Swedes only hate queue jumpers they don't know : A description of brand attitudes on Google's SERPs
Abstract: Background: The Internet has developed the world of advertising by giving advertisers the possibility to track specific patterns among their consumers, which shows how consumers are clicking on online advertisements and what translates into sales for the brand. Lately, companies have actively starting to make use of search engines marketing (SEM). The paid advertising on search engines is one option to make a brand’s website visible to its consumers. The attitudes towards advertisements have previously been examined in traditional media and in other online settings, but the research in the context of search engines is limited. Therefore, it calls for deeper insights and knowledge in how consumers hold attitudes towards a brand and its paid advertising on search engines such as Google. Purpose: The purpose is to describe how users’ attitudes towards brands are influenced by the fact that brands have paid for advertising on search engine result pages. This is done through the ABC-model of attitudes. The question asked in this study was: How does paid advertising displayed on search engines affect the attitudes held towards a brand? Methodology: This thesis project used a qualitative approach and was of descriptive nature. The data was gathered through seven unstructured in-depths interviews based on a quota sample considering three criteria: age group, in this case, 18-29-year-olds, and the variable of regular e-commerce buyers, as well as the participants being users of the search engine Google. The researchers verified data saturation at seven interviews. Conclusion: The main finding in this study is that the level of familiarity influences the participants attitudes towards the brand. Previous experience and knowledge with a brand was an affecting factor of how they interpreted the brand’s advertising on Google’s search engine result pages. Knowledge and a positive experience with a brand generated a more positive attitude towards the brand when an unknown brand generated a neutral or more negative attitude towards the brand. Related factors that also influenced the study were the clicking pattern, the landing page, the choices of wording and the intended target groups by the brands. The study also presents a range of recommendations for future research, as well as theoretical and managerial implications.
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