Targeted social media advertising and consumer decision making in online buying behavior
Koskinen, Siiri (2017-06-05)
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The aim of this research is to understand how targeted social media advertising influences online buying behavior. More accurately, this research focuses on the five-stage consumer buying decision process model and how targeted social media advertisements affect each stage of the model. This research approaches the subject through phenomenography, where the objective is to concentrate on the attitudes and opinions of individuals and gain a deeper understanding by observing the phenomenon closely. Research theory examines prior research of social media marketing, targeted social media advertising and consumers buying behavior. In this research social media marketing and the possible reactions towards targeted social media advertising are interpreted to be able to create a comprehensive understanding of current research. The online specific features of the different stages in the buying decision model are acknowledged in the research theory and included in the theoretical framework of the research. The empirical research is conducted as a qualitative research and semi-structured interviews are utilized to gather the empirical data. The research target group consists of young adults, who are active social media users and make purchases online on a regular basis. The 24–27 year-old interviewees in this target group participated in the research. Abductive reasoning guides the empirical analysis of the research and the empirical data is analyzed by dividing data into relevant themes. The findings of this research indicate that targeted social media advertisements affect the consumer online buying behavior throughout the whole buying decision process. The influence of targeted social media advertisements is greater depending on the stage of the process. Targeted advertisements can arouse different reactions and affect positively to the online buying intention, when the advertisements are correctly targeted. This research complements the prior social media research by emphasizing the significance of effectively targeted advertisements. According to this research, online buying behavior follows the five-stage buying process model, but is also influenced by online specific variables. The research findings provide further information about the effects of targeted social media advertisements and increase the understanding of consumer online buying behavior. This research also emphasizes the importance of effective targeting of social media advertising and provides means for implementation of targeted advertisements. It needs to be acknowledged that the narrow target group and the subjective nature of phenomenography limit the generalization of the research findings.
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