Abstract: The main aim of this study was to investigate the attitude of students toward social media advertisement. The study was anchored on Technology Determinism Theory and Source Credibility Theory. A cross-sectional survey research method was adopted while questionnaires were used to elicit responses from the respondents using a quota sampling technique. Descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage method) was used to analyze the data collected while the data were presented with the aid of tables. The study found that the majority of the respondents were aware of advertisements of products and services particularly on Facebook and other online platforms. A sizable number of the respondents have at one time or the other bought or patronize goods and services online before. Findings also revealed that the major challenge thwarting buying or patronizing services online are the level of insecurity, lack of trust, and high presence of online scammers whereas convenience, time-saving, availability of such products/services in their area, and friends and family experience encourage those that buy or use services or goods online. It was recommended that students be encouraged to develop a critical mindset when consuming advertisements on social media. They should question the credibility, accuracy, and relevance of the ads they encounter. Remind them that not everything they see on social media is trustworthy or unbiased.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Table of Contents vi
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study________________________________________1
1.2 Statement of the Problem _______________________________________3
1.3 Objectives of the Study_________________________________________4
1.4 Research Questions____________________________________________4
1.5 Significance of the Study________________________________________5
1.6 Scope of the Study____________________________________________6
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms _________________________________6
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Conceptual Review___________________________________________20
2.2 Empirical Studies____________________________________________25
2.3 Theoretical Framework_______________________________________25
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design____________________________________________33
3.2 Research Method___________________________________________33
3.3 Study Population_____________________________________________34
3.4 Sample Size ________________________________________________34
3.5 Sampling Technique _________________________________________34
3.6 Instrument for Data Collection__________________________________35
3.7 Validity and Reliability of Research Instrument_____________________35
3.8 Data Collection Process________________________________________36
3.9 Method of Data Analysis_______________________________________36
3.10 Ethical Consideration__________________________________________37
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.1 Demographic Variables Analysis of Respondents____________________39
4.2 Analysis of Research Questions Related Variables___________________39
4.2 Discussion of Findings_________________________________________48
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
5.2. Conclusions ________________________________________________51
5.3 Recommendations ___________________________________________52
5.4 Limitations to the Study_______________________________________54
1.1 Background to the Study
Almost all human activities on earth have been revolutionalized and witnessed a tremendous change from their conventional process/practice due to advancements in technology in this 21st century. One of the human activities greatly influenced in this era are modes of shopping, marketing, advertising, and communication generally.
Electronic marketing is sometimes used interchangeably with woo-commerce, e-commerce, online marketing, online shopping, e-shopping, and internet marketing and it is the process of browsing and searching products information in a virtual online environment in order to provide sufficient information for purchase decisions, and then implement the purchase action, this also gives rise to online advertising/ social media advertising that any brand that cares about surviving or become a household choice must not toy with (Mengli and Rui, n.d).
Nowadays, social media has become part of a person’s life. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, and many more have millions of users and keeps growing every day. For instance, as of January 2021, there were 4.66 billion active Internet users worldwide which is 59.5 percent of the global population (Joseph, 2021). As of the first quarter of 2021, China was ranked first among the countries with the most internet users. China had 854 million internet users, more than double the amount of the third-ranked United States with just over 313 million internet users. Nigeria is in 6th position worldwide with 126.8 million (Joseph, 2021).
By the end of 2020, Nigeria was the country in West Africa with the largest number of Facebook subscribers. About 31.6 million users in Nigeria had a Facebook account. Ghana followed with almost eight million subscribers. In fact, Nigeria and Ghana also have the largest populations in West Africa. Nigeria counted 206 million people, whereas Ghana had 31 million inhabitants. In addition, Nigeria was recorded in March 2020 as the third-largest internet penetration rate in West Africa (Simona, 2021).
The statistic presents the distribution of Facebook users in Nigeria as of July 2021, broken down by age group (29,150,000). As of the measured period, 25 to 34-year-olds accounted for 32.8 percent of Facebook users in Nigeria, whereas just three percent of users were aged between 55 and 64 years old (Statista Research Department, 2021).
The above statistics indicated the main reason for the increasing use of social media and other online platforms for promoting products and services as most social media users especially youth are now online, thus, companies and brand owners are capitalizing on this to promote their products online especially youth-produced products such as Virony Sanitary Pad i.e The number of social media users growth have attracted marketers. Marketers have recognized that social media marketing is an important part of their marketing communication strategies.
Also, social media helps organizations/brand owners to communicate with their customers/consumers bi-directional or interactive in nature. These interactions help marketers determine customers’ needs and understand what their market might look like. Key business factors of social media allow consumers to make recommendations and suggestions to contacts or friends, and share any of the unique experiences through social media.
