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Visual online posts with brand reference only effective if creator is known to recipient

Published: 01st December 2022 Last updated: 01st December 2022

In recent years, the popularity of visual social media has grown rapidly. These platforms allow users to share their lives with a large online audience by posting photos. These photos regularly include a brand, such as when the person in the photo is wearing branded clothing or posing with a branded product, such as a beer on the terrace. Annemarie Nanne argues that brand recommendation is only effective if the recipient knows the sender. She will receive her doctorate on December 2.

Her research focuses on brand-related photos for visual social media created by users rather than professionals, also known as brand-related user generated content (Br-UGC) (so no influencers). Nanne examined the person posting, the sender and the content of the post and the consequences for the user.

Senders of visual Br-UGC mainly use the brand to create an online identity and share it with a large online audience. Therefore, the brand is not central to visual Br-UGC, but rather in the service of the sender.

Because of the importance of the sender in visual Br-UGC, the visual presence of the sender in the photo is crucial to the brand outcomes of visual Br-UGC. This increases reactions to the post, through likes and comments, but has no effect on reactions to the brand. Positive effects of visual Br-UGC on brand outcomes occur only when there is a personal connection between the sender and the recipient of the content.


Nanne also wanted to understand the applicability of computer vision for automatically analyzing visual Br-UGC. The results of several studies show that pre-trained computer vision models can be applied to understand the content characteristics of visual Br-UGC. Computer vision can be used to analyze a large dataset on many different content characteristics simultaneously.

Annemarie Nanne will receive her PhD on Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m. in the university's auditorium. A livestream will also be available. The dissertation is titled: Social Drivers of Visual Brand-Related User Generated Content: Creation, Content, and Consequences.
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