A Uses And Gratifications Exploration Of Young Women's Instagram Usage

Jayne Rodgers, Goldstraw Dee

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    This research applies Uses and Gratifications theory (U&G, sometimes called UGT) to the use of Instagram by women aged 18 to 45. Examining this image-led landscape, the research explores the uses and gratifications the target research group experience from engagement with the platform. The research serves both scholarly and commercial interests. In identifying purposive intent and resulting gratifications in Instagram use, the research promotes better understanding of online behavior among this user group and also provide data to underpin future research into online marketing practices. A mixed method approach, using survey data from 502 respondents to analyze 12 interrelationships regarding Instagram use by women is applied. Findings from this analysis are then applied to five uses and gratifications themes – information and education, entertainment, self-expression, emotional connection, social interaction - to interpret the impact of Instagram use for women and draw conclusions on the commercial implications of this. The research provides insights into how and why women use Instagram and what they perceive the benefits of engagement with the platform to be. The research indicates that young women use Instagram in a purposive way, creating positive or neutral emotional responses to their activity through the platform, contradicting a dominant media discourse based on research that suggests Instagram to be a negative space. The findings from this research align more closely with the limited amount of research that shows positive outcomes from social media use. The research is valuable for marketers because its findings suggest that there are patterns of purposive use of social media that yield non-negative responses, providing opportunities for better understanding this under-researched audience. However, the findings also highlight a need for further research into how users select Instagram content to like, post and share to identify specific activities relating to this positive or neutral wellbeing outcomes in response to use of the platform. To correspond to more traditional segmentation in marketing, the need for a comparative analysis of narrower age demographics to identify differences in responses to Instagram use is also noted. Keywords: Instagram, social media, digital marketing, marketing, uses and gratifications, women, digital medi
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019
    EventBledCom, 26th International Public Relations Research Symposium: Trust and Reputation - Lake Bled, Bled, Slovenia
    Duration: 4 Jul 20196 Jul 2019
    Conference number: 26


    ConferenceBledCom, 26th International Public Relations Research Symposium
    Abbreviated titleBledCom
    Internet address


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