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Bright Schaeffer School of Journalism, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, and Harsh Congratulated School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to compare female students’ perceptions f the value of advertising on social network sites (Sins) to their perceptions of the value of television advertising. Design/methodology/approach – An online questionnaire was fielded among students from three major universities in the USA, as well as Sins (Backbone, Linked, and Twitter).

The final sample (n 1/4 259) was comprised of female students who had used social media and television during the past month. The authors developed two structural equation models using Amos 18 statistical software. Findings – The analysis indicated that Duchess’s Ad Value model does not provide a good fit for assessing advertising value in social media or television. While Irritation was a factor in assessing Attitude toward advertising, the respondents assessed ad value on the basis of Entertainment (higher for social media) and Innovativeness (higher for television).

Research limitations/implications – In examining the relative importance of each component of Duchess’s model, it is clear that Entertainment and Innovativeness play key roles in assessing advertising value for both traditional (television) and non-traditional media (Sins). While Irritation did not play a significant role in value assessment, it was found to directly impact attitude towards advertising, a critical juncture in the consumer purchase cycle.

Practical implications – If practitioners seek to interact via Sins with young female consumers they should focus on providing entertaining content in a format that makes brand engagement seamless while not impeding goals. Originality/value – This initial investigation provides the impetus for future research about consumers’ perceptions of advertising value across all Sins, in comparison to their traditional counterparts.

Keywords United States of America, Consumer behavior, Students, Women, Social media, Television, Entertainment, Innovativeness, Irritation, Social networking sites, Ad value, Duchess’s Advertising Value Paper type Research paper Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing Volvo. 6 No. 3, 2012 up. 164_179 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2040-7122 DOI 10. 1108/17505931211274651 Introduction Media proliferation has profoundly affected the way advertising messages are delivered and received.

Because the cost of delivering a mass audience has become prohibitive, advertisers are moving away from the sole use of television and investing in alternative Edie, such as social network sites (Sins), to reach their target consumers. Research on online advertising effectiveness suggests that consumers’ overall response to online advertising (i. E. Banner ads) is increasingly negative as they become more savvy and skeptical about the values of such advertisements (Choc, 2003; Choc and Cohen, 2004; Coulter et al. 2001; Shamanic et al. , 2001). As a result, SINS advertising is becoming an increasingly popular tool for marketers to experiment with as part of their online media mix. Although advertising on Sins is technically online advertising, it provides an inherently different experience for consumers compared to the online banner advertising that has been the subject of academic research during the past decade. The SINS context allows consumers to actively interact with advertising.

Unlike banner advertising, advertising on Sins provide consumers with the opportunity to “like” certain ads, follow them on Twitter, and share them with friends. Furthermore, Sins allow consumers to see which friends like the ads. Importantly, Sins are gaining share of online advertising expenditures. Sins accounted for 22 per cent of online advertising spending during 2011 and nearly 0 per cent of US marketers and ad agencies planned to increase their spending on Sins during 2012 (Advertiser Perceptions, 2012).

Empirical research regarding the specific use of Sins has described user personalities and motivations for use (Ross et al. , 2009); dimensions of uses and gratifications (Bonds-Arrack and Arrack, 2010; Arrack and Bonds-Arrack, 2008); and consumers’ response to branded communication on the sites in terms of advertiser credibility (Chatterer, 2011; Lee et al. , 2011), involvement (Chug and Kim, 2011; Mounting et al. , 2011) effectiveness (Calder et al. , 2009) and likeability (Taylor et al. 2011).

Current SINS advertising research relies upon established attitudinal and behavioral measures that may not fully reflect the impact of the SINS media context. Because the perceived advertising value measure integrates the media experience with the advertising experience, it is possible that advertising value provides a better way to assess the potential effectiveness of SINS advertising. This study applies a theoretical framework regarding consumers’ perceptions of the value of advertising on Backbone, the dominant SINS, representing over 845 million users connected by 1 00 billion friendships (Hoffman and Novak, 012).

The advertising value model (Decoded, 1995, 1 996) has been used to assess television advertising and internet advertising, demonstrating that the measures can be used to compare advertising in different media. This research compares the relative importance of various components of advertising value for television and social media advertising and how they relate to women college students’ attitudes toward advertising in each medium. Women represent an ever-growing portion of the SINS user population and many Sins have a majority of female users, including Backbone (58 per cent), Namespace (57 per cent), and Twitter (64 ere cent) (Hampton et al. 2011). In addition, a new SINS called Pinsetters has emerged in the last year and boasts a user base that is upwards of 80 per cent female. Females represent a disproportionate number of SINS users (56 per cent) as well as users of e-mail (52 per cent), instant messages (55 per cent), blobbing (54 per cent), and photo sharing services (58 per cent) (Hampton et al. , 2011). Women are using Sins to reconnect with old friends as well as maintain close social ties with friends and family across the globe. It is these activities that may explain the inverse relationship between female and male usage of Sins.

