Social Media Advertising And Its Influence On Audience Preference Of Similar Product

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Social Media Advertising And Its Influence On Audience Preference Of Similar Product


Abstract


This study examines the influence of telecommunication advertising on subscribers’ perceptions and preferences for GSM services using students of Kogi state tertiary institutions as case study. A total of 134 respondents were selected from the population figure out of which the sample size was determined. The primary source of data collected was mainly the use of a structured questionnaire which was designed to elicit information on social media advertising and its influence on audience preference of similar product. Data collected will be analyzed using frequency table, percentage and mean score analysis while the nonparametric statistical test (Chi-square) was used to test the formulated hypothesis using SPSS (statistical package for social sciences). Findings from the study show that a strong association exists between the level of advertising influences and students’ preference for g-selective mobile phone (GSM) services in Kogei state. However, the inability of service providers to live up to their bidding by delivering a hitch free telephony service has remained worrisome among subscribers of GSM service in Nigeria.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Recent statistics indicate that the number of people accessing the Internet exceeds two billion four hundred thousand, i.e. 34% the world’s population (Internet World Stats 2013). Moreover, one out of every seven people in the world has a Facebook profile and nearly four in five Internet users visit social media sites (Nielsen 2012). With the number of Internet and social media users growing worldwide, it is essential for communication managers to understand online consumer behavior.

Consumers are increasingly using social media sites to search for information and turning away from traditional media, such as television, radio, and magazines (Mangold and Faulds 2009). The advent of social media has transformed traditional one-way communication into multi-dimensional, two-way, peer-to-peer communication (Berthon, Pitt, and Campbell 2008). Social media platforms offer an opportunity for customers to interact with other consumers; thus, companies are no longer the sole source of brand communication (Li and Bernoff 2011). The social Web is changing traditional marketing communications. Traditional brand communications that were previously controlled and administered by brand and marketing managers are gradually being shaped by consumers.

Social media is most suitable in definition as a group of new kinds of online media, which enable users to share their individual experience from distance location. Anthony (2015) sees social media as participation which encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested. It blurs the line between media and audience.

The social media services are open to feedback and participation. They encourage vital media activities like voting, commenting and most importantly sharing of information. The social media is better seen as two-way communication or conversation within the communities. Social media strive on their connectedness feature making use of links to other sites, resources and people.

Crosbie (2002), in explaining new media said they are three different kinds of communication media; interpersonal media as ‘one to one’ mass media as ‘one to many’ and new media as individuation media or many to many”. In support to Crosbie, Samuel (2014) states new media is a term meant to encompass the emergence of digital, computerized or networked information and communication technologies in the later of the 20th century.
Carley, cited in Flew (2002) states social media, an offspring of new media, typify these features as they have eliminated geographical distance in global communication. In discussing further of social media, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) see social media as “media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. It uses internet and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogue (many to many).

Interactive possibility of the social media has distinguished social media from mass media. To an extent, the mass media depend on social media to make mass media interactive. Interaction is the basis of mass communication. According to Adelabu (2011), one of the major attributes to social networking is its high level of interactivity”. This aid communication values through its ability to facilitate meaningful conversation with, and between users of social media.

One of these values to update of information that is the update of information that is recent. Healthfield (2013), social media are the tools and platforms that people use to publish contents and interact socially online. Healthfiedl went on to say, user generated contents includes: conversation, articles images, or pictures, recipes and anything that an individual might share with others in their daily life. On his part, Greendhow (2009) said “social media refers to media for social interaction which use highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. They include the various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources.

The advent of the internet encouraged the social media usage. The internet opened the opportunities of interacting with social media. Samuel (2014), the invention of the internet brought a new dimension to the media landscape. The internet is the connection of computer through the web system. This is better called network of computers what becomes a distinct line between social media and social networking Daniel (2010) argues that social media is hard to define and is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate. Does that means that a social media is an instrument of communication just like any other social network.

In response to the questions above, Cohen (2009) said social media can be called a strategy and an outlet for broadcasting while social networking is a tool and a utility for connecting with others”. He further buttresses his point of view by saying the difference is not just semantics but in the features and functions put into these web sites by their creator which dictates the way they are to be use”.

