Consumer Perceived Advertising Value And Attitude

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CONSUMER PERCEIVED ADVERTISING VALUE AND ATTITUDEAbstractWith Internet-based advertising spending taking a down turn and many studies attempting to studydifferent reasons, it is important to understand what consumers on the receiving side of the adsthink about online advertising. It is also important to further find out if consumers have differentperceptions toward traditional and online advertising. Literature in advertising and informationsystems suggests that the following four factors contribute to consumers’ perceived advertisingvalue and attitude for both traditional and Internet media: entertainment, irritation,informativeness, and credibility. We believe that interactivity is another factor that influencesconsumers’ perceptions. The present study extends the existing literature by (1) introducinginteractivity as another contributory factor, and (2) measuring consumers’ perceived value andattitude of advertising for different purposes (brand building and directional advertising) anddifferent media (traditional and Internet-based). The findings indicate that (1) the modeloriginally developed by Ducoffe and extended by Brackett and Carr is a valid model in general; (2)interactivity is a necessary factor that contributes to consumer perceptions of advertising attitude;(3) the differences between traditional media advertising and the Internet-based advertising do notexist in the model but reflect on different perceived levels of entertainment, informativeness,credibility, irritation, value and attitude; and (4) advertising value is not a mediator between theantecedents and advertising attitude. A parsimonious model of measuring advertising attitude canbe better illustrated by removing value from the model. In addition to adding findings to theliterature from a theoretical perspective, this study provides practical guidelines for advertisingdesigners and marketers to better strategize their advertising designs, especially for Internet-basedadvertising.Keywords: Internet-based advertising, traditional advertising, consumer perception,advertising value, attitude toward advertising, interactivity1

IntroductionWhile the top 100 U.S advertisers spent 64 billion on advertising in 1998 and the spending in allmedia totaled 231.3 billion in 2001, advertising efficiency has been in question (Luo, 2001; Coen,2002). Practitioners would like to know the efficiency of advertising into which they have pouredhuge investment and how to improve their advertising strategy. To their disappointment, literaturein advertising and Information Systems suggests that advertising in both traditional media and theInternet is either easily ignored by the audience or is perceived to have little value. The intrusivetactics advertisers employ when competing for consumers’ attention can be “annoying” to theaudiences (Sandage & Leckenby, 1980; Rettie, Robinson & Jenner, 2001). The intrusiveadvertisements can also be costly to decrease viewers’ information seeking task performance(Zhang 2000). Limited time and mental resources make it difficult for the audience to dedicatesufficient attention to most advertisements. Moreover, the development of the Internet is resultingin great growth of online advertising, exposing the audience to an ever-increasing number ofpromotional messages (Fitzgerald, 1999; Clutter 2000). It not only has the competition forattraction more intensive, but also makes consumers develop a more sophisticated and selectiveattention for advertising. All of the above enhances the challenge for advertisers to attract attentionfrom the audience. Consequently, studies tend to show a generally negative public attitude towardadvertising (Alwitt & Prabhaker, 1994; Zanot, 1981; Zhang 2002). Consumers’ ignorance alsoreflects on the falling click-though-rate (CTR) of online advertisement. Statistics show that CTRof advertising have plummeted down from an average 2-3% to 0.24% in December 2000(Hoffman 2001). CTR of sales promotion through emails during August 2001-August 2002 is only1.7% (Internet Advertising Bureau 2002).However, the above findings may not be sufficient to eliminate the accountability of advertising asa vehicle of conveying information to the intended audiences. Of interest is the continuing andsteady rise of online traffic well after the subsiding of enthusiasm associated with the dot-comcraze. The Internet has become a proven medium for advertising and has become a viablealternative to traditional media such as television and billboards. Although current figures fail tomeet previous expectations, the online environment has established itself as a unique venue forcommerce that has high growth potential. Ducoffe (1996) argues, “The vast majority ofadvertising exposures reach individuals when they are not shopping for the product or servicebeing advertised, so most messages are simply not relevant to consumer concerns at the time ofexposure” (p.22). This places researchers and practitioners in the position of refining theirunderstanding of online advertising in order to better utilize the strengths of the Internetenvironment. Therefore, the importance of an advertising strategy that caters to consumers’ needshas emerged. It also reveals that the focal point for the development of effective advertisingstrategy, especially focusing on how the Internet should be differentiated from more traditionalmeans of advertising (Eighmey, 1997; Bezjian, 1998; Chen & Wells, 2000), is in grasping factorsthat contribute to positive values and favorable attitudes of consumers.Among the fruitful studies on online advertising, some do not differentiate the fundamentaldifferences of advertising purposes, thus making the studies hard to compare or interpret.Advertising can be classified into two categories: brand building and directional (Fernandez andRosen, 2000; Lohse and Rosen, 2001). Brand building advertising is synonymous with productadvertising and is commonly seen in traditional mass media, including TV, radio, magazine, and2