Since 2008, male users of Sins have steadily decreased from 47 to 44 per cent while female users of Backbone versus television 165 Sins have steadily increased from 53 to 56 per cent (Hampton et al. , 2011). Indeed, Hampton et al. (2011, p. 14) found that “women and the young drive Backbone usage”. The data suggests that the importance of female users for Sins is growing and, therefore, it is important for academics and practitioners to understand how women assess advertising value within the realm of Sins versus a more traditional medium such as television. 66 Literature review Social network sites Kaplan and Heinlein (2010) defined social media as “a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2. 0 and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content”. They segmented social media into collaborative projects, blobs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual game worlds, and virtual social worlds.

Today nearly 80 per cent of American adults are online and nearly 60 per cent of them use Sins (Hampton et al. , 2011). Consumer-generated content – including popular Sins like Backbone, Youth, Linked, Renee, Vegetate, and Twitter as become one of the foremost online communication channels (Lenient et al. , 2010). In fact, social networking accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online (Lifespan, 2011). Advertisers have quickly adopted Sins as a means to build long-term relationships with young consumers.

During 2009, 43 per cent of the 500 fastest- growing private companies in the USA reported that Sins were “very important” to their marketing strategies and 68 per cent of those companies reported that they monitored their products and brands in the social media space (Barnes and Mattson, 2009). During 2011, US marketers were projected to spend $3 billion o advertise on Sins representing a 55 per cent increase in expenditure versus the previous year with a prediction that advertising spending on Sins will more than triple over the next five years (Hoff, 2011).

Backbone is particularly attractive to marketers because of the number of users as well as its popularity among young adults. Backbone offers advertisers a variety of advertising options such as driving traffic to a web site or promoting a Backbone page, event, or application. All of the Backbone options provide the opportunity to add a “like” link, allowing consumers to register immediate feedback. In terms of advertising effectiveness on Sins, academic research has focused on advertiser credibility, consumer engagement, and advertising effectiveness. Advertising effectiveness Advertising credibility.

While advertising content encompasses ethical and aesthetic considerations, consumers have become increasingly concerned regarding the trustworthiness – or credibility – of advertising content in general (Cannot, 1984). Advertising credibility is an expression of the consumers’ expectations regarding the fairness and factualness of advertising. Havilland and Weiss (1951-1952) suggest that consumers view some communicators as more reducible than others. Consumers also regard certain types of information sources as more credible, or trustworthy, than others (Johnson and Okay, 1998).

Research suggests that Sins can be regarded as a credible source for brand messages. Lee et al. (2011) found that consumers attribute more altruistic motives to consumer-generated SINS brand communities than marketer- generated SINS brand communities. While this finding suggests that marketer-generated messages may be less persuasive, another study (Chatterer, 2011) indicates that the source of the message may produce more responses, but may not engender greater persuasiveness. Specifically, Chatterer (2011) examined the drivers of product recommendations and referral behavior on Sins.

She determined that consumer-generated product recommendations are more likely to be recommended than marketer-generated product recommendations but not more likely to generate a referral. Involvement. Grumman (1965) suggested that different media require different degrees of audience involvement. Print, for example, is a relatively involving medium because pages must be turned and text must be read. Television, on the other hand, is a low-involvement medium because it requires almost no participation from the audience.

Conversely, the internet places heavy demands on users in terms of required response, the constant need to make choices, and the subsequent choices that result from those decisions (Ruggeri, 2000). Ha and James (1998) determined that the goal-driven nature of most internet usage also increased user involvement. It has also been proposed that the media context affects involvement in the advertising. Specifically, Maltose et al. (2007) provided empirical support for this notion in a study that indicated that the qualitative experience of the medium – different magazine titles – affected consumers’ involvement in the advertisement.

Recent research suggests that Sins provide an involving environment for advertisers. Mounting et al. (2011) determined that the level consumer involvement varied across different types of Sins. The authors developed a typology of brand-related activities that categorized the activities according to levels of consumer involvement. According to this typology, SINS users contribute to the brand when they engage in brand- related activities and are, therefore, more engaged than consumers who simply read, listen, or watch videos about a brand. Interaction with a brand message, therefore, increases consumer engagement with the message.

