Social Networking Sites – Consumers’ assessment of the value of advertisements (Extended Model)

Abstract: In light of the identified shortcomings in the earlier studies of consumers’ assessment of advertisement value on social networking sites, and the relative importance of explaining advertisement value, the overall purpose of this dissertation is to develop and empirically test a conceptual framework that can advance knowledge and increase our understanding of how online consumers assess the value of advertisements on social networking sites. In reference to this purpose, this doctoral dissertation has sought to answer the following overarching research question: What are the relevant variables that predict online consumers’ assessment of advertisement value on social networking sites, and how do these variables affect their assessment?To achieve the purpose of this study and to answer its overarching research question, a mixed method approach was used, adapting both quantitative and qualitative methods. A sequential explanatory strategy using mixed methods was the primary approach used to explain and interpret the quantitative results, by collecting and analyzing follow-up qualitative data. Consequently, this study started by doing a systematic literature review to identify the related factors, followed by a conceptual study to provide an extended conceptual framework that connected consumer beliefs to their sources of gratifications from using SNSs. That conceptual framework was partially examined in three survey papers to test the effects of its five belief factors (information value, entertainment value, irritation value, interactivity value, and credibility value) on assesments of advertisement value on SNSs. The three survey papers found that these five belief factors have significant effects on assessments of advertisement value on social networking sites. However, those effects varied according to consumers’ cultural backgrounds. The three survey papers were then followed by a qualitative focus group study to give a deeper explanation, and to discover the underlying reasons behind consumers’ assessment of advertisement value. That focus group study confirmed the role of culture in assessing the value of advertisements, and it gave deeper explanations behind the reasons for that variance in assessments of advertisement value within the context of social networking sites from one research population to another. In general, this study contributes to the understanding of consumers’ assessments of advertisements on social networking sites. It offers a new approach by connecting consumers’ gratifications from using social networking sites to their assessment of advertisement value. In turn, it helps to reflect a number of valuable insights that can be utilized by both researchers and marketers in order to understand how the addressed factors enhance consumers’ assessments by testing the contribution of credibility, interactivity value, social influence, pre-purchase search motivation, and cultural backgrounds, in addition to previously tested variables: information value, entertainment value, and irritation value.