According to Chiemele, Ovute and Obochi (2015), social media is a means of interaction among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, concrete, discuss and modify user-generated content. Today’s society is faced with the continual growing problem of electronics and social media. What used to be considered precious treasure is now the cause of teenage obesity, lack of concentration, inadequate communication and above all a far less intellectual society?

Social media have evolved over the years to the modern day which uses digital media. However, this social media is not that new in social communication. Also, it did not start with the advent of computer, but instead the telephone. The key word here is social interaction. As at that time telephone was a new media of social networking and interaction. You could see someone with a diary containing name of friends with their telephone numbers.

Advertising helps in selling new ideas, products and services through the art and strategy of persuasive communication, (Dhar, 2011). Advertising calls the attention of consumer to buy product or service, persuade user to buy the product or service, show them the uniqueness of the product, create awareness and brand loyalty to the user and remind user of the existence of the product in the market. Companies spend a large part of their budget to produce and run advertisements (adverts) or promotions to communicate information about their company and products.

Advertising as a marketing tool is used by business organization to inform consumers that the right product is available at the right place, right price and to convince the consumer to purchase them. Advertising comprises all messages that are paid for in the media, owned and controlled by people other than the company making the advertisement. One of the earliest means of advertising was the use of signs. Early craftsmen used signs to advertise their wares and some traders like Phoenicians planted commercial messages on prominent rocks.

Advertising is a prominent feature of modern business operations and also a form of communication that attempts to interpret the qualities of products services and ideals in terms of consumer needs and wants. Some companies or organizations embrace advertising to achieve good will high market share and sales. A successful national economy depends on sales promotion in the form of advertising to maintain factory production, creation of employment and so the money goes round and round. Advertising is a mass media content that provides a platform for firms to create awareness about their products or services and how consumers can make the best out of such products.

It is known that advertising affect human and humans are in constant activities to sell to the eyes of the public. Anywhere a person looks, he will always see some form of advertisement. In fact, billboards, posters, fliers and other printed media are visible almost everywhere. Basically, all these promotional materials aim to inform people about the existence of a certain product or service.

According to Kofi and Mark (2014), advertising is used to establish a basic awareness of the products or services in the minds of the potential customer and to build up knowledge about it. The American marketing association defined brand as any name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of these that identifies the maker/seller of the product or service and differentiates it from competitors. However, the study tends to examine social media advertising and its influence on audience preference of similar product


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Marketers across the globe are increasingly preoccupied with using social media advertising to create brand awareness, brand image and equity (Alhaddad, 2015) in ways that identify audience preferences and to optimise value for their brands and businesses. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, have changed the way people interact with one another during past decades.

The human nature of online interactions shows people’s engagement in social activities and the formation of different groups according to their preferences, hobbies and educational levels rather than advertisers’ expectations on consumer profiles. For instance, students who come from one institution may be connected to one another through belonging to the same school, while people who meet online may share similar interests. As a result, advertisers attempt to deliver advertisements to those people who are interested in their products.

This demanding and evolving nature of audience brand preferences has created significant changes in consumers’ decision-making and purchasing behaviours. Brand content can no longer be shoved down reluctant consumers’ throats. For instance, social media platforms constitute consumer-generated media that consumers are actively initiating, creating, using and circulating to educate each other on products, brands, services and personalities and issues (Blackshaw & Nazzaro, 2006).

However, the fast changing audience preferences, as determined by an analysis of consumer surveys, mean that modern technology such as social media should be exploited to match market goods and align them to consumer brand preferences such as those of students. audience preferences for brands seem to be growing with increasing complexity (Schultz, Don & Martin, 2011b). Consumer exposure to vast amounts of information means that marketers can get through consumers’ filters by identifying a claim or creating promises about their services or products, which are strongly penetrative (Silverman, 2001:95). One of the ways that marketers used to filter through to consumers is by accessing their preferences for brands through social media advertising. However, limited knowledge exists on the way in which social media advertising influences brand preferences (Jiang, Ni & Srinivasan, 2014), especially those of higher institutions’ students.

The problem, therefore, lies in the audience preferences of the particular product. On the one hand, marketers across the globe are increasingly preoccupied with using social media advertising to create brand awareness, brand image and brand equity (Alhaddad, 2015) in ways that seize hold of consumers’ preferences and optimise value for their brands and businesses. On the other hand, audience have exploited the interactive affordances of social media to become more demanding to marketers and service providers, highly individualise their preferences, and caution and educate each other on products.