newspaper. Brand building advertisements tend to be product/service (or retailer) oriented with thepurpose of establishing a positive image and creating demand for a product or service that leads toeventual purchase (Barrow, 1990; Rosenberg, 1995). The communication route is typicallyone-to-many and is designed to reach a mass audience by using a tactic of “intrusion” aimed atcapturing the attention of viewers. Directional advertising is designed to help potential buyerslocate interesting information (Fernandez, 1995). The communication route is typically one-to-oneand it is assumed that a potential buyer brings himself or herself to ads. Advertising in this case iscatering to customers’ needs. There is modest research on “directional media” such as YellowPages, catalogs, newspaper classifieds, movie listings, directories and industrial guides while thereis considerable research on advertising placed in traditional mass media. Advertisements indirectional media differ from those in traditional mass media. For example, ads in directionalmedia are placed in goal-oriented and highly organized settings (Fernandez, 2000) that allowconsumers to collect and process information at a desired pace. Conversely, advertisements intraditional mass media can be within a distracting and unorganized environment where little roomis spared to the audience to critically evaluate the quality of the product and/or service. These twofundamentally different types of advertising are sometimes undistinguishable in several researchstudies, making their findings difficult to apply.The literature of advertising and Information Systems has studies measuring the efficiency ofadvertising from both advertisers’ and consumers’ perspectives. Studies represent perspectives ofadvertisers tend to focus on the amount of sales and consumers purchasing behaviors (Simon andArndt, 1980; Ekici, Commuri and Kennedy, 1999). There are also studies that focus on consumeradvertising behavior (Chatterjee, et al. 1998), or effective online ad designs (Bhatnagar & Papatla,2001; Langheinrch, et al.; Dreze and Zufryden, 1997; Palmer and Griffith, 1998; Rararski, 2002).On the other hand, effectiveness of advertising can be measured from a consumer’s perspective bystudying consumers’ perceived advertising value and their perceived favor in advertising, or theirattitude, which have implications to the consumer’s future advertising intention and behavior(Ajzen, 1991).In this study, we examine consumers’ perceptions on the values and attitudes between theInternet-based advertising and traditional advertising for both brand building and directionaladvertising purposes. By doing so, we intend to clarify some conceptual confusions in the currentliterature on advertising attitude and value, to validate and to extend some existing models onadvertising attitude and value. We believe that the Internet and Web have the potential to supportgoal-oriented consumers. This can be utilized by well-designed directional online ads through databased marketing. We hope that this research can provide practical suggestions on how to designeffective online ads to fully utilize the advantages of the online medium.A Model of Advertising Value and AttitudeExisting advertising literature shows some confusion between the two constructs used in studyingadvertising perceptions. Some do not draw a distinction between advertising value and attitude(Alwitt & Prabhaker 1994; Metha, 2000; Chen & Wells, 2000; Bezjian-Avery et al. 1998); whileothers think that value and attitude are separate constructs.3