The social aspect of Sins is another reason that Sins provide an engaging environment for branded messages. A study regarding the determinants of involvement in electronic word-of-mouth on Sins indicated that social relationship factors such as tie strength, trust, and normative beliefs were key factors in consumers’ decisions to engage in the activity (Chug and Kim, 2011). The notion that online advertising provides different types of engagement is empirically supported by Calder et al. (2009). The authors found that users on online news web sites manifested both personal engagement and social- interactive engagement.

Furthermore, the authors found that engagement with the online media context increased advertising effectiveness, using attitudinal and behavioral intention measures. Advertising effectiveness measures. While there are no definitive measures of advertising effectiveness, advertising recall, attitudes toward the brand, and purchase intent have been widely accepted among academics and practitioners as indicators federating effectiveness (Stewart, 1999). It has been suggested, however, that traditional measures provide inadequate assessments of online advertising effectiveness due to their emphasis on outcomes (Pavlov ND Steward, 2000).

Because the interactive nature of online advertising shifts control to the consumer from the marketer, online advertising assessments should also incorporate process measures such as personalization, participation, comprehension, and feedback. Furthermore, because the internet creates value in terms of saved time, expense, and entertainment, 167 168 the advertising outcome measures should be expanded to include consumers’ evaluations of benefits provided by the ads. A more recent study related perceived gratifications from SINS advertising to increased advertising effectiveness.

Specifically, the study focused on the factors that facilitate or inhibit receptivity to advertising on Sins (Taylor et al. , 2011). The findings suggest that acceptance of advertising on Sins is influenced by the degree of entertainment and innovativeness they provide. The results also indicate that younger adults (ages 19-24) are more appreciative of innovativeness than entertainment when assessing the value of advertising on Sins. Interestingly, the female participants found advertising on Sins to be more entertaining and informative than the male participants.

The concept f advertising value is related to uses and gratifications theory in that it acknowledges that consumers can seek certain gratifications from advertising such as information and entertainment. The current study seeks to establish that advertising value provides a media-agnostic measure of SINS advertising outcomes that indicates advertising effectiveness. Advertising value model Decoded (1995) proposed the advertising value construct to measure consumers’ perceptions regarding the relative worth or utility of advertising.

Through a series of studies Decoded (1995, 1 996) developed a model based on three antecedents f perceived value: innovativeness, entertainment and irritation. Importantly, these antecedents pertain to the consumers experience with the advertising rather than traditional advertising effectiveness measures such message recall, brand attitudes, and purchase intent. The model demonstrated that the advertising value construct is an antecedent of the attitude toward advertising construct.

Because this study will compare consumers’ perceptions of advertising on television and SINS, it is necessary to use a measure that is media-agnostic in terms of comparisons across media. In subsequent research, Decoded (1996) monstrance that the advertising value measure could be applied to internet advertising as well as television, indicating that the measure is applicable across media types. The media-agnostic nature of the measure is attributable to the fact that it combines the consumer’s experience with the medium and the advertising.

In an effort to identify the differences between the antecedents of perceived advertising value for SINS advertising and television advertising, this study will explore the three variables proposed by Decoded (1995, 1996) for each medium: innovativeness, entertainment, and irritation. Innovativeness. Advertising attitude research reveals the importance of innovativeness when evaluating advertising. Brown and Eastman (1992) found that the informative/effective factor was the most important factor in predicting brand attitude.

Shaving et al. (1998) also found that consumers regarded information as a positive aspect of advertising when they learned about new products, specific product benefits, and comparative product information. One of the primary motivations for SINS use is the exchange of information (Bonds Arrack and Arrack, 2010; Mounting et al. , 2011). Given the information- orientation of their SINS use, it is not surprising that SINS users were found to be receptive to informative advertising on the sites.

In fact, innovativeness was positively related to consumers’ attitudes toward advertising on Sins (Taylor et al. , 2011). The cited literature relates perceived information value of advertising to consumers’ overall attitudes towards advertising. It is also suggested that perceived information value is a particularly strong predictor for attitudes toward television advertising. Thus, the following hypotheses are proposed: HI a. Women students’ perceptions of the innovativeness of SINS advertising ill correlate positively to their perceptions of SINS advertising value. HI b.

Women students’ perceptions of the innovativeness of television advertising will correlate positively to their perceptions of television advertising value. Entertainment. In terms of established media frameworks such as usage and gratifications theory, consumers and advertisers both seek benefits from entertaining advertising (Schlesinger, 1979). Advertisers seek to provide entertaining advertising because they believe that it increases the effectiveness of their message. Specifically, they believe that entertaining ads generate positive rand attitudes (Shims, 1981; MacKenzie and Lutz, 1989; Shaving et al. 1998). Participation in Sins is an entertaining activity. The activity itself may be selected instead of other forms of entertainment such as playing video games, watching television, or going out. Users of Sins seek enjoyment, relaxation, and passing time (Mounting et al. , 2011). They also expect brand-related content to provide an entertaining experience. In fact, entertainment value was determined to affect consumers’ attitudes toward SINS advertising (Taylor et al. , 2011). Users of Sins are also highly likely to engage in socially based games.