Therefore, audiences are exploiting social media platforms to strengthen their search for information, assist with decision-making and to facilitate prudent purchase transactions in ways that potentially leverage their purchasing power. Hence, the need for this research “Social Media Advertising And Its Influence On Audience Preference Of Similar Product”.

Hence, this study is conducted to examine social media advertising and its influence on audience preference of similar product


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine social media advertising and its influence on audience preference of similar product

Specific objectives include;

  1. To examine the effect of social media advertising on consumers’ products
  2. To examine the barriers to social media advertising on audience preference of similar product
  3. To identify some possible solutions to the barriers of social media advertising on audience preference of similar product

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the effect of social media advertising on consumers’ products?
  2. What are the barriers to social media advertising on audience preference of similar product?
  3. Are there possible solutions to the barriers of social media advertising on audience preference of similar product?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Hypothesis I
  • H0: There is no effect of social media advertising on consumers’ products
  • H1: There is an effect of social media advertising on consumers’ products
Hypothesis II
  • H0: There is no barriers to social media advertising on audience preference of similar product
  • H1: There are barriers to social media advertising on audience preference of similar product

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work.

This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is on the social media advertising and its influence on audience preference of similar product. The study is carried out in the Abuja metropolis only.


1.8 Delimitations / Limitation of the Study

The researchers encountered a lot of problems in the course of carrying out this study effectively and efficiently. Prominent amongst them are non disclosure of information and uncooperative attitude of most of the respondents in responding to some of our questions.

Another problem is that of finance, the researchers being students and thus dependent on their older relations and greatly limited in their source of finance to travel from school to the organization under study in order to obtain relevant information needed. This was rather difficult and tasking because of the huge transportation fare spent and the risk involved on roads in trying to get in touch with staff who sometimes, seemed not to be keeping appointment schedules. However, reasonable amount of the money was out into achieving out aims.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Social Media Advertising:

Social media advertising, or social media targeting, are advertisements served to users on social media platforms. Social networks utilize user information to serve highly relevant advertisements based on interactions within a specific platform.

Audience Preference:

Audience preference is the choice by the audience to watch a programme of their choice among the many available programmes and watch a television station of their choice among the available stations in Nigeria


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This study examines the influence of telecommunication advertising on students’ perceptions and preferences for GSM services in Kogi state tertiary institutions. It was borne out of the complaints on poor quality of GSM services in Nigeria and the assumption that advertising could help in shaping perceptions and preferences for GSM networks among active users. The focus was on four major GSM networks in Nigeria, namely: MTN, GLO, AIRTEL and ETISALAT. The principal aim of the study was make an empirical contribution to existing understanding of the association between advertising and consumer behavior in the telecommunication industry, and also to know if there are other extraadvertorial intervening factors responsible for the choice of GSM services. The study is significant because it of its empirical contribution to existing understanding of the relationship between advertisement and consumer behavior in the telecommunication industry.

Chapter two is the literature review of the study. Literatures reviewed show that advertising creates awareness of a brand with the aim of building positive brand image. Concepts of brand like awareness, image, loyalty, equity and switching were reviewed. Literatures on advertising, perception, preference as well as factors that influence brand preferences were given attention in the chapter. The study further reviews literatures on students’ use of GSM and the history of GSM in Nigeria. Finally, to give the study a perspective, the source credibility and the hierarchy of effects theories were adopted as the theoretical framework.

Chapter three is the methodology of the study. The quantitative research method was adopted for the study. A multi-stage random sampling technique was used to select the tertiary institutions, faculties and departments of the study. A sample size of 400 was used for the study. To ascertain the validity and reliability of the study, a pilot test was conducted in a test and re-test approach and correlation co-efficient of 0.89 was obtained. Furthermore, descriptive statistics like mean, standard deviation and percentage frequency as well as Pearson’s correlation, cross tabulation and chi-square test were used to examine the association between the level of advertising influences and preferences, and also to measure the degree of association along the demographic line. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used to analysed the data.

Chapter four presents the analysis of data. The results of analysis were presented in tables. Findings from the study show that a strong association exists between the level of advertising influences and students’ preference for GSM services in Kogi state tertiary institutions. The message of the advertisement is the most appealing element for students’ GSM patronage. Also, there is a low approval rate of prepaid package advertisement among users of GSM services while call tariff is considered the influencing extra advertorial intervening variable that influences students’ preferences for GSM services.

Other findings from the study include:

  • Most users of GSM services subscribe to two network
  • Majority of those who subscribe to two GSM networks are MTN and ETISALAT users
  • MTN is discovered to be the most advertised GSM network
  • GLO is the most preferred GSM network among students of Kogi state tertiary institutions.

5.2 Conclusion

Subscribers’ complaints over poor quality service delivery from service providers in Nigeria telecommunication industry necessitated the need to study the influence of advertising on perceptions and preferences for GSM services using students of Kogi state tertiary institutions as case study. The revolution of the telecommunication sector in Nigeria in 2001 no doubt brought respite to most people who hitherto have no privilege of using telephony services.

However, the inability of service providers to live up to their bidding by delivering a hitch free telephony service has remained worrisome among subscribers of GSM services in Nigeria. Notwithstanding, GSM service providers have continued to develop products and services and advertise same in order to lure subscribers to their brand. The frequency at which they providers advertise their products, couple with their inability of tackle problems of call drop, inability to sometime recharge and occasional network failure have often left subscribers frustrated, leaving them with no option than to look for alternative brand that will guarantee satisfaction.

Thus it was the researcher’s conviction to study the association that exists between advertising and subscribers’ choice of GSM service providers in other to make an empirical contribution to the quantitative understanding of the relationship between advertising and consumer behavior in the telecommunication industry in Nigeria.

Based on the above findings one can conclude that advertising has a role to play in subscribers’ choice of GSM network. This is because research finding on the level of advertising influence on subscribers’ preferences for GSM tend to be high. This is an indication that messages in an advertisements are given consideration because it is based on this that subscribers can make an informed decision on the GSM service to patronize.

Ironically, perceptions of GSM advertisements in the Nigeria telecommunication industry tend to be low based on what respondents termed as unrealistic, deceptive and exaggerating advertisements. Also, poor service delivery by service providers left subscribers with no choice than to switch to alternative brand that provides an improve service quality that satisfies their needs and also attract the lowest possible call tariff. This analysis therefore underscores the significant of price as an influencing factor in consumers’ choice analysis.

Analysing subscribers’ preferences for GSM services along demographic variables show a variation in both sex and age of respondents in their patronage of GSM services.

This variation stemmed from the finding of the study that respondent’s sex could determine the choice of the service provider to patronize, while the opposite could be said regarding respondent’s age from the cross tabulation of the two variables with respondent’s preferred GSM service.

Furthermore, it can be concluded that despite the amount service providers spend on advertising; such money does not affect the subscribers’ preference for the GSM services they patronize. This because over the years, researches have show that MTN has continued to be the highest spender on advertising among the service providers in Nigeria, however, such monetary spending of the pioneer GSM brand in Nigeria, have not given the MTN it an edge over its closest rivalry brand GLO in order of preference for GSM services among respondents in Kogi state tertiary institutions.

Finally, with most studies on consumer research centering on sales promotion, there is no doubt whatsoever that advertising help to shapes consumer’s perceptions and preferences given the role it plays and the level of impact it has on respondents’ choice of GSM service patronage. Thus, since advertising asserts such high level of influences on consumers’ decisions; such influence may affect perceptions which in turn may determine the GSM services subscribers may eventually patronize.


5.3 Recommendations

Based on the above findings and conclusion, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Advertising messages from service providers should be accurate, factual and realistic since such message could help shape subscriber’s perceptions and preferences.
  2. Service providers should pay more attention to other extra advertorial intervening variable rather than constant review of call tariff in order to help improving service quality.
  3. The strong positive association between the level of advertising influence and preferences should be explored by service providers in order to provide qualitative services to subscribers
  4. Finally, given the low user approval rate (poor perceptions) of GSM advertisements, it behooves on service providers create a good and enduring brand image in all ramifications.

5.4 Recommendations for Further Research

The researcher recommends that further studies should be conducted among workers, civil servants to find out whether the factors that affect their patronage of GSM service provider differ from those of students.

Furthermore, a comparative study on advertising influence on perceptions and preferences of GSM services should be carried out among students in several states so as to know whether there is variation in terms of factors affecting their patronage of GSM services.


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