Instagram As a Search Engine: Can Browsers Convert to Shoppers?

Date
2017-01-01
Authors
Cuevas, Leslie
Lyu, Jewon
Lim, Heejin
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Altmetrics
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Abstract

The progressive popularity of visual-focused social media such as YouTube and Instagram has developed consumers' use of these channels as information search engines, while common outlets such as AOL, Bing, and Yahoo! become a less attractive approach. This study aims to identify indicators of Instagram's content quality and system quality to develop a research model that depicts consumers' experience of social media as a search engine. We adopt the theory of flow as a theoretical framework, and investigate how consumers' flow experience in information search on Instagram converts browsers into shoppers with intention to purchase. By conducting an online survey, the results of analyzing 200 responses supported that visual aesthetics, textual information, and interactivity influenced flow experience. Thus, findings from this study demonstrated the effectiveness of social media, in particular Instagram, as a search engine, and the importance of flow experience in consumers' conversion into potential shoppers. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

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