ABSTRACT: The research examined audience believability of social media advertisements with a focus on Facebook adverts among university of Lagos Students. The rationale for carrying out this study is on the observation that lots of companies and individuals are now promoting their brand online particularly through social media. The study is anchored on Technological Determinism Theory. Survey research method was used and questionnaire was also adopted to gather data from over 200 respondents that were drawn among UNILAG students using non-probability sampling method. Also, the data collected were analysed in frequency and percentage tables. Findings show that many of the respondents trust and patronise products and services shared on Facebook. They also admitted that they clicked on like, share, comment and view advert on social media very often. The challenges facing social media users in patronizing goods and services online were attributed to fear of been duped, poor browsing data and service to stay long on a social media and blogs. It was recommended that companies and individuals should watch over some sites that may be using their name or related to dupe people online. All effort should be developed to ensure that fraud is minimized to the barest minimum, so that people especially, the internet users can have a rest of mind to shop online and receive their products and services.
social media advertisement
1.1 Background to the Study
Almost all human activities on earth have been revolutionalised and witnessed tremendous change from its conventional process due to advancement in technology in this twenty first century. One of the human activities greatly influenced in this era are mode of shopping, marketing, advertising and communication.
Electronic marketing is sometimes used interchangeably with woo-commerce, e-commerce, online marketing, online shopping, e-shopping, 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 decision, and then implement the purchase action (Mengli and Rui, n.d).
Nowadays social media becomes part of a person’s life. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkIn and many more have millions of users and keeps growing every day. It is estimated that over 500 million people are interacting with social media (Ostrow, 2010). The number of social media users growing have attracted marketers. Marketers have recognized that social media marketing as an important part of their marketing communication strategies.
Also, social media helps organizations to communicate with their customers in bi-directional or interactive in nature. These interactions help marketers determine customers need and understand what their market might look like. Key business factors of social media allow consumers to estimate products, make recommendations to contacts or friends, and share any of the purchases through their social media.
The influence of social media on buying behaviour can be in any services or products. Quality, brand, advertising or price could effects consumer decision-making. The relationship between social media and consumer decision-making present that social media affects advertising attitudes, brand attitudes, and purchasing intentions of consumer.
It will not necessarily affect consumer’s decision-making, but might possess a mediating effect (Taining, 2012). In social media advert, either a website link is share 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 card, Credit Card, Paypal among others.
Social media builds brand attitudes that affect buying behaviour. The good image of brand or product can lead the consumer to make decision on their purchases. When consumer’s friend on social media shares 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 affect both consumer brand attitudes and purchasing intention (Yang, 2012). From that information, it helps marketers plan their marketing strategies. Many marketers use social media for marketing campaigns. It is the easy way to communicate with consumers; also it is inexpensive to advertise their brands or services.
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 to a brand representative. Since most consumers are using the social media as tool to search and purchase items, brands or services use this advantage to advertise their products.
However, consumer motives for engaging in social media provide insights into consumers’ activities. Consumers have three main gratifications or motives for using the Internet as a medium, namely, information, entertainment, and social aspects (Heinonen, 2011). The motivation is in two main groups: rational motives, such as knowledge-sharing and advocacy, and emotional motives, such as social connection and self-expression (Krishnamurthy & Dou, 2008).
Consumers’ activities in social media have been found based on consumers’ conduct online. Nowadays consumers are using Internet as their tools to achieve their motivations. Their motivation could be connected to their old friends, business, or reviews to support their decision-making. Reviews on social media become second-hand resources to support consumer’s decision-making because they want they want value from their dollar.
In the meantime, online shopping and marketing is considered to be risky because of the risk associated with it. Generally speaking internet users avert online patronage because of credit-card fraud, lack of privacy, non-delivery risk, lack of guarantee of quality of goods and services.
Today in Nigeria, there are lots of e-shops who share sponsored advert messages on social media particularly Facebook for serving millions of Nigerians online users who can trust online platform as another alternative means of buying and selling particularly among students of tertiary institutions who are verse in the operation of computer, Smartphone and knowledge of internet. Among the popular online-store that promote their products online are Jumia, Konga, Olx, Jiji, Alibaba, Kaymu Etc. It is against this backdrop that the research examines perception of students on the believability of social media advertisements.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Communication through social media has found impact on consumer decision-making and marketing strategies. Consumer socialization theory predicts that communication among consumers affects their cognitive, affective, and behavioral attitudes (Ward, 1974). Also, the advertising on social media page has built new consumer’s behaviour. Consumers tend to make purchases or conduct business on social media.
Recommendations by friends or connections on social media also could help consumers on 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 for consumers purchasing. Most of top brands and services notice it and started to focus on social media marketing.
However, lack of trust, absent of physical interaction and fair of being deceived and duped have been attributed to some of the challenges facing advertising and marketing on the social media and internet in general across the globe especially in Africa and Nigeria in particular because it is relatively a new medium of communication.
The study thus, examines audience perception and believability of social media advertisement with a focus on Facebook.com in order to find out the level of exposure of perception of students on the believability of social media advertisements.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine whether UNILAG students patronize products and services advertise via social media especially Facebook
- To examine the challenges thwarting UNILAG students in patronizing goods and services Facebook and other online platform.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent do UNILAG students patronize products and services advertised on Facebook and other online platform?
- What are the challenges thwarting UNILAG students in patronizing goods and services on social media?
1.5 Significant of the Study
The research is significant because is beneficial to business firm, school, government, individuals and researchers.
Company: Difference companies will find this research very interesting as it will keep them aware on the benefit of using social media when it comes into making products and services known to the world and how cheap it always be to use social media.
Researchers: People that will be carrying out research in relation to this will find the materials useful as it will provide them a clue to their own research.
Academic: It forms part of academic materials that students, lecturers, researchers, company can turn to when looking for solution to advertising on ICT, social media, GSM and other related aspect.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study which examines the perception of students on the believability of social media advertisements shall be narrowed in scope to students of University of Lagos. Therefore, the geographical scope of this study shall be within Lagos state.
The institution is selected because of its proximity to the researcher as it will be difficult if not impossible to study all social media users across the tertiary institutions in Nigerian due to time available for this study, other considerable factors are geographical locations, age, sex and educational background of the respondents will be considered before administration of questionnaire
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Audience Perception: This implies the view, choice and opinion towards products and services advertise on Facebook and other online platforms
Believability: this means the extent which students of UNILAG trust and use products and services on social media particularly those on Facebook.
Social Media Advertisement: These are various products, brand and services that are promoted on social media particularly on Facebook.