Speakers

Income and Nudity on the Internet: Attention Economics of Instagram Stars

Sophia Gaenssle

Ilmenau University of Technology

Sophia Gaenssle is junior researcher at the chair of Economic Theory at the Ilmenau University of Technology since 2017. She specialises in media and cultural economics, with particular emphasis on industrial organisation and digital markets.

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Analyst DELab UW

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Social media stars gain star-sta­tus with uplo­ads on social media pages like YouTu­be, Tik­Tok or Insta­gram. One of the most popu­lar plat­forms, espe­cial­ly desi­gned to uplo­ad pic­tu­re con­tents, is the servi­ce “Insta­gram” owned by Meta/Facebook. The gro­wing social, cul­tu­ral, and eco­no­mic power of so-cal­led influ­en­cers raises questions abo­ut key dri­vers of suc­cess and, more­over, distri­bu­tion of inco­me on social media plat­forms. Insta­gram has been accu­sed of stra­te­gi­cal­ly favo­uring ima­ges with nude con­tent, accor­ding to media reports. In order to shed light on this socio-cri­ti­cal aspect, this paper exa­mi­nes the fol­lo­wing rese­arch questions: Does body expo­su­re dri­ve inco­me suc­cess on Insta­gram? Is the­re a dif­fe­ren­ce betwe­en male and fema­le con­tent in this regard? This paper empi­ri­cal­ly ana­ly­ses 500 top Insta­gram stars within the cate­go­ries (1) fashion and beau­ty, (2) fit­ness and sports, (3) music, (4) pho­to and arts, (5) food and vegan. The unba­lan­ced panel data set con­si­sts of 100 stars within each cate­go­ry over an obse­rva­tion period of five mon­ths. The data pro­vi­des infor­ma­tion on popu­la­ri­ty, post­ing beha­vio­ur, and pri­ce esti­ma­tes per post. Sin­ce influ­en­cers are not paid by the plat­form, but main­ly by adver­ti­sers for pro­mo­tion of the­ir pro­ducts, the esti­ma­ted pri­ce per uplo­ad serves as a valid pro­xy for inco­me and eco­no­mic suc­cess. Mean com­pa­ri­son tests show that acco­unts with focus on fema­le acco­unts have a signi­fi­can­tly higher degree in body expo­su­re, whi­le the pri­ce per pic­tu­re is higher for male con­tent. Fur­ther­mo­re, using regres­sions esti­ma­tions, I esti­ma­te the effect of body expo­su­re and sex on pri­ce per pic­tu­re. The results show that body expo­su­re influ­en­ces pri­ces posi­ti­ve­ly, whi­le results for gen­der are mixed. Even­tu­al­ly, this raises first questions of a gen­der pay gap in social media.

A series of Polish-language meetings during which researchers and guest speakers look at issues related to digital transformation, new technologies, innovation and digital research methods.

The aim of the "Digitisation under the closer look of science" seminars is to build cooperation between academia, the public sector and business. Scientists share their research findings and have the opportunity to discuss them with experts. The results of their work are available on the DELab UW website.

Income and Nudity on the Internet: Attention Economics of Instagram Stars
Ilmenau University of Technology
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