The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of a particular form of sponsorship disclaimer in sponsored content by social media influencers (SMIs), namely a sponsorship compensation justification disclosure. A sponsorship compensation justification disclosure explains why influencers and brands engage in sponsorship collaborations by providing a normative reason that justifies the existence and dissemination of sponsored content.Design/methodology/approachAn experimental design was used to compare the effects of a sponsorship compensation justification disclosure made by either an influencer or the sponsoring brand, to a simple sponsorship disclosure and a no disclosure control post, on consumers’ responses to a product-review video by a YouTube influencer.FindingsThe paper offers empirical evidence that sponsorship compensation justification generates more positive consumer attitudes toward influencers receiving sponsorship compensation, and increases source and message credibility, compared to a simple sponsorship disclosure.Research limitations/implicationsThe hypotheses were tested on one YouTube video, comprising of a single product category, one SMI and one social media platform. Further studies might replicate the experiment on different product categories and on different social media platforms.Practical implicationsThis empirical study can offer brand communication managers and influencers important information on how to communicate and design sponsorship disclosures to reach-desired responses from consumers.Originality/valueThe study is the first study to empirically demonstrate the effects of this particular type of sponsorship disclosure.
Journal of Communication Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 18, 2019
Keywords: Branding; Social media; Advertising; Marketing communications; Persusasion; Media strategy