Gang’s “Actively” accrued 100 million SINS users in just 43 days, setting a new industry record (Hoffman and Novak, 2012). The cited literature demonstrates the relationships between perceived entertainment value and overall attitudes towards advertising. Further, it is suggested that perceived entertainment value is a particularly strong predictor for attitudes toward television advertising. Thus, the following hypotheses are proposed: Ha. Women students’ perceptions of the entertainment associated with SINS advertising will correlate positively to perceptions of SINS advertising value.

Hub. Women students’ perceptions of the entertainment associated with television advertising will correlate positively to perceptions of television advertising value. Irritation. While the innovativeness and entertainment variables are positive predictors of the advertising value model (Decoded, 1995, 1996), the irritation variable serves as a negative indicator. In other words, consumers are less likely to be persuaded by advertising that is perceived as annoying, offensive, or manipulative (Bream, 1966).

Consumers’ irritation with advertising can relate to the content of advertising messages or the sheer amount of advertising clutter Geyser, 1973). Another component of the irritation construct is the notion of deception. Even though both government and industry regulations exist to protect consumers, advertising can still be perceived as deceptive and dishonest resulting in a loss of perceived value. Duchess’s (1995, 1996) model posits a negative relationship between the level of irritation associated with advertising and the level of advertising effectiveness.

In regard to Sins, advertising irritation may be attributed to goal interruption as well as consumers’ concerns regarding the loss of privacy (Taylor et al. , 2011). 169 6,3 The cited literature suggests a negative relationship between perceptions of advertising irritation and overall attitudes towards advertising. Thus, the following hypothesis is proposed: Ha. Women students’ perceptions of irritation associated with SINS advertising will relate negatively to their perceptions of SINS advertising value. 70 Hub. Women students’ perceptions of irritation associated with television advertising will relate negatively to their perceptions of television advertising value. Figure 1 shows the hypothesized relationships between the variables for both SINS advertising and traditional, television advertising. Specifically, Decoded (1995, 1996) determined that strong relationships existed between the two constructs (advertising value and attitude towards advertising) for both television and internet use.

He found that there was a strong relationship between the entertainment construct and the advertising value construct, but he also determined a strong relationship between advertising value and the attitude towards advertising construct. Consistent with Duchess’s findings (1995, 1996), this study proposes that perceived SINS advertising value affects consumer attitudes toward SINS advertising. Therefore, the following hypotheses are reposed: Ha. Women students’ perceptions regarding the overall value of SINS advertising will predict consumers’ attitudes toward SINS advertising. Hub.

Women students’ perceptions regarding the overall value of television advertising will predict consumers’ attitudes toward television advertising. Method Design A 51 item online questionnaire was fielded among students from three major universities in the Eastern, Midwestern, and Southwestern regions of the USA as well as Sins (Backbone, Linked, and Twitter). In addition to information regarding perceived advertising value and attitudes toward advertising, anemographic data was gathered from all participants. Data was collected for a three-week period (September 1-21, 2011).

Figure 1. Model overview Sample 500 students enrolled in a variety of course’s, including digital media, advertising, journalism and public relations, were sent an e-mail invitation and asked to participate in the study. Students were informed that participation in the study was completely voluntary and were offered extra credit for completing the survey. To supplement the student sample, a snowball technique was used to recruit respondents from Sins such as Backbone, Twitter, and Linked. Participants were screened for gender and media usage.

The final sample (n 1/4 259) was comprised of female students who had used social media and television during the past month. 94 per cent of the sample was between the ages of 18-30. Participants were predominantly Caucasian (84 per cent) with incomes less than $25,000 a year (89 per cent). While this sample is not representative of American consumers, it is consistent with the demographics of the population most engaged in Sins. Specifically, 72 per cent of online young adults between the ages of 18-29 use Sins, in line with SINS usage among teens between the ages of 12-17. These two age segments account for the most frequent SINS use.

Because 92 per cent of SINS users are on Backbone (Hampton et al. , 2011), it should be noted that 78 per cent of Backbone users are Caucasian and nearly 70 per cent have at least some college education (Lenient et al. , 2010). In addition, females are the most active users of Sins and account for more than 60 per cent of Backbone users (Chapel, 2011; Hampton et al. , 2011). Measures The survey instrument included measures related to general media use, social media use, attitude toward advertising, advertising value and demographics. Sub-twentieth each scale were averaged resulting in composite scales.

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