Reference group influence on digital advertising effectiveness

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Reference groups have been researched solely based on laboratory experiments. Also there has been multiple demands in the field of marketing research for replication studies. This thesis will be answering the need and simultaneously making use of new advertisement tech-nologies. Purpose of the thesis is to increase external validity of reference group research by making conceptual replication of White & Dahl's (2006) study in field setting. Reference groups are groups that consumers use to compare themselves to - for example friends, family or other gender. In previous studies it has been found that men see women as dissociative reference group - oftentimes they do not want to be associated with women or feminine products. This work offers new area where to extend reference group research: digi-tal advertising. To collect empirical evidence over 400 000 programmatically bought digital advertisements were shown for users of The genders of web users were collected by using cookie data. The main finding is that reference group influence does not seem to be as strong in the field of digital advertising or in field settings than in previous studies. Hypotheses related to men's willingness to click masculine vs. feminine advertisements could not be confirmed. One of the most important implication of this thesis is methodological: programmatically bought digital advertisements combined with cookie data is cost-effective and efficient way to conduct field tests. Several different directions for future research is suggested: another replication of White & Dahl's (2006) study with similar set-up as the current research but with stronger reference group associations.
reference groups, dissociative reference groups, gender associations, digital marketing, digital advertising, banner advertising, field experiment, field test, replication
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