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The overall goal of Morris, Choi, and Ju's 2016 research effort was to establish whether social marketing and advertising communications (SMACs) are meaningful when placing advertisements on social network platforms. Advertisements are not placed without serious consideration for the emotional responses of social network users and privacy incursion (Morris, Choi, & Ju, 2016). I chose the study because it tries to provide a greater understanding of social network users' attitudes about advertising in their social space, and so it reflects a strategic problem that interests me as a blogger. I advertise products for different companies on social networks, and I would like to know how the customers show their emotional responses to different blogs I write. The researchers measured the emotional responses to Facebook’s Social Marketing and Advertising Communications (SMAC), and therefore it is helpful in helping me understand how the users of the social network determine the source credibility of my advertisements and finally realize whether I intrude on their private space by placing my advertisements on social networks.
Research questions in this research study aimed at addressing the purpose of the research project and they include the following
How are SMACs promoted by advertisers more intrusive and less credible?
How is an emotional response to SMACs related to personal relevance?
The research hypothesis include the following
SMAC’s Promoted directly by Advertisers are expected to be more intrusive and less credible than the SMAC’s re-promoted by users.
SMACs promoted by advertisers and those promoted by users of Facebook are expected to be correlated to the Emotional Response.
Personal relevance was also likely to be correlated to the emotional response to SMACs.
The dependent variables in this research study include users emotional relevance, intrusiveness, and source credibility. The independent variable is the Facebook social ads.The conceptual definition of the independent variable is SMACs which stands for Social Marketing and Advertising Communications. These are the formats in which advertisers use to place their messages on social network platforms. The operational definitions include the dependent variable include banners advertisements, suggested posts, business pages and “friends liked.” Emotional response, source credibility, and personal reverence is defined by the response appeal, engagement, empowerment towards the advertisements. The conceptual and operational definitions do make sense because they are related for instance defining emotional response by the user appeal towards a banner ad.
The authors are doing this study to determine the feelings of social network users about advertising in their social space. This is an important reason because user emotional response shows if a customer has accepted a certain brand or not. The study also tries measure source credibility because it is the extent to which companies are perceived as being reliable by consumers. Customers cannot buy products without analyzing it through the internet, and if they find more reviews, they will assume that the advertisement is credible.
The number of social networks users are significantly increasing and therefore understanding the effects of posting an advertisement in these platforms is necessary for the company advertising and the medium. Posting ads do not come without significant concerns about the social network user’s privacy for some may feel that there is an intrusion into my space and therefore it is important to carry out research that determines the levels in which their space is intruded by these ads. The study has paid great attention to personal relevance, and this is because in advertising one has to strictly pay attention to the user personal importance to obtain the right response. Studies have revealed the effectiveness of an advertising message is mainly its relevancy. Message relevancy is a key element in advertising success, and therefore there is a significance of researching it. An advertisement is considered relevant when the receiver is personally affected and thereby motivated to respond to it.
It is also important to study the perceived intrusiveness as it has become another main concern of recent social network sites debates. Invasiveness in advertising is defined as a psychological reaction to ads that interfere with a consumer's ongoing cognitive processes. Most of the users feel offended by advertisements they encounter when doing their private activities on the social network sites such as Facebook. Much attention has been to be paid to intrusive Social ads as they violate user privacy because users tend to provide their personal information in public sites. It was significant for John and co-authors to conduct this research as the popularity of social network sites continues to grow, marketers and advertisers need to understand that placing intrusive advertisements is a crime. The type of research allows people to communicate smoothly without intruding to others prophecy.
The researchers are using online survey method of collecting data. The survey was done in November 2013 where college students from a large Southeastern university were invited to participate in this research and were rewarded with extra credit in their courses. College students regularly use social network sites and are among the heaviest user age set. The design was appropriate for this method because the participants were the population that most uses SNS. Survey method is unbiased when it comes to making conclusions. The method is less costly compared to other methods of data collection. It is convenient because data can be collected in different ways for instance questionnaire and interviews. The survey gives room for high representation of the entire population using a small sample. Disadvantages of the survey include its inflexibility since the researcher cannot change to another method and wrong conclusions if questions were not appropriate for a study.
The population being studied is a group of students from the Southeastern University and 228 of them completed the study. Three undergraduate business classes and communication were requested to take part the survey, and a total of 228 students completed the online survey. A Web-based survey with a 36-item questionnaire was used to collect the data for this research. Facebook ads were divided into five different SMACs: News Feed ads (“My Friends Liked,” “I Liked,” and “Suggested Posts”), “Banner Ads,” and “Business Pages.” (Morris, Choi, & Ju, 2016). The population was not correctly chosen because the researchers assumed that since they were youth, they were active on social networks site. As an incentive to their cooperation, they gained extra credits in their courses, and this could have attracted the wrong population. They may have participated in the study for credit and not to assist with the appropriate information required for the study. The method could be improved by first giving students a pilot test to determine those who use SNS regularly and the researchers should also involve people from outside school to come up with accurate results.
The results asserted that SMAC’s Promoted directly by Advertisers are to be more intrusive and less credible than the SMAC’s re-promoted by users. The user promoted marketing communications received a high level of appeal, for instance, News feeds SMACs from “I Liked” and “My Friends Liked” compared to those directly from advertisers such as “Suggested Posts” and “Banner Ads.” (Morris, Choi, & Ju, 2016). The second hypothesis was intended to observe different levels of source credibility depending on the origins of the SMACs and Facebook SMACs re-promoted by received higher credibility compared to those received and promoted straight from promoters. Hypothesis three was designed to examine different levels of personal relevance depending on the origins of the SMACs. The results indicated that user re-promoted Facebook received higher personal relevance compared to the advertisements that are marketer endorsed. Hypothesis four tested Facebook SMACs’ origins and perceived intrusiveness. The results showed that Facebook messages re-promoted by users had a lower perceived intrusiveness compared to the ads promoted directly from promoters. This means that user-promoted advertisements are less intrusive, receive a high emotional response and are more credible than those promoted by advertisers. The conclusions drawn from these results are correct because people rely more on others reviews as compared to advertisers since they are not certain of the advertiser's products and messages. The research helps us to understand that ads from fellow users are more compelling and less intrusive than those from promoters.
The study was successful in its purpose although it was faced with some limitations. One of them is that the study that has only university students as the sample which cannot represent the whole population of Facebook. Second, it excluded “banners” and “business pages” when examining source credibility (Morris, Choi, & Ju, 2016). I also noted that the sample population was given extra credit as an incentive for their corporation and this could have attracted students who were not interested in the survey.
The study recommended that all Facebook SMACs should be investigated for any variable applied. Moreover, universal consumer panels to be incorporated to understand the effects of social media for those who have never been in college.
From this study, I learned something that I have crossed my mind. The fact that users promoted ads have greater appeal and are less intrusive compared to advertiser promoted ones. I have also learned about the effectiveness of survey as a method of data collection and the appropriateness of ANOVA to regress data. The study generates numerous questions such as “who should promote products online?” and “To what extent should user privacy be intruded?” I can strongly say that the study was good because it followed the procedures of a research and came up with non-biased results.
Morris, J. D., Choi, Y., & Ju, I. (2016). Are Social Marketing and Advertising Communications (SMACs) Meaningful?: A Survey of Facebook User Emotional Responses, Source Credibility, Personal Relevance, and Perceived Intrusiveness. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 37(2), 165-182.
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