Examining Effects of Photography in Social Media and the Mediation Role of Perceived Authenticity

Social media have gained traction in advertising campaigns for luxury and fashion clothes using influencers, who shape trends of photography. To remain competitive, however, influencers depend on how they convey authenticity, which largely relies on the key visual elements of the photographs they post in social media. The purpose of this study is to explore the visual elements of photography used by social media influencers and to compare the main photography trends in digital media. Specifically, it aims to shed light on how new photography trends such as urban background style and fashion models with large body sizes produce effects on consumers. To accomplish this objective, an online experimental setting was prepared to compare the effect of an urban versus a solid background and a fashion model with a large versus a thin body size on perceived authenticity and purchase intent. The research finds that urban background and large body size of model significantly increase digital engagement. These results are in line with the research hypotheses that allude to the perception of authenticity as the key construct behind the effects on digital engagement. The inquiry also evaluates the interaction effect of the urban background and large body size of the model on perceived authenticity. In doing so, the present research examines the mediation role of perceived authenticity on the intention to buy. The results contribute to update theory about the influencers’ role on digital engagement and photography trends in social media. It also shows that perceived authenticity exerts a mediating role between visual elements on purchase intentions.

advertising campaigns, authenticity, digital marketing, influencers, social media