Attitude toward advertising (Aad) is a multidimensional construct with numerous definitions(Heath and Gaeth, 1994). It is an affective construct with a cognitive component and is useful inexplaining the influences of ad exposure on consumer brand beliefs, brand attitude and purchaseintention (Mitchell and Olson, 1981; Shimp, 1981). It has been suggested by researchers that thecognitive dimensions of Aad come from more deliberate, effortful and central processing while theaffective dimensions are from less effortful, low involvement, peripheral processing (Petty andCacioppo, 1981; MacKenzie and Lutz, 1989). However, pinpointing attitude toward the ad as anaffective response to ads has been a popular indicator for measuring the effectiveness ofadvertising (Srull 1990; Brown and Staymen 1992).Advertising value, on the other hand, is defined by Ducoffe (1995) as a “subjective evaluation ofthe relative worth or utility of advertising to consumers” (p. 1). Ducoffe (1996) further defines advalue as a cognitive assessment of the extent to which advertising gives consumers what theywant. He explains that the distinction between advertising value and attitude toward advertisingallows for variability in consumers’ responses. For example, customers could dislike an ad theydeem valuable and vice versa. Although consumers’ emotional response to ads has beenintertwined with cognitive assessment, researchers have attempted to untangle emotionalresponses from cognitive processing to better understand the influence of advertising (MacInnisand Jaworski 1989). One way of doing this is to conceptualize the relationship between emotionaleffects and cognitive evaluation (Lang and Friestad, 1993)By separating emotional component from cognitive reaction, Ducoffe (1995) develops aframework for predicting consumer’s value and attitude toward advertising. He identifiesentertainment, informativeness, and irritation as factors contributing to consumers’ evaluations ofad values and thus attitude toward ads. Ducoffe (1996) then applies his model to the webenvironment. Without distinguishing the two types of advertising purposes, he confirms previousresults and finds that attitude toward Web advertising is directly dependent on advertising value.Furthermore, advertising value is dependent on perceived levels of entertainment,informativeness, and irritation.Brackett and Carr (2001) further validate Ducoffe’s model and extend the model to includecredibility and consumer demographics. Credibility is directly related to both advertising valueand attitude toward advertising. Demographic variables such as college major and gender areshown to affect only attitude toward advertising. Ducoffe (1996) and Brackett and Carr (2001)measure Attitude toward Aad by favorability/unfavorability. Again, Brackett and Carr do notseparate brand building from directional adverting purposes.One of the many differences between traditional and online advertising is the level of interactivitya consumer may experience with an ad. Compared to traditional media, the Internet provides morecapabilities and thus more opportunities for consumers. Some of the Internet-based ads havecertainly utilized the capabilities and have higher interactivity than many of the ads carried intraditional medium. There are also studies that find that interactivity is a factor that may affectconsumer perceptions on ad value and attitude (Cho and Leckenby, 1999; Wu, 1999). Thus it isreasonable to believe that interactivity should be another antecedent to advertising value andattitude.4

Interactivity is an underdefined concept that muddles different meanings and is used in differentdisciplines (Heeter 2000; Wu 1999). Among the many definitions, there are three dominant waysof defining interactivity: human-human interaction, human-message interaction andhuman-computer interaction (Cho and Leckenby 1999; Sukpanich and Chen, 2000). Hwang andMcMillan (2002) summarize that the focus of human-human interaction is two-waycommunication or information exchange between/among sender(s) and receiver(s); the focus ofhuman-computer interaction is often on locus of control; and the emphasis in human-messageinteraction is the perception of time in terms of the speed with which messagesexchanged/delivered, the speed with which an individual processes message, and users’ ability toquickly navigate through a wealth of information. Cho and Leckenby (1999) also identify thatcustomization of the message is an important factor in human-message interaction.In a similar vein, Sukpanich and Chen (2000) classify interactivity in the Web environment intothree categories: machine interactivity, content interactivity and personal interactivity. Machineinteractivity occurs when the computer responds to a users’ click, while content interactivity existsas a person feels that the content matches their needs. Personal interactivity establishes as aone-on-one relationship with the salesperson or other consumers online presents.In our study, we view advertising as a combination of media and promotional messages. Thus thefocus is on machine interactivity and content interactivity. Specifically, interactivity is measuredby two-way communication (or vividness), control, frequency of exchange, and customization.Since active engagement from the users is a prerequisite for the interaction to exist, we incorporatedegree of cognitive involvement as another measurement.Figure 1 depicts our framework of consumer’s perception on advertising. The four factors(informativeness, entertainment, irritation, and credibility) are expected to affect value andattitude in the ways shown, according to the literature (note that the relationship betweeninformativeness and attitude only appears in Brackett and Carr’s model). Interactivity may affectboth value and attitude in positive ways. In this study, we do not consider demographic impact onvalue and/or IrritationCredibilityInteractivityFigure 1. Extended Model of Advertising Value and Attitude5

