Teenagers' perceptions of advertising in the online social networking environment : an exploratory study

Kelly, Louise (2008) Teenagers' perceptions of advertising in the online social networking environment : an exploratory study. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This study explores teenager perceptions towards advertising in the online social networking environment. The future of online social networking sites is dependant upon the continued support of advertisers in this new medium, which is linked to the acceptance of advertising on these sites by their targeted audience. This exploratory study used the qualitative research methods of focus groups and in-depth personal interviews to gain insights from the teenager participants. The literature review in Chapter Two examined the previous research into advertising theories, consumer attitudes and issues such as advertising avoidance, advertising as a service and trust and privacy in the online social networking environment. The teenage consumer was also examined as were the influences of social identity theory. From this literature review eleven propositions were formed which provided a structure to the analysis of the research. Chapter Three outlined the multi-method research approach of using focus groups and in-depth interviews. The key findings were outlined in Chapter Four and Chapter Five provides discussion regarding these findings and the implications for theory and advertising practice. The main findings from this study suggest that teenagers have very high levels of advertising avoidance and are sceptical towards advertising on their online social networking sites. They have an inherent distrust of commercial messages in the online social networking environment; however they are extremely trusting with the information that they disclose online. They believe that if their site is classified as private, then the information disclosed on this site is not accessible to anyone. The study explores the reasons behind these views. This research has resulted in the identification of seven motivations behind online social networking use. A new model of advertising avoidance in the online social networking environment is also presented and discussed. This model makes a contribution towards filling the gap in available research on online social networking sites and advertising perception. The findings of this study have also resulted in the identification of the characteristics of online social networking sites as an advertising medium. The newness of online social networking sites coupled with the enthusiastic adoption of online social networking by the teenage demographic means that this exploratory study will be of interest to both academics and practitioners alike.

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ID Code: 26966
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Kerr, Gayle
Keywords: advertising, avoidance, online social networking, perceptions, privacy, teenagers, trust
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2009 05:41
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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