Share your Research
01 February 2021
Social Media Influencer Advertising
Use of influencers – individuals who create social media content in exchange for compensation – is on the rise (Campbell and Grimm 2019; Voorveld 2019). In 2019, the U.S. spend on influencer advertising increased by 70.4% over the prior year, and influencer spend is predicted to increase in 2020 from 32.4% to $3.4 billion – the highest percentage growth out of all online advertising categories (Oster 2020). This has prompted a rapid increase in advertising agencies, marketplaces, and talent agencies devoted to influencer advertising. For example, Clutch.co (2020) now lists over 3,600 agencies specializing in influencer advertising.
While many celebrities act as influencers, a rich body of literature on endorsement by celebrities already exists (e.g., Kamins 1990; Ohanian 1990). For this reason, this Special Section specifically encourages research on influencers whose notoriety stems primarily from their work as an influencer and who were not famous before becoming an influencer. We are open to research investigating any type of influencer (e.g., nano-, micro-, macro-, or mega-influencers), but note that there is increasing industry interest in nano- and micro-influencers (Maheshwari, 2018).
To date, the majority of academic research on influencers tends to focus on the potential harm influencers may cause consumers. This primarily includes research on important issues surrounding use of disclosures and possible consumer deception (e.g., Campbell and Marks 2015; Campbell and Grimm 2019; Evans, Hoy, and Childers 2018; Kees and Andrews 2019; Wojdynski and Evans 2016). However, as influencer advertising matures and advertising spend in this area continues to increase, research should also offer insights on a wider range of issues.
In this Special Section on Social Media Influencer Advertising, we invite original manuscripts that develop theoretical knowledge of how advertisers can derive benefit from influencers. This responds to calls for better understanding the mechanisms through which influencer advertising works and how marketers can best leverage influencers (Voorveld 2019). For example, there are calls for additional insights on how influencers differ from traditional celebrities (Carrillat and Ilicic 2019), as well as how influencers should be selected and integrated within a larger advertising strategy. While research on these topics is emerging (e.g., Breves et al. 2019; Campbell and Farrell 2020; De Jans, Cauberghe, and Hudders 2018; Hughes, Swaminathan, and Brooks 2019; Lou and Yuan 2019), our hope is to stimulate further research in this area. In doing so, this Special Section also addresses broader calls for a more diverse and contemporary development of advertising research (Dahlen and Rosengren 2016).
We welcome submissions using all methodological approaches (empirical, analytical, or conceptual), and encourage prospective authors to review recently published papers in the Journal of Advertising to understand both the Journal’s rigor and style. Papers that combine or contrast several theoretical perspectives (e.g., Rosengren et al. 2020; Taylor, Franke, and Bang 2006) are especially encouraged.
Relevant topics for the Special Section might include, but are not limited to:
- What kind of communication objectives (e.g., awareness, purchase) are influencers most successful at accomplishing? What mechanisms can influence this?
- How does an influencer’s follower count (g., nano-, micro-, macro-, or mega-influencers) affect consumer response?
- How can influencer campaigns be effectively integrated with other types of advertising?
- How can advertisers predict which influencers are optimal for their campaigns? How do variables such as product category or brand characteristics moderate the effectiveness of influencers?
- How can influencers choose the right brands to work with, and the right number and mix of them?
- When do consumers view an influencer as a consumer? A celebrity? Entrepreneur? Brand? And, how does this view affect consumer response to influencer type?
- How is an influencer’s success affected by their choice of social media (e.g., YouTube vs. Instagram), or by specific content type (e.g., Instagram feed vs. story vs. IGTV)?
- To what extent does the quality of an influencer’s content affect success? If so, when and why? What role does creativity play in the success of influencers?
- How can influencers be best valued by advertisers? How can fraudulent or fake influencers be better identified?
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Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for the Journal of Advertising (JA). The word count should be no longer than 12,000 words for Original Research Articles and Literature Reviews, and 6,000 words for Research Notes (including references, tables, figures, and appendices).
All manuscripts should be submitted through the JAonline submission system, ScholarOne.
during January 15-February 1, 2021. Authors should select “SPECIAL SECTION: Social Media Influencer Advertising” as “Manuscript Type.” Please also note in the cover letter that the submission is for the Special Section on Social Media Influencer Advertising, and indicate whether the submission is an Original Research Article, Literature Review, or Research Notes.
- All articles will undergo blind peer review by at least two reviewers.
- Authors will be notified no later than March 2021 on the preliminary decision over their manuscript for the next round of review.
- The anticipated date for publication of the Special Section is October/December 2021.
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