Research MethodThe purpose of the study is to identify viewers’ general perceptions on advertising value andattitude. The perceptions are normally self-reported. Thus a survey method is suitable and has beena popular method for this type of research.A self-reported survey is conducted at a major northeastern university in US in the spring of 2002.Participants are 303 college students from 13 undergraduate and graduate classes. Marketers haverecognized the importance of youth market since the 1920s (Giles, 1992). The college market hasbeen regarded as a segment with enormous size and economic potential (Dumont, 1920; Burns,1926; Kessler, 1998; Gannon, 1999). According to Wolburg and Pokrywczynski (2001), studentstend to be early adopters of new products and are good examples of the remainder of thepopulation. They establish loyalties and preferences for brands and goods that persist long aftergraduation. Also, students have influence on parental choices for products (Russell, 1926).Therefore the market of college students demands careful attention.A total of 12 advertising examples are chosen to represent different advertising purposes (brandbuilding vs. directional advertising) and media (traditional vs. Internet based). The purpose ofusing examples is to put the participant’s mind into a specific situation with a specific advertisingmedium when responding to the questions in the survey. For instance, for the Traditional BrandBuilding situation, TV commercial, Billboards, and Newspaper Non-Classified Sections are usedas advertising examples.Each participant is randomly given one of the 12 examples and is asked to answer the questionsbased on his or her overall experience with the example advertisement in a given situation, whichis stated in the survey. A sample survey can be found in the appendix. All surveys are completedduring class time. A total of 290 usable surveys are analyzed. The average age of these 290participants is 23 with a standard deviation of 5.7. Among the participants, 20% are infreshmen/sophomore classes, 55% junior/senior, and 25% graduate and doctoral. In addition, 33%are females, 54% white, 26% Asian, and 20% of African-America, Hispanic, Native America, andmulti-racial all together. These participants have an average of 6.3 years (std is 2) of Internetexperience, and spend an average of 22 hours (std is 15) on the Internet per week. Fifty percent ofthe participants report that they use the Internet primarily for information, 23% for entertainment,and 27% for both.Data Analysis and ResultsFactor analyses confirm the loading of three antecedents (entertainment, informativeness, andcredibility) in the original model. One item within the original irritation construct, “confusing,”does not load with the rest of the irritation items and is dropped from the consequent analyses.Factor analysis also confirms the loading of the six items for Interactivity. Table 1 shows theconstructs and the corresponding measuring items.6

Table 1. Constructs and Measuring ItemsN 290, -3 strongly disagree, 3 strongly agree.TraditionalMedia re good sources of product/service information.supply relevant product information.provide timely information.are good sources of up-to-date product/service information.make product information immediately accessible.are convenient sources of product/service information.supply complete product/service information.Entertainmentare entertaining.are pleasing.are enjoyable.are fun to use.are exciting.Irritationinsult people's intelligence.are annoying.are irritating.are deceptive.Credibilityare credible.are trustworthy.are believable.Interactivityprovide high degree of cognitive involvement.provide frequent exchange.can offer me a vivid communication experience.facilitate two-way communication.are customized to meet my own needs.give me a lot of control over my experience with this ad.Valueare useful.are valuable.are important.Attitudeare favorable.InternetMedia .92.77.89.85.87Testing the ModelStructured equation models are used to test the model in Figure 1. Figure 2 depicts the empiricalmodel demonstrated by the 290 surveys. All pathways are significant with p .01 or less. Thisresult is consistent with that of Ducoffe’s (1996) in terms of the relationships between the threeantecedents (informativeness, entertainment, and irritation) to value and attitude. In terms ofBrackett & Carr’s model, our analysis confirms the significant pathways credibility has with valueand attitude but does not confirm the direct relationship between informativeness and attitude. Ourmodel in Figure 2 also shows that interactivity has rather strong positive correlations with7

