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Social Media Advertising Effects

Saleem Alhabash, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University,
404 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI 48824-1212, Email: sa@msu.edu

The year 2019 marks 15 years since Facebook was launched; a web platform built in a college dorm room that evolved to become the hub for more than a quarter of the world population (that’s over two billion users; Facebook.com, 2018; worldometers.com, 2018), and a marketplace for diminishing lines between the personal, social, political, and commercial aspects of our lives. Facebook and other social media platforms have become inescapable necessities of the digital era. And while their shape and form may vary, social media platforms and their utility for persuasive purposes (e.g., advertising and promotion) will only continue to grow (Statista.com, 2018). Digital ad spending, for the first time in history, surpassed TV ad spending in 2017 (Swant, 2018), and increasing proportion of these ad dollars are now being shifted to social media advertising (though search – e.g., Google – remains top) (MDG Advertising, 2018).

From a practical standpoint, much of what we’ve been seeing in relation to social media advertising has been largely experimental, namely relying on trial-and-error tactics facilitated by cheaper ad investments when compared to traditional media advertising (e.g., Gordon et al. 2016). While some large companies and agencies are streamlining the science of social media advertising, the continuum in terms of proficiency is wider than anything the ad industry has seen and dealt with. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity from a scholarly/theoretical perspective. The current environment is a challenge because we are dealing with ruminants of the “long tail theory” in envisioning effectiveness of social media advertising (Andrerson, 2004). At the peakiest point of the curve we see strategies and tactics that are well thought-out yet the story lies in the long tail end of the curve; this is where the innovation happens, with less evidence to support it, a true reflection of experimenting with social, and much to tell about the current state of affairs of advertising as well as humans. The current challenging times are also opportunity-filled. As advertising scholars, we are tasked with making sense of all of this. Creating theories from trends that change every other day. Testing theories that are supported – at best – half of the time. This complex environment has changed how we conduct our lives. For that reason, our theoretical explorations of social media advertising also need to change. Read More...

Journal of Interactive Advertising

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleVolumeIssueDOI
What makes people watch online in-stream video advertisements?Joa, Clair Youngnyo, Kisun Kim, and Louisa Ha Journal of Interactive Advertising18(1): 1-1410.1080/15252019.2018.1437853
Why people pass along online video advertising: From the perspectives of the interpersonal communication motives scale and the theory of reasoned action Lee, Joonghwa, Chang-Dae Ham, and Mikyoung KimJournal of Interactive Advertising13(1):1-1310.1080/15252019.2013.768048
Viral advertising in social media Chu, Shu-ChuanJournal of Interactive Advertising12(1): 30-4310.1080/15252019.2011.10722189
Spreading the virusEckler, Petya and Paul Bolls Journal of Interactive Advertising11(2): 1-1110.1080/15252019.2011.10722180
Toward a tweet typology: Contributory consumer engagement with brand messages by content typeVargo, Chris J. Journal of Interactive Advertising16(2): 157-16810.1080/15252019.2016.1208125
Double-Dipping Effect? How Combining YouTube Environmental PSAs With Thematically Congruent Advertisements in Different Formats Affects Memory and AttitudesKononova, Anastasia and Shupei YuanJournal of Interactive Advertising15(1): 2-1510.1080/15252019.2015.1009524
Saw it on Facebook, drank it at the bar! Effects of exposure to Facebook alcohol ads on alcohol-related behaviorsAlhabash, Saleem, Anna R. McAlister, Wonkyung Kim, Chen Lou, Carie Cunningham, Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, and Jef I. Richards Journal of Interactive Advertising16(1):44-5810.1080/15252019.2016.1160330
From Clicks to Behaviors: The Mediating Effect of Intentions to Like, Share, and Comment on the Relationship Between Message Evaluations and Offline Behavioral IntentionsAlhabash, Saleem, Anna R. McAlister, Chen Lou, and Amy Hagerstrom Journal of Interactive Advertising15(2):82-9610.1080/15252019.2015.1071677

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