The relationship between social media and consumer decision-making presents that social media affects brand attitudes and purchasing intentions of consumer(s). It will not necessarily affect consumers’ decision-making but might possess a mediating effect while can also serve as a testimonial to other prospective buyers or users (Taining, 2012). In social media advertisement, either a website link is shared and if clicked, it will redirect one to the main website to buy or show interest in any product or service, and transactions are done using access cards such as Debit cards, Credit cards, and Paypal among others.
When consumers’ friend on social media share or recommends services or products on their social media, it affects brand attitude and influences their decision-making. Yet, advertising on social media, which is provided by commercial sources affects both consumer brand attitudes and purchasing intention (Yang, 2012). That information, helps marketers plan their marketing strategies. Many marketers use social media for marketing campaigns. It is an easy way to communicate with consumers; also it is inexpensive to advertise their brands or services via social media. Social media is not only for advertising, but it can also be a tool for brands or services to connect with their consumers. Another study shows that social media allows consumers and prospective consumers to communicate directly with a brand representative. Since most consumers are using social media as a tool to search and purchase items, brands or services use this advantage to advertise their products.
Today in Nigeria, there are lots of e-shops and social media platforms that promote products and services, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. It is against this backdrop that the research investigates the attitude of students toward social media as an advertising platform with a particular focus on Students of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Communication through social media has found an impact on consumers’ decision-making and marketing strategies of companies/brand owners. Consumer socialization theory predicts that communication among consumers affects their cognitive, affective, and behavioral attitudes (Ward, 2014). Also, advertising on social media pages has built new consumer behaviour. Consumers tend to make purchases or conduct business on social media especially as equally offers them an opportunity to read what other consumers are saying about the product before making purchasing decision.
Recommendations by friends or connections on social media also could help consumers in decision-making. Those recommendations could help brand attitudes, purchasing attitudes, and advertising attitudes. The more good responses on the products or services, the more attractive it would be for prospective consumers purchasing decisions. Most of the top brands and services notice it and started to focus on social media marketing.
However, lack of trust, absence of physical interaction, and fear of being scammed have been identified as some of the challenges thwarting the purchase of products or services advertised on social media and online in general across the globe, especially in Africa and Nigeria in particular. The study thus, investigates the attitude of students towards social media as advertising platforms with a particular focus on Students of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The primary objective of this study is to investigate the attitude of students towards social media as advertising platforms while the specific objectives are:
- To examine whether students of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa patronize products and services advertised via social media.
- To determine the attitude of students towards social media as advertising platforms.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to explicate the aforementioned objectives, the listed questions provide answers to the research problem:
- To what extent do students of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa patronize products and services advertised on social media and other online platforms?
- What is the attitude of students towards social media as an advertising platform?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study on the attitude of Nigerian students towards social media advertisement holds several important implications for advertisers, marketers, and researchers. The significance of the study can be summarized as follows:
- Informing Advertising Strategies: Understanding the attitudes of Nigerian students towards social media advertising can help advertisers tailor their strategies to effectively reach this specific target audience. By identifying the challenges and concerns faced by Nigerian students, advertisers can refine their messaging, creative content, and targeting techniques to enhance the relevance and impact of their advertisements.
- Enhancing Advertising Effectiveness: Insights gained from this study can contribute to improving the overall effectiveness of social media advertising campaigns targeting Nigerian students. By addressing the trustworthiness, credibility, and privacy concerns identified, advertisers can foster a positive perception of ads and increase the likelihood of engagement and conversion. This, in turn, can lead to a better return on investment (ROI) for advertisers.
- Building Consumer Trust: By understanding the trust-related issues associated with social media advertising, advertisers can develop transparent and ethical advertising practices. Addressing these concerns can help build trust between advertisers and Nigerian students, fostering long-term relationships and brand loyalty.
- Influencing Policy and Regulation: The findings of this study can provide valuable insights for policymakers and regulatory bodies in Nigeria. Understanding the attitudes of Nigerian students toward social media advertising can inform the development of guidelines and regulations that protect consumers, promote transparency, and ensure responsible advertising practices.
- Academic and Research Contributions: This study adds to the existing body of knowledge on social media advertising, specifically focusing on the attitudes of Nigerian students. The findings can serve as a foundation for further research and academic exploration in the field of advertising, consumer behavior, and digital marketing in Nigeria. Researchers can build upon this study to investigate related topics, such as the effectiveness of specific advertising strategies or the impact of social media influencers on Nigerian students’ purchasing decisions.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research which investigates the attitude of students towards social media advertisement shall be narrowed down to students of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa. The institution is selected because of its proximity to the researcher as it will be difficult if not impossible to study all students across the tertiary institutions in Nigerian due to the time available for this study. Other considerable factors geographical locations, age, sex, and educational background of the respondents will be considered before the administration of the questionnaire.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Attitude: In this study, an attitude refers to feeling, perceptions, and various factors such as students’ individual personalities, experiences, cultural backgrounds, and personal goals towards social media as advertising platforms.
Students: This refers to the students of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, both in ND and HND across all the departments in the institution.