informativeness, credibility, and entertainment, and a negative correlation with irritation.Interactivity is an antecedent to attitude, but not to INTERACTFigure 2. Empirical Model of Advertising Value and AttitudeComparing the Traditional and the Internet-base Media AdvertisingAmong the 290 surveys, 140 are about traditional media and 150 Internet based. Using structuredequation models to examine these two groups of data reveals the models in Figures 3 and 4. As themodels indicate, there are no significant differences on the relationships between the fiveindependent variables and value, and between Entertainment, Credibility, Interactivity, Value andAttitude. The differences lie with the correlations between the independent variables. For example,there is no significant correlation between Entertainment and Irritation for the traditional media,but a negative one for the Internet media. It is the same between Interactivity and Irritation. Also,the correlation between Information and Irritation is enlarged (negatively) for the Internet media.Table 2 includes the pairwise comparisons of the means of the seven constructs for the two mediacategories. It shows that there are significant differences between traditional media advertising andthe Internet based advertising for all the constructs except Interactivity at the level of .001. Afurther data analysis is planed to investigate whether the different purposes of advertising (brandbuilding vs. directional advertising) may affect the perceived levels on the constructs.8

d2d1-.29VALUE.29.64ATTI.17.14CRED.49INTERACTFigure 3. Empirical Model of Traditional NTERACTFigure 4. Empirical Model of Internet MediaTable 2. Pairwise Comparisons of MeansMean Difference (I-J) Std. ErrorSig.(I) MEDIA (J) MEDIAInformationTraditionalInternet.469 ***.141.001EntertainmentTraditionalInternet.947 ***.148.000IrritationTraditionalInternet-.885 ***.138.000CredibilityTraditionalInternet.973 3.099ValueTraditionalInternet1.214 ***.168.000AttitudeTraditionalInternet.902 ***.166.000Based on estimated marginal meansThe mean difference is significant at the .05 level (*), .01 level (**), .001 level (***).9

A Model of Advertising AttitudeDucoffe proposes that advertising value and advertising attitude are highly associated. Therefore,a consumer who assesses advertising to be valuable is expected to generate favorable attitude.Both Ducoffe and Brackett & Carr’s studies find entertainment would directly impact advertisingattitude. Ducoffe (1996) attributes this to the affective component of both constructs that are notcaptured by advertising value. In this sense, Ad value is positioned as one of the antecedents (orpredictors) of Attitude toward Ad. However, this interpretation of affective component does notexplain why irritation, a very affective component, does not directly relate to attitude. The fact thatentertainment, credibility, and interactivity directly contribute to attitude may suggest thatadvertising value does not mediate the relationships between the four antecedents and advertisingattitude due to reasons other than differences between affective vs. cognitive. This fact alsoindicates that the model alone is not clear to show what the relationships between the fourindependent variables and attitude are. Therefore there is a need to reconceptualize the relationshipbetween attitude toward ad and ad value.To investigate the contributing factors of attitude toward advertising, we reexamine the model inFigure 2 by removing the value construct, resulting the model in Figure 5. The Aikake InformationIndex (AIC) is 40 for the model in Figure 5, and 51 for the model in Figure 2. Figure 2 has asquared multiple correlation (SMC) of .69, whereas Figure 5 has an SMC of .67. These resultssuggest that leaving value out of the model causes little reduction in the variance accounted for andprovides a more parsimonious and clearer model for advertising attitude. Note thatinformativeness and irritation have very minimum influence (non-significant) on attitude, whichsuggest that if one’s purpose is to investigate consumers’ attitude toward advertising, onlyentertainment, credibility, and interactivity should be considered as the antecedents to attitude.ENTE.70.45-.47INFO.64.68IRRI.68.74.04 (ns)-.49-.54-.38d2.67-.06 (ns)ATTI.22.19CRED.62INTERACTFigure 5. Empirical Model of Advertising Attitude (Value Removed)Discussions and ImplicationsIn general, this study supports what Ducoffe (1996) and Brackett and Carr (2001) find aboutconsumer advertising value and attitude. It confirms that the original model is a valid one that can10

