why do people avoid advertising on the internet? - Many Too Many

why do people avoid advertising on the internet? - Many Too Many

why do people avoid advertising on the internet? - Many Too Many


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94 The Joumal of Advertising<br />

expectati<strong>on</strong>s and building trust. For example, we see numerous<br />

banner ads that deliver exaggerated and deceiving messages<br />

(e.g., "You are <strong>the</strong> winner of $1 milli<strong>on</strong>," "Click here for<br />

a free trip to Las Vegas," etc.) aiming to entice <str<strong>on</strong>g>people</str<strong>on</strong>g> to click<br />

<strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> banners, but <strong>the</strong>se deceiving techniques might make<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance worse (i.e., c<strong>on</strong>sumers may form negative attitudes<br />

toward <strong>the</strong> <strong>on</strong>-line brands and may not click any ads <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Internet). Therefore, <strong>on</strong>-line advertisers should <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g> using deceiving<br />

techniques in <strong>the</strong>ir efforts to build c<strong>on</strong>sumer trust toward<br />

<strong>on</strong>-line brands. Ano<strong>the</strong>r way to build and maintain such<br />

trust would be to make some meaningful c<strong>on</strong>necti<strong>on</strong>s between<br />

<strong>on</strong>-line and off-line <str<strong>on</strong>g>do</str<strong>on</strong>g>mains—for example, by presenting images<br />

of off-line/brick and mortar stores, making customer<br />

service teleph<strong>on</strong>e numbers available, presenting o<strong>the</strong>r c<strong>on</strong>sumers'<br />

evaluati<strong>on</strong>s of <strong>the</strong> product/company, and so forth.<br />

A third significant precursor for ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Internet was perceived goal impediment. People <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g> Internet<br />

ads because <strong>the</strong>y perceive that Internet ads impede <strong>the</strong>ir goals.<br />

This result is c<strong>on</strong>sistent with that of previous studies (e.g.,<br />

Speck and Elliott 1997) <strong>on</strong> ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance for traditi<strong>on</strong>al media.<br />

Communicati<strong>on</strong> research <strong>on</strong> traditi<strong>on</strong>al media has established<br />

a valid link between perceived goal impediment and<br />

ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance, and c<strong>on</strong>firmati<strong>on</strong> of this link in <strong>the</strong> interactive<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>text fur<strong>the</strong>r affirms <strong>the</strong> strength of this associati<strong>on</strong>.<br />

This suggests that <strong>on</strong>-line advertisers should attempt<br />

to identify interactive communicati<strong>on</strong> nuisances to reduce<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir interfering effects <strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>sumer goals. The unexpected<br />

appearance of <str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g> messages <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> Internet disrupts<br />

user tasks or goals and causes c<strong>on</strong>sumers to extensively <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

<strong>the</strong> noise. This may be especially true for more intrusive and<br />

unexpected <str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g> formats such as interstitials or popup<br />

ads. To reduce <strong>the</strong> perceived goal impediment, Internet<br />

advertisers might try several tactics. First, Internet advertisers<br />

might utilize less intrusive and unexpected <str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

formats <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> Internet, such as text-links displayed with keyword<br />

search results, sp<strong>on</strong>sorships, opt-in ads, and so forth. Sec<strong>on</strong>d,<br />

delivering highly targeted, customized, and<br />

c<strong>on</strong>text-c<strong>on</strong>gruent <str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g> messages thmugh c<strong>on</strong>sumer profiling<br />

and systematic behavioral tracking may reduce perceived<br />

goal impediment and thus lessen c<strong>on</strong>sumer <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance of ad<br />

messages. In o<strong>the</strong>r words, delivering <strong>the</strong> right message to <strong>the</strong><br />

right <str<strong>on</strong>g>people</str<strong>on</strong>g> at <strong>the</strong> right time' might make c<strong>on</strong>sumers feel less<br />

disrupti<strong>on</strong> because <strong>the</strong> ad messages would be highly c<strong>on</strong>sistent<br />

with <strong>the</strong>ir goals or tasks and might not cause perceived goal<br />

impediment, or may even be of assistance to <strong>the</strong>ir Internet goals.<br />

