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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Who is Credible? Differences in Credibility of Micro- and Macro-Influencers

Published: May 27, 2020


Carsten Schultz, University of Hagen


Credibility; Influencer-Marketing; Social Media


Influencers have created increasingly attractive opportunities for brands to reach their target groups. Over the last years, influencers have continuously grown and correspondingly professionalized their appearance and communication. According to their growth, the subsequent challenge arises whether their followers perceive credibility different. Specifically, the present study examines whether credibility is differently perceived in the case of influencers with a small audience compared to influencers with a large audience. The empirical results are based on 709 evaluations of Instagram influencer messages. The credibility scale resulted in two factors: expertise and trustworthiness of influencers. Followers perceive the trustworthiness of micro-influencers higher than macro-influencers. In contrast, the perception of expertise is evaluated higher for macro-influencers than micro-influencers. Brands thus need to decide which type leads to a more effective way of communication.


The author acknowledges the support of Ulrike Krolow in data collections and comments on an earlier version.