify the form and content of a mediated environment in real time (Steuer, 1992), are heavily influenced by such factors as self-disclosure, social identity, and need for affiliation (Chu & Kim, 2011). To gauge their effectiveness, these factors should be investigated within a social media context; thus, I conducted this study to shed light on how celebrity endorsement works in social media.

Theory Development

Self-Disclosure

Self-disclosure is defined as "any message about the self that an individual communicates to another" (Gibbs, Ellison, & Heino, 2006, p. 155). Selfdisclosure plays an important role in relationship development (Derlaga & Berg, 2013) and in the social, psychological, and even behavioral aspects of disclosure (Im, Lee, Taylor, & D'Orazio, 2008). Chu (2011) suggested that self-disclosure plays a significant role in the use of SNS, including Facebook. For instance, when consumers join brand-related Facebook groups, this information is disclosed to their Facebook friends through status updates posted on the website. …

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