In terms of explained variance for ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance, <strong>the</strong> three<br />

antecedent c<strong>on</strong>structs explaining Internet ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance (i.e.,<br />

perceived goal impediment, perceived ad clutter, and prior<br />

negative experiences) accounted for 55.8% of <strong>the</strong> variance<br />

explained {R' value) in <strong>the</strong> ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance c<strong>on</strong>struct. This illustrates<br />

that each comp<strong>on</strong>ent c<strong>on</strong>tributes substantially and<br />

uniquely to ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> Internet. Compared with<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance in traditi<strong>on</strong>al media, <strong>the</strong> percentage of<br />

explained variance in <strong>the</strong> present study was significantly higher<br />

than that of previous studies (e.g.. Speck and Elliot 1997):<br />

29.3% for magazine ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance, 26.5% for televisi<strong>on</strong>, 26.4%<br />

for newspapers, and 37.3% for radio. This implies that <strong>the</strong><br />

three antecedent c<strong>on</strong>structs used to explain ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance in<br />

<strong>the</strong> present study are more comprehensive and exhaustive than<br />

those of previous studies, so <strong>the</strong>y more thoroughly account for<br />

<strong>the</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance phenomen<strong>on</strong>. In terms of <strong>the</strong> relative<br />

predictive power of each antecedent variable, <strong>the</strong> present<br />

study reveals that perceived goal impediment is <strong>the</strong> most<br />

important antecedent in <str<strong>on</strong>g>advertising</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> Internet.<br />

This finding is c<strong>on</strong>sistent with <strong>the</strong> a.ssumpti<strong>on</strong> that <strong>the</strong><br />

Internet is a more goal-oriented medium, and thus goal impediment<br />

caused by Internet ads is a significant c<strong>on</strong>cern<br />

am<strong>on</strong>g Internet users.<br />

This study has several noted limitati<strong>on</strong>s. The first set of<br />

c<strong>on</strong>cerns relates to sampling issues. The sample size of 266<br />

was relatively small c<strong>on</strong>sidering <strong>the</strong> nature of <strong>the</strong> study (a<br />

survey of Internet users). In additi<strong>on</strong>, <strong>the</strong> sample was limited<br />

to college students, who may exhibit different ad-<str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance<br />

patterns and reas<strong>on</strong>s than those of o<strong>the</strong>r c<strong>on</strong>sumer segments.<br />

Therefore, it would be valuable to replicate <strong>the</strong> present study<br />

with a larger and more representative sample. Ano<strong>the</strong>r c<strong>on</strong>cern<br />

is that <strong>the</strong> present study employed self-reported measurement<br />

of Internet ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance without any actual<br />

observati<strong>on</strong> of <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance behaviors. Hence, it would be fruitful<br />

to c<strong>on</strong>duct an expieriment that directly measures actual<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance behaviors <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> Internet.<br />

Sec<strong>on</strong>d, although <strong>the</strong> present study provides valuable insights<br />

into ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> Internet, fur<strong>the</strong>r research will<br />

be needed to obtain a deeper understanding of Internet ad<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance. The presence and importance of <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance reas<strong>on</strong>s<br />

may vary with specific user situati<strong>on</strong>s. For example, <str<strong>on</strong>g>people</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

who search for specific informati<strong>on</strong> in a limited amount of<br />

time may have different reas<strong>on</strong>s for <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ing ads <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Internet (e.g., time pressure, irrelevant or n<strong>on</strong>targeted ads,<br />

no cognitive resources to devote to ads, etc.) than those who<br />

use <strong>the</strong> Internet to pass time or for pure entertainment purposes,<br />

and whose possible <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance reas<strong>on</strong>s may include<br />

"Internet ads are not fiin, creative, exciting," and so forth. In<br />

additi<strong>on</strong>, ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance may vary depending <strong>on</strong> different formats<br />

of Internet ads (e.g., pop-up ads, banner ads, superstitials,<br />

text-links, etc.) because different formats may yield different<br />

perceived goal impediment, levels of intrusiveness, and so<br />

forth. Therefore, an area of future research of interest to both<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sumer researchers and Internet advertisers should be a comprehensive<br />

study examining <strong>the</strong> effects of different <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance<br />

reas<strong>on</strong>s, in various user situati<strong>on</strong>s, employing varying formats<br />

of Internet ads. The results of such research would help Internet<br />

advertisers design various interactive tools to reduce c<strong>on</strong>sumer<br />

ad <str<strong>on</strong>g>avoid</str<strong>on</strong>g>ance <strong>on</strong> <strong>the</strong> Internet.

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