The dominance of Instagram influencers in marketing

Blogpost written by Vinh Nghi Ha and Zahara Kalanda

“Ignoring [Instagram Influencer Marketing] is like opening a business but not telling anyone.” KB marketing Agency

Key points:

  • Identifying and choosing the right influencers who will affect a brand´s target audience is key.
  • The perceived value of Instagram influencers is definitely influenced by their number of followers
  • A high number of followers is undeniably cool, but is it always true influence?
  • A unique product is important in order to set a brand apart from its competitors

Instagram Influencers: Why the fuss?

Curiosity killed the cat. First and foremost who is an Instagram influencer? This is a person with a large number of followers who is able to sway their followers´ consumption behaviour, this is done by posting content in either video, photographic or interesting statement (meme) format, with a link referring to a product/service of their interest. Every time a viewer sees the content, they see the link besides it, and usually there is a relationship between the content posted and the product/service of interest, either directly or indirectly.

Instagram influencers have accumulated a large number of followers, whom when shown the right product/service, will take the bait by clicking on the link associated to the product, viewing it and further making a purchase, now that’s powerful!

Most of us if not all of us have seen numerous sponsored posts on our Instagram feeds before, and perhaps went on to click on a link or more.

Every time a viewer buys a product by clicking the link, the influencer earns a commission.


With the rise of influencers on social networks, many brands meet difficulties in determining accounts that could bring huge potential benefits to future target audiences. Another challenge they face is determining how content related to their goods/services is to be communicated between various entities on social networks. For example how to generate multiple shares, likes among others.

Since many consumers can freely express their brand preferences including brand information and product reviews over virtual interactions, consumption has definitely become personal, a whole way of life. Consumers use brands to communicate their identity and in turn assess others based on their consumption behaviour, a phenomenon that has shed light on the fact that consumers´ decisions are influenced by interpersonal sources thus giving Instagram influencers the centre stage.

Electronic word of moth #Instagram

Traditional marketing tactics like email marketing, constant pop-up ads on various websites among others, has led to the advancement of ad-blocking software and spam clicks, hence influencer marketing has been alternatively applied by brands, especially on Instagram. Rather than pushing their ads to their target audience, brands are turning to trusted online personas to get their products and messages out to the consumer. However, despite its growing use, there has been little experimental research on the phenomenon of influencer marketing.

Proven facts

Before we delve deeper, please note that an opinion leader is an influencer whose opinion about a product/service has a big influence on the opinion of others about it, for instance a situation where you might decide to purchase a certain perfume simply because your favourite celebrity has recommended it and they recommended you should click the link below, well that’s it.

In this study , various Instagram accounts with the same profiles and different degrees of followers from low to high were created. The study explores which Instagram influencer is the best marketing choice in terms of number of followers. In order to achieve this, the questions asked were whether one’s number of followers contributes to his/her status as an opinion leader and how it affects general likeability towards him/her.

It was found that Instagram influencers with a high number of followers are perceived as more popular and likeable which in turn leads to increase in ascribed opinion leadership.

Hence it was found that the more followers an influencer had, the more it positively affected the attitudes towards them. for the most through higher perceptions of popularity and for a small part because these higher perceptions of popularity lead people to ascribe more opinion leadership to the influencer

However this perception of popularity does not always lead to opinion leadership. Do you agree?

The thin line between followers and followees


As the common saying goes too much of anything can be bad, there is also a downside to having many followers. The study further portrayed that a high number of followers combined with low number of accounts followed by the influencer can be a recipe for disaster which lowers the trust and credibility of users towards the endorser yet authenticity should precisely be the strength of collaborating with influencers. Let us contemplate about this for a moment as would be consumers by asking ourselves the following questions; Is he/she only focusing mainly at commercial collaborations?, Is this a false account created for advertising purposes?, does she/he see us, care about us his/her followers and can we trust him/her? Among others. Believe it or not, these questions would most likely either push you or hold you back from tapping that link posted by such an influencer.

The product design matters, too

Distinct design products are those that have unique recognisable designs and attributes that set them apart from similar products on the market. The iPhone is a great example of such a product, not only is its appearance different from other phones on the market, so is its mobile operating system the iOS.

The study revealed that such Distinct design products contributed to higher perceived brand uniqueness, consequently fostering more positive attitudes towards the brand.

Interestingly, these positive attitudes towards the brand were more pronounced when the influencer had a moderate number of followers compared to a very high number, simply because the lesser the followers  the less common the product appears to be and the reverse is true.

Wrapping it up

In conclusion, while a high number of followers generally enhances influencer likability, this effect depends on factors such as the number of followees. Additionally, the impact of product design on brand attitudes is nuanced, with the influencer’s follower count influencing the effectiveness of product divergence. These insights provide valuable considerations for marketers aiming to navigate the complexities of influencer collaborations on social media platforms like Instagram.

Penny for your thoughts?

A lot is lacking when it comes to emphasizing the need for brands to consider factors beyond follower counts when selecting influencers. Hence suggesting that the evaluation criteria should encompass various attributes like content quality and engagement.

Brands should invest more in Instagram influencer marketing for there is no doubt that Instagram influencers are increasingly popular and affecting consumers’ attitudes, perceptions, preferences, choices, and decisions.

Furthermore, brands need to focus on the product design itself and find ways of standing out on the market, for its not always only about the number of followers an influencer has. But a unique product is popular too.

Overall, the findings provide valuable insights for marketers aiming to optimize influencer marketing strategies in the dynamic landscape of social media advertising.

What’s your opinion on this?, we would like to here your thoughts and any experiences you have had with influencer marketing on Instagram and other social media platforms. Please comment below.



 De Veirman, M., Cauberghe, V., & Hudders, L. (2017). Marketing through Instagram influencers: The impact of number of followers and product divergence on brand attitude.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert