Abstract: The main purpose of this study was to investigate Social media advertising and its influence on audience preference of similar product. Research questions were formulated to guide the study. The researcher adopted a qualitative case study design for the study. The population of this study comprised all the year one students of Mass Communication Department in the institution selected for the study who use various social media platforms. The sample size of this study comprise of thirty (30) students selected from the population of the study. The instrument for data collection was a Structure Interview guide. The researcher designed the in-depth semi-structured interview questions based on the research questions. The researcher designed the in-depth semi-structured interview questions based on the research questions.
The researcher employed semi-structured interviews to collect data as they are regarded as most valuable in qualitative studies. The data extracted from the semi-structured interviews were analysed using Burnard’s (1991) thematic content analysis. The researcher employed Burnard’s (1991) stage-by-stage method of data analysis for the analysis of semi-structured interviews. His method postulates that semi- structured interviews should be recorded in full and the whole recording be transcribed. The result of the findings shows that there is a positive influence of social media advertising on audience preference of similar products.
Social Media Advertising And Its Influence On Audience Preference Of Similar Product
1.1 Background to 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.
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”.