The development and testing of a pictogram signaling advertising in online videos

Sophie C. Boerman*, Esther Rozendaal, Eva A. van Reijmersdal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Although influencer marketing has become an important advertising strategy, it has one major challenge: its lack of transparency. Young people often struggle to distinguish commercial from non-commercial content, making them particularly susceptible to influencer marketing. In response to the Dutch Media Act, we aim to develop and test a Kijkwijzer pictogram that that clearly signals advertising (i.e. influencer marketing) in online videos to minors (8–18 year-olds). The project comprised three phases: (1) an inventory phase including a cocreation workshop, (2) a survey (N = 248) gaining insights into minors’ associations with a selection of pictograms, and (3) a preregistered online experiment (N = 656) to compare the effectiveness of selected pictograms in increasing advertising literacy. The cocreation workshop and the survey resulted in three pictograms that were associated with advertising and sponsored content and deemed appropriate by the minors to signal influencer marketing in online videos. However, results of the online experiment showed no effects of these pictograms on conceptual and affective advertising literacy. Overall, the findings show the difficulty of creating one effective pictogram that is preferred by all age groups, and the value of the different research phases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-691
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Advertising
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

This project is funded by the NWA Ideas Generator (NWA.1228.192.016)

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