I'll be online for you. Introducing the concept parasocial relationship sensitivity, its determinants and outcomes in the context of social media influencer marketing

Project Details


Parasocial relationships (PSR) (i.e., ‘illusionary’ relationship between audience and media-figure) are often considered as the most important mechanism behind the success of social media influencer (SMI) marketing. However, large individual differences in the sensitivity and intensity to form PSR have been reported, with numbers up to 50% of the population not forming PSR at all. By introducing the concept PSR sensitivity, this project aims to offer a theoretical and methodological conceptualization of these individual differences. In the first part, the focus is on the determinants of PSR sensitivity, situated on the personal (personality traits), contextual (characteristics of the post and SMI) and social level (one’s social network consisting of both interpersonal as well as parasocial relationships). By extending the classical social network approach (SNA) with measures of PSR, this project offers an innovative way of capturing PSR sensitivity, by considering the current dynamic and diverse online relationships that people develop. The second part will increase the insights on the marketing outcomes of PSR sensitivity on the level of awareness, attitudes and behavior and whether and how these differ based on the levels of PSR sensitivity. Together, both parts will offer valuable insights for SMI, marketeers and media-psychologists which will help them to better target their PSR-stimulating marketing strategies and understand audience’s diversity in responses to it.
Effective start/end date1/02/2431/01/28


  • Social media influencers
  • parasocial relationships
  • ocial network analysis
  • marketing


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