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Credible or not

A study on the factors influencing consumers’ credibility assessment of product placements on Instagram

Written by E. Kulin, L. Blomgren

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Thesis: The credibility in advertising Tseng & Fogg (1999) proposed that consumer needs are essential in the process of understanding, because it determines the individual's judgment on credibility. If consumers feel a great need to receive information, the degree to which consumers believe that information is credible will increase. Reputation has been declared as a communicator of brand and product characteristics (Erdem & Swait, 2004). Therefore, when measuring credibility, consumers use the product information contained in the brand to determine their confidence in the authenticity of the message. In order to consider this process to be successful from the perspective of credibility, it requires consumers to believe that the company has the ability and willingness to fulfill its promises (Erdem & Swait, 2004). This explains well how some researchers choose to define credibility as something credible and fair (Gazian & MacGrath, 1986; Rimmer & Weaver, 1987; Shaw, 1973). Similarly, another similar explanation for credibility can be found in the definition of advertiser credibility, which is explained by the degree to which consumers believe that the advertisement is capable of executing based on the stated information (Herbig & Milewiez, 1995). MacKenzie & Lutz (1989) extended this statement and defined the credibility of advertising as the honesty and truthfulness of advertising sponsors. Therefore, the definition of advertiser credibility can be summarized as including advertisement credibility and source credibility. 2.2.1 Reliability as a factor that affects effectiveness affects the result. When reviewing the literature on this subject, Wathen & Burkell (2002) found that credibility is one of the criteria consumers use when filtering information. Therefore, information that is considered untrustworthy will lead to a decrease in influence, which means that credibility is a necessary factor in any process designed to influence knowledge, attitude or behavior. It has been observed that the effectiveness of advertising takes the form of various results. In celebrity endorsements, trust and credibility are important in forming higher purchase intentions (Jimenez & Medoza, 2013; Martin-Santana & Beerli-Palacio, 2013). Early research confirmed this, and the research also concluded that there is a direct relationship between purchase intention and the credibility of celebrity endorsements (Goldsmith & Lafferty, 1999). Credibility is also believed to affect the persuasion process. Research on comparative advertising shows that loss of credibility is the main reason. 2.2.2 The credibility factor Based on a literature review on the subject of advertising credibility, Wathen & Burkell (2002) reached a general consensus on how message credibility is the product of the interaction between the three characteristics. They are identified as source, message, and recipient characteristics, each of which involves several factors that lead to the perception of credibility. Similar characteristics have been discussed by different researchers, and they are almost the same as those determined by Wathen & Burkell (2002). For example, Wilson & Sherell (1993) considered the medium to be an important feature rather than the recipient, while Slater & Romer (1993) found more detailed issues related to Wathen & Burkell's characteristics, such as the quality of the message. The characteristics of Wathen & Burkell (2002) can be considered reasonable because they are consistent with the three major elements of the communication process; sender, channel and receiver (Schramm & Roberts, 1977). Wathen & Burkell (2002) acknowledged that the establishment of new media may introduce other factors that affect credibility, but it is currently regarded as a lack of appropriate research and cannot play an important role in examining the impact of credibility. On the contrary, compared with the channels suggested by Schramm & Robert's (1977) communication process, they pay more attention to the role of information related to credibility. Factors within the source characteristics According to some scholars, credibility is determined to be composed of two main factors and evaluated based on two main factors: professional knowledge and credibility (Fogg et al., 2001; Ohanian) , 1990), and can be classified as a source feature for credibility assessment (Wathen and Burkell, 2002). Professional knowledge is considered a knowledgeable, experienced and competent source in the literature (Fogg et al., 2001), which is further interpreted as having the professional ability to review products or brands (Ohanian, 1990). It should be noted that it is the consumer who determines whether the source is professional (Ohanian, 1990). Although some researchers believe that professional knowledge is a factor that affects credibility assessment, a study on the placement of blog products found that professional level has no significant impact on the effectiveness of the placement (Chiou et al., 2010). Therefore, the level of importance of element expertise in the context of source characteristics may be questioned in terms of product placement. Although the previously mentioned research focuses on the effectiveness of product placement, rather than direct credibility. Credibility, as the second determining factor in the source characteristics of credibility assessment, is interpreted as: a source of goodwill, truthfulness and impartiality (Fogg et al., 2001). Read Less