The persuasive language of online advertisements featuring social media influencers on Instagram: A multimodal analysis

  • Anderson Hidarto
Keywords: persuasive language, online advertisements, multimodality, instagram

Abstract

The popularity of online advertising is increasing alongside the rising number of internet users, and one of the online platforms to advertise one’s products or services is Instagram. On Instagram, many advertisers opt for one viable alternative way of advertising: social media influencers. They typically hire popular figures to endorse their products, and the influencers will then post an image and a caption, persuading their followers to buy the products. It is intriguing to investigate how they make use of images and texts in Instagram to strengthen their persuasive act. Therefore, this paper aims to present a multimodality analysis where both the linguistic features and the images of Instagram advertisements of influencers are explored in relation to their communicative intent. The sample was built up from 24 Instagram ads posted by 13 Indonesian influencers. Several salient lexicogrammatical features were pinpointed, and the images were analyzed following the social semiotic approach called visual grammar. The findings revealed that the Instagram ads demonstrated vast amount of colloquial and informal language use, which was intended to establish familiarity with the audience. The image analysis also showed that influencers had roles to display themselves in the image to build credibility and trust as credible reviewers. The study has contributed to explicating how diverse language use on the internet is vis-à-vis traditional media, particularly the discourse of influencer advertising.

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Published
2021-05-26
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