be applied to advertising in both the traditional and the Internet media. However, the role of advalue in consumers’ attitude toward advertising needs to be clarified further. We are yet to look atthe data further to verify if the model is valid for both brand building and directional advertising.Although interactivity does not contribute to value, it does have a small but significant effect onadvertising attitude. This relationship is the same for both traditional and Internet basedadvertising. One way of interpreting the high correlations interactivity has with the other fourconstructs is that interactivity enhances entertainment for example. High interactivity results inhigh level of perceived entertainment, which in turn contributes to advertising value. That is,interactivity itself does not contribute to the value directly but has impact on the antecedents ofvalue. High interactivity also seems to correlates with low irritation level, high credibility and highinformativeness, which all have positive impact on value.On the other hand, high correlations between interactivity and other constructs may indicate that ithas a unique position in the model other than in parallel with the other four constructs. Further dataanalysis will be conducted to test if interactivity is a precursor to the other four constructs.It is important to understand that advertising value is not a mediator between the antecedents andadvertising attitude. If the purpose of a study is to test consumer attitude toward advertising, thenusing a parsimonious model is better to illustrate the relationships between attitude and otherfactors. For example, informativeness does not contribute to attitude at all. On the other hand,however, if advertising value is also the purpose of a study, then the model in Figure 2 is useful,although it hides the real relationships between the antecedents and attitude.Even though the versatility of Internet provides more opportunities for advertising than thetraditional media do, respondents consider traditional advertising more informative, moreentertaining, more credible, and less irritating than the Internet based advertising. Consequently,they perceive traditional advertising more valuable and more favorable. This may have to do withthe fact that most people use the Internet primarily for information purpose (50% of this samplereport they use the Internet primarily for information, and 27% say primarily for both informationand entertainment) and thus are annoyed/irritated when they are distracted or interrupted bypop-up windows, banners, email advertising etc. This implies that advertisers may be backfired byemploying intrusive strategies unscrupulously. It also reveals that taking consumers’ perceptionsinto account is very important while designing Internet based advertising.ConclusionIn this research, we take a consumer’s perspective and examine consumers’ perceptions ofdifferent types of ads. Our aims are to understand the determining factors that affect consumers’perceived value and attitude, and their perceived differences between the Internet-basedadvertising and traditional advertising for both brand building and directional purposes. We hopeto contribute to a better conceptual understanding of consumers’ perceptions by extending theexisting frameworks. Meanwhile, this study can provide practical suggestions on how to designeffective online ads to better serve consumers’ needs.11

There are several limitations in this research. First of all, similar to some of the existing studies,our sample of participants is students from a major northeastern university in US. Despite the factthe youth market is an important one, this sample does not represent the entire population.Consequently, the generalizability of our findings is limited. A study drawing on more diversesegments of the population may provide fruitful insight. Nevertheless, this study does confirm theprevious findings on consumer perceived advertising value and attitude. Secondly, owing to thetime constraints, only preliminary data analyses are conducted. Further analyses are needed tocompare any differences between advertising purposes (brand building vs. d

Attitude toward advertising (Aad) is a multidimensional construct with numerous definitions (Heath and Gaeth, 1994). It is an affective construct with a cognitive component and is useful in explaining the influences of ad exposure on consumer brand beliefs, brand attitude and purchase intention (Mitchell and Olson, 1981; Shimp, 1981).

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