Online Marketing : A study of users’ attitudes in the context of Blogs and Communities
The Internet has opened up new opportunities for companies to market and sell their products online. In the early days of internet marketing and still some of the more widely used methods are Pop-ups and Banners. Earlier research and academic studies have proven these methods of being perceived as irritating and more or less ignored. With this in mind, marketers have been searching to find new and alternative ways of marketing, in addition to the traditional methods. Eventually, when the trend of blogs and communities began growing, so did the companies interests towards them. Because of the new possible forms of marketing online, and due to the companies increasing effort of receiving better value regarding their advertisement budget, the purpose of this thesis is to examine if marketing on sites such as blogs and communities are more positively perceived upon among internet users. In some cases, this has been examined in relation to the more traditional means of online marketing. Furthermore, we examined whether or not the tailoring of advertisements had more effect on users, and if there were any differences in the general perception of blog- and community advertisements among male and female consumers.
The empirical data needed was gathered quantitatively through an online survey, based on the consumer point of view of this matter. As it became difficult to attain any response from users of internet blogs, the study became more focused on communities and forums. The survey was placed on three communities within current areas of interest; Home electronics, Sports and training, and Family life. Furthermore, a conceptualization was made out of the theoretical chapter, and was used for the analyzing of the data.
The results indicate that a majority of the respondents are more positive towards advertisements on blogs and communities, as well as customized advertisements within these mediums. It was further found that these advertisements did not disrupt the surfer’s flow as much as traditional mediums. The findings also show that a majority of the respondents are aware of online advertisements in general, and just as many have developed a dislike towards them. However, the male respondents have a more positive view of advertisements on blogs and communities, than the female. The same finding appeared in regard to tailored ads; while male consumers consider these as more acceptable, the female respondents have an indifferent opinion. To the question of why advertisement on these mediums were more regarded upon, the most common response was due to these ads being considered as more related to their interests. Conclusively, tailored ads that are developed and placed in relation to the website and its content have a larger effect on internet users, than do random advertisements.
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