Consumer attitudes towards online advertising - Comparison of display and search advertising

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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The main objective of the study was to analyze consumer attitudes towards online advertising. In order to gain understanding on the attitudes, the study aimed at recognizing beliefs that form consumer attitudes. Particularly, the study aimed at identifying, what kind of attitudes consumers have towards display and search advertising, due to the distinctive nature of the channels in consumers' media consumption experience. Moreover, the study aimed at identifying attitudinal differences within the population and categorizing consumers into segments that share similar attitudes towards display and search advertising. The data was collected with a web-based survey, resulting in a sample of 212 Finnish consumers. The questionnaire was built on a theoretical framework, which combined prior literature on consumer attitudes towards advertising and consideration of special characteristics of the Internet as an advertising medium. Quantitative methodology was applied in the analysis of the data. In order to reduce the data for interpretation, exploratory factor analysis was utilized for identifying belief factors about display and search advertising, which have been concluded to form consumers' overall attitudes. Moreover, K-means cluster analysis was conducted for categorizing consumers into attitudinal clusters, in terms of how they perceive search and display advertising. The study concludes that consumer attitudes towards online advertising consist of beliefs about Personal benefit, Credibility, Value corruption, Economic benefit and Ad clutter, perceived by consumers. There are major differences within the Internet population, in the extent to which consumers perceive the belief factors. The most skeptical Haters segment perceives online advertising by all means negative, whereas Benefiters consider both display and search advertising beneficial and Information searchers have considerably more positive attitudes towards search than display advertising. Moreover, the Ignorants segment does not pay much attention to online advertising nor has very strong opinions, and the Personal Dislikers segments considers online advertising a positive societal phenomenon but dislikes advertisements as a part of their personal internet usage experience. The study compares background variables, attitudes and online behavior of the segments. In addition, the study provides insights for harnessing the findings, as well as suggestions for further research.
Consumer Attitudes, Consumer Beliefs, Online Advertising, Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Banner Advertising
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