Evaluation of the Cognitive Effectiveness on Social Media Advertising Formats
Social networking sites (SNS) are used to promote brands, products or services through targeted marketing campaigns, but the precise effectiveness of these campaigns has yet to be established (Van Noort et al. 2012). The research question we address in this study is whether commercial communication via SNS is cognitively effective. A review of the literature clearly shows that if a commercial message receives no prior attention, the likelihood that it will be processed by and influence the consumer is negligible (Chan et al. 2004).
For the purposes of this study we consider that an individual has given attention to a message when the advertising information transmitted has an impact on his or her memory, in the form of brand recall and recognition. A classical post-test survey design was used to examine the responses of a panel of Facebook users to advertising formats displayed within the site. The type of advertising format was used as a control factor to determine the impact on the cognitive effectiveness of the message transmitted. The study has a twofold objective: (1) to examine which of the formats most commonly used in social media advertising condition attention types; and (2) to analyse the effect of advertising pressure on consumer attention and brand recall.
Social media advertising is an effective communication tool for attracting user attention, leading to higher attention levels than those recorded for advertising in other online contexts. Differences are observed in user attention to distinct advertising stimuli, with video found to be the most effective format for attracting user attention in SNS. However, higher advertising pressure leads to lower attention levels and poorer recall rates. Active exposure to social media advertising leads to higher recall rates of the messages transmitted. The constraints of this study include the use of single product/brand, and the experimental conditions of the data collection stage. Among our future areas of research we propose to evaluate attention in behavioural terms, using a range of tools including eye-tracking to provide empirical evidence of attention rates for social media advertising.