The Effect of Sponsorship Placement on Visual Attention, Brand Attitude, and Recall An Eye-Tracking Study on Instagram

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Purpose - The study attempts to explore how visual attention mediates the effect of sponsorship placement on brand attitude and recall, while examining the potential moderation trait anxiety on the effect of placement on visual attention. Design/methodology/approach – In a 1x2 eye-tracking experiment, 62 participants were prompted to look at a social media post. The control group saw a post with the sponsor logo in the area of action of the Instagram post. The test group saw a post with the sponsor logo in the designated sponsor area. A survey measured anxiety, brand attitude and brand recall, as well as the control variables. Linear regression analysis and process analysis were used for data interpretation. Findings – Logos in the area of action in social media posts attract more visual attention than logos in the designated sponsor area. However, overall statistical significance of the findings is not conclusive, requiring further investigation. Contrary to expectations, no moderation effect of anxiety was found between sponsorship placement and attention. Lastly, a mediating effect on brand recall and brand attitude was disproven. Research implications – The findings provide insights in the role of sponsorship placement on visual attention in the social media context. It also inquires further research as it contradicts previously established relations between placement, brand attitude and brand recall as well as the expected moderation of trait anxiety. Managerial implications – The study provides marketeers with insights on how to tailor social media strategies for improved salience and visual attention.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen