Dimitris Drossos, Geroge M. Giaglis, George Lekakos, Flora Kokkinaki, and Maria G. Stavraki
ABSTRACT: Mobile advertising has become one of the most popular applications in mobile commerce, particularly in the form of text advertising through SMS (Short Messaging Service). However, in the study of mobile advertising little is known regarding the effectiveness of SMS advertising and the factors contributing to its success. This research investigates the significance of a number of factors associated with SMS advertising effectiveness through an experimental study. The findings indicate that incentive, interactivity, appeal, product involvement, and attitude toward SMS advertising in general directly influence attitude toward the advertisement, attitude toward the brand, and purchase intention. The results of the study suggest that a stronger focus on these factors is necessary to improve the effectiveness of SMS advertising campaigns.

SMS campaigns are proliferating around the world. In an empirical study of the state of interactive marketing in five large developed markets (United States, Japan, Germany, UK, and France) and two key emerging markets (China and Brazil), Barwise and Farley (2005) found that 19% of the participant firms were already using text messaging either as a direct response or as a "push" channel. Nevertheless, the academic literature is short of empirical studies investigating the importance of the factors that determine SMS advertising effectiveness. In line with efforts to identify determinants of successful advertising campaigns in other media (e.g., Baltas 2003; Chittenden and Rettie 2003; Korgaonkar, Moschis, and Bellenger 1984; Stewart and Koslow 1989), this paper attempts to conceptualize and test factors that influence the effects of a mobile advertising campaign, with particular emphasis on push advertising via Short Messaging Service (SMS) text. In the next section, we identify the factors that may influence the effectiveness of SMS advertising and then develop a number of hypotheses that are tested experimentally in the remainder of the paper. Prior Research on Mobile Advertising Before we developed our hypotheses, we identified the factors that had the potential to influence mobile advertising effects. To this end, we carefully reviewed the relevant mobile advertising and marketing literature. Initially, we retrieved 36 papers by querying the electronic text databases Business Source Premier, Elsevier's ScienceDirect, Emerald (MCB), Kluwer, Wiley InterScience, and ACM (the Appendix provides the respective references). The keywords used were "mobile advertising," "mobile marketing," "wireless advertising," and

"wireless marketing." The search was limited to scholarly journals, conference proceedings, and papers with full text access. Additional research, according to the same search criteria, yielded four additional papers, which were not accessible through the above databases. The Appendix includes the references to these papers as well. Figure 1 presents the variables that were cited the most frequently with regard to SMS recipients' cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses. In much of the research, the focus was mainly on message and medium factors that could be experimentally manipulated. Consumer-related factors (e.g., attitude toward SMS advertising in general) were also used in our study due to empirical evidence suggesting that consumers have generally negative attitudes toward mobile advertising (Tsang, Ho, and Liang 2004). Figure 1. Percentages of Factors Represented in Mobile Literature Research

Journal of Interactive Advertising, Vol 7 No 2 (Spring 2007), pp. 16‐27.  © 2010 American Academy of Advertising, All rights reserved  ISSN 1525‐2019 

Targeting prospects at the right time and place actually implies minimum perceived effort for the prospect in buying the advertised product. 2 km from point of sale) seems inadequate to fully capture the notion of "right time and place. Brady. Furthermore. It is therefore expected that: H1: SMS advertisements lead to more positive attitudes toward the advertisement (Aad) and the brand (Ab) and to more positive purchase intentions (PI) when the perceived effort to buy the advertised product is low. Ad Source (Credibility) The term "ad source" is used to refer to traits of the communicator (whether an individual or a company). Gopal and Tripathi 2006). Rational appeals are . Incentive Individuals are interested in deriving some monetary benefit from direct marketing programs (Milne and Gordon 1993). we hypothesize that: H2: SMS advertisements that have an element of interactivity lead to more positive Aad and Ab and to more positive PI than SMS advertisements that have no interactive elements. Monroe. the advertiser attempts to increase viewer involvement by creating a two-way communication in real time. consumer behavior theory points to the interdependence of time and location (Kang. meaning that if a mobile ad allows for a reciprocal communication. ‘ad localization' is considered as sending information to consumers based on their location. and Prendergast 2005). and showed that SMS campaigns were effective and did have a positive impact especially on brand awareness and purchase intention. evaluated location-sensitive SMS campaign effectiveness based on traditional communication effect measures. This study regards interactivity as an objective medium characteristic and adopts the "communicator's perspective" of interactivity. conducted by HPI Research Group. instead of the usual one-way connection in media advertising (Lohtia. and Page 2003). the brand. Interactivity Interactive elements of a mobile ad attempt to elicit cognitive responses by allowing the viewer to search for more information through the mobile device.17  Journal of Interactive Advertising  Spring 2007   INDEPENDENT VARIABLES Location and Time Location-based advertising is regarded as one of the most interesting opportunities mobile commerce has to offer because of its impact on the perceived informational utility of the location-aware advertisement. and power. Donthu. and Hershberger 2003). Andersson and Nilsson (2000). and Lou 1998). We focus on source expertise and trustworthiness and expect that: H4: SMS advertisements from expert and trustworthy sources lead to more positive Aad and Ab and to more positive PI than SMS advertisements from less expert and trustworthy sources. Mackenzie and Lutz (1989) found that credibility strongly influences attitude toward the advertiser.m. and purchase intent (Choi and Rifon 2002). Measuring actual time (for example.) and location by distance (for example. Previous studies have shown that retail price promotions change consumers' purchase decisions and that retailers use price promotions more frequently to boost store sales (Chen. Wu 2006). Thus. time and location have been examined under the umbrella of the perceived effort to buy the advertised product (Cronin. and Hult 2000). Various studies have empirically verified an increase in advertisement effectiveness through spatial advertising (Andersson and Nilsson 2000. which in turn is an important predictor of attitude toward the ad. Cheung. Herr. for example. and includes expertise. We therefore hypothesize that: H3: SMS advertisements that offer incentives lead to more positive Aad and Ab and to more positive PI than advertisements without incentives. such as purchase acceleration and product trial (Shi." Therefore. then it is considered as more interactive than a comparable ad with no such feature (Hoffman and Novak 1996. trustworthiness. Sundar and Kim (2005) show that the level of interactivity is positively associated with ad and product attitudes. almost nine out of ten participants (86%) agreed that there should be a trade-off for accepting advertisements on their mobile devices (Pastore 2002). Prior research proposes that price discounts are particularly effective in inducing effects. Corporate credibility is defined as "the extent to which consumers believe that a firm can design and deliver products and services that satisfy customer needs and wants" and has been found to have direct positive effects on attitude toward the ad. 11:00 p. Appeal Message appeals are usually divided into rational and emotional ones (Johar and Sirgy 1991). attractiveness. in order to convince them to visit a local store. In the current research. By providing interactivity. In a Nokia-sponsored survey.

Johar and Sirgy (1991) have proposed that value-expressive advertising appeals are persuasive when the product is value-expressive. In this research. We believe that consumer attitudes (Aad and Ab) and purchase intention (PI) are affected by each of the aforementioned ad characteristics (location and time. . Ab and PI will be less favorable when an SMS advertisement concerns a high-involvement product. across objects (e. an important antecedent of brand attitudes (e.. mutual funds)" (p. perfumes vs. typically intend to create positive emotions and develop a brand personality. Thus. As Laurent and Kapferer (1985) argue. People with high product involvement may be more likely to explore more product-specific information. incentive. whereas rational appeals are found to be relatively more effective when customers are highly involved with the brand and the advertisement (Baker and Lutz 2000).g. According to the FCB Grid (Ratchford 1987. and purchase intention. it is possible that attitudes toward specific mobile advertisements are influenced by attitudes toward advertising via cellular phones in general. it should be noted that ad relevance was not manipulated in our experiment but was controlled through pre-testing to choose products of moderate relevance to test hypotheses H1-H7. When individuals base their purchase decision mainly on how they feel about the product. Vaughn 1986). ad source. and showed that attitudes toward products that serve different functions respond to different types of advertising appeals. Emotional appeals. Homer 1990) and studies have shown a strong positive relationship between the ad and brand attitude. on the other hand.. than when a consumer has a generally positive attitude toward mobile advertising. appeal. whereas utilitarian appeals are persuasive when the product is utilitarian. Tsang. Figure 2 summarizes our conceptual model. We therefore expect that: H7: Aad. products differ in their "feel or think" nature. and product involvement).g. brand. This was intentionally selected in order to avoid possible confounding problems via the selection of products that were of either low or high interest to the consumer. As Malhotra (2005) argues. Attitude toward Mobile Advertising in General The study of attitude toward advertising in general may be especially significant because it influences attitudes toward a specific ad. then the product is characterized as "feel". then the product is characterized as "think" (Ratchford 1987).. compared to an advertisement for a low-involvement product taking into consideration both think and feel dimensions. there is a need for comparative research that explores whether mobile phone users react differently to diverse types of products. the degree to which consumers process advertising communications and react to the message in an active or passive way depends on their involvement with the product. A series of studies by Shavitt (1990) yielded evidence about the attitude functions associated with different products. and Liang (2004) also found that consumers have generally negative attitudes toward mobile advertising unless they have specifically consented to receive the advertising messages.18  Journal of Interactive Advertising  Spring 2007   typically based on factual information and focus on product attributes. Prior to the next section. 480). "it is likely that the relative effect of cognition versus affect varies. Due to the limited information quality that SMS advertisements can convey to consumers we expect that: H6: Aad. which in turn is positively related to purchase intention. Product Involvement In light of our initial review of prior research on mobile advertising. when the purchase decision is based mainly on thoughts. appeal.. Mackenzie and Lutz 1989). DEPENDENT VARIABLES The measures of effectiveness used in our study were attitude toward advertisement. Alwitt and Prabhaker 1992. Attitude toward the ad is a strong mediator of advertising effectiveness (Batra and Ray 1986. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty and Cacioppo 1986) suggests that involvement affects motivation to process information. If advertisement arguments are strong. involved consumers may be more likely to form a positive attitude toward the advertised products. Emotional appeals have been found to be most effective when brand response involvement and advertising message involvement are low. Ab and PI for the advertised product will be less favorable when a consumer has a generally negative attitude toward mobile advertising. we assess SMS advertisements' use of emotional appeals for a "feel" product of moderate involvement and we hypothesize that: H5: SMS advertisements for a "feel" product that use emotional appeals lead to more positive Aad and Ab and to more positive PI than SMS advertisements that use rational appeals. interactivity. Ho.

while the remaining 7. Twenty-two of the participants stated that they had never received an SMS advertisement. comprehensibility. where different tested for persuasiveness. All participants were asked to state their attitude toward mobile advertising in general prior to the evaluation of the SMS In order to control other possible confounding effects.19  Journal of Interactive Advertising  Spring 2007   Figure 2. and. Conceptual Model: Factors Affecting Consumer Attitudes and Purchase Intention advertisements. and contained in the advertisements were also on a preliminary study. Conversely. while the third ad informed the participant about the price of Goldy but used no price-off incentive. laptop (high think/high involvement). Among the 97 participants. twentyseven product categories were pre-tested for the "feel/think" nature of the product (following Ratchford 1987) and involvement. emotional versus rational appeal (following . Each advertisement was described as permission-based and was shown via a mobile phone screen to increase external validity (Figure 3).1% of the participants using SMS one or more times per day. Mobile phone ownership reached 100%. To be more illustrative. Each participant belonged either in group 1 (N=50) or group 2 (N=47). Greece. Fifty students formed group 1. Procedure The participants read instructions indicating that they were to evaluate SMS advertisements for six fictitious products since prior familiarity with the advertised brands could potentially confound our results (Dahlen 2001). A student sample may be better than a sample taken from the general population in terms of predictive validity (Danaher and Mullarkey 2003). Each group saw seven different SMS advertisements corresponding to the aforementioned manipulated variables. Ninety-seven students were randomly assigned to two groups of approximately equal size. Figure 3. in the third ad. CD-Recordable (moderate think/moderate involvement). The arguments selected based arguments were familiarity. and potato chips (moderate feel/moderate involvement) were selected to examine the possible effects of product involvement. The fictitious product Delight instant coffee was employed to test ad source credibility. while 39 were male. could learn more about the new brand through an SMS reply (advertisement 2). could buy the chocolate bar with a price-off discount. Illustration of an SMS Advertisement METHOD Sample Management Science students from a large university located in Athens. participated in the experiment. following the manipulation procedure of Goldberg and Hartwick (1990). The categories of chocolate bar (moderate feel/moderate involvement) and instant coffee (moderate feel/moderate involvement) were selected to examine the effects of the independent variables. Group 1 participants saw seven SMS advertisements.3%). with 69. The majority of the participants were 19-23 years old (92.2% were 24-28 years old. participants in group 2 could buy Goldy from a shop which was located just a few meters away (advertisement 1). The product categories of sun glasses (high feel/high involvement). the first SMS message advertised the fictitious Goldy chocolate bar that could be bought in a store approximately five kilometers away from the experimental location. while the remaining forty-seven students formed group 2. 58 were female. The experimental conditions are illustrated in Table 1. except for the product involvement conditions. The second ad had no interactivity element. We also took into account previous experience with SMS advertising.

Participants could choose to read the advertisement or not. Experimental Conditions data collection instrument as short as possible. the participants perceived the potato chips and the CD-R as products of lower involvement (Mpotato chips = 3.4) than the sun glasses and the laptop (Msun glasses = 5.08. Arguments of equal persuasiveness.5. Hypotheses were tested at the 5% significance level. The participants in group 2 perceived the advertiser as more credible (M = 4. the group 1 participants' mean was 3. p < 0.96. Finally. SD = 1. and familiarity were selected to avoid confounding effects. Thus.7. Importantly. Operationalization of the Employed Constructs Since this study attempted to shed light on the effects of a great number of factors.7. In terms of product importance.15). or to more positive PI when received closer to the selling point. SD = 1.40 (SD = 1.05).39. df = 96. the manipulation of credibility was also successful. SD = 1. p < 0. Five out of the seven independent variables were found to have significant effects on the dependent variables. df = 96. Interactivity. the authors intentionally selected reliable scales that incorporated few items in order to keep the . df = 95.13) perceived buying the chocolate bar as more effortful (t = 6. according to their motivation. When the participants were asked to state if the offer provided any cost savings. This specific interactive feature led to more negative attitudes toward the advertisement and the brand.001). p < 0. df = 95. As such.001).03. p < 0.001) than the participants in group 2 (M = 2. SD = 0. SD = 1.08. group 1 respondents (M = 3. Table 2.9) (t = -4. H1 was not supported (p > 0.07) (t = -3. comprehensibility. Table 2 provides the studies for the operationalization of the employed constructs. RESULTS Manipulation Checks As anticipated. these are likely to be the conditions under which many recipients will receive advertisements in real life conditions. SMS advertisements did not lead to more positive Aad and Ab.03. and to more negative purchase intentions than SMS advertisements that did not Finally.63. the participants in group 1 (M = 4. p < 0. The direct effects of interactivity features were tested for a moderate feel product with modest persuasive arguments. six constructs were measured with a single-item.001).28 and Mlaptop = 6.9.77. The SMS ad prompted the consumer to send an SMS to learn more about the advertised chocolate. p < 0. df = 95.26. the likelihood that participants would go through the information in the advertisements was not constrained to be either very high or low.35.30 (SD = 1. SD = 1. SD = 2.92) than the participants in group 1 (M = 3.2) (tthink = -6. these experiments were conducted under moderate elaboration conditions.57). df = 95. The respondents in group 1 reported that the SMS advertisement's appeal was indeed emotional (M = 3. SD = 1.001 and tfeel = 16.95. Impact of Manipulated Variables on Advertising Effects Table 3 denotes the t-values for the experimental conditions. SD = 1.2) while the respondents in group 2 reported a rational appeal (M = 4.04. In the presence of products of moderate involvement and arguments of moderate persuasiveness. df = 95.20  Journal of Interactive Advertising  Spring 2007   Petty and Cacioppo 1986).41) found the second SMS ad less interactive (t = -2. SD = 1.05) than group 2 respondents (M = 3.38. SD = 1.6 and MCD-R = 5. SD = 0. p < 0. Moreover.36. MEASURES Most of the constructs employed in this study were adapted from prior research.35) and group 2 participants' mean was 5.33) (t = -7.24. Table 1. Location and Time.001).

although the use of incentives for the specific product type did not positively influence attitude toward the brand. Permission-based marketing. Thus. Table 4. To support the hypothesis that general SMS advertising attitudes moderate these relationships. our research did not reveal any main direct effects. although intense systematic (central) information processing for low versus high "think" products concluded in partial support of the sixth hypothesis. In accordance with the specific experimental settings under which our research took place. Even though the product employed in the advertisements was aimed at satisfying a sensory need. and attitude toward mobile advertising in general. Main Effects of General Attitude toward Mobile Advertising on Attitudes and Purchase Intentions Incentive. the moderator effects were not significant at p < 0. H3 was partially supported. the following paragraphs summarize and reflect on our findings for each of the seven factors tested. Ad Source. Differences in Attitudes and Purchase Considerations between Experimental Conditions DISCUSSION The results from our experiment offer insight into the effects of location and time. respondents preferred the factual appeal.21  Journal of Interactive Advertising  Spring 2007   have any interactive element. H7 was partially supported. Although it is contradictory to the existing mobile advertising literature. Appeal. H3 stated that SMS advertisements that offered incentives would lead to more positive attitudes toward the advertisement and the brand. Location and Time The location of the SMS advertisement recipient did not affect the dependent variables significantly. However. This issue calls for further research. it should be taken into account that all SMS advertisements manipulated in the experiment were perceived as permission-based. and in fact. we tested whether general . While examining the "think and feel" product dimensions related to the dependent variables. Ho. Responses of general attitude toward SMS advertising were divided into two groups based on a median split. Thus. General Attitude toward SMS advertising. supported. we needed to see significant changes in attitudes and purchase intentions among the interaction term measures. product involvement. interactivity. However. Product Involvement. H2 was not attitude toward SMS advertising interacted with any of the above variables manipulated in this experiment. interdependence may still exist between location and the remaining manipulated variables. H5 was not supported. the results were significant in the opposite direction. seems to have a moderating effect on source credibility (Tsang. The "feel" importance dimension did not result in any significant relationship. Table 3. The results revealed significant direct effects of general attitudes toward SMS advertising on the dependent variables (Table 4). Changes in the relationships between the independent and dependent variables in the presence of general attitude toward SMS advertising were examined using ANOVA. and Liang 2004). H6 was partially supported. ad source credibility. In addition.05. as studied in the mobile advertising context. and to more positive purchase intentions than advertisements without any incentives. advertiser credibility did not seem to influence the dependent variables as predicted by H4. on the effectiveness of mobile text advertisements. appeal. incentives. Although location-based advertising has been heralded as one of the most promising opportunities in mobile commerce because of its impact on perceived informational utility. Unexpectedly. Therefore.

Our experimental conditions showed a negative influence of interactivity. the presence of promotional information. Barwise and Strong 2002). text advertisements may be ineffective in producing an influential emotional appeal. and this could have negatively affected the dependent variables. compared to an advertisement for a low-involvement product. Additionally. Incentive As expected. and Liang (2004) provides further support for our research. we confirmed that the use of incentives in SMS advertisements led to more positive attitudes and purchase intentions. and motion that could effectively convey and demonstrate the product's ability to satisfy a sensory need. Brashear. Calder. In contrast to the web. and Hershberger 2003). The work of Tsang. Product Involvement Attitudes and buying intentions were less favorable when the SMS advertisement concerned a high-involvement product. our research supports that users expect a reward for receiving SMS advertisements. Ho. Sending an SMS implies some additional monetary cost for a low-cost product. such as price reductions or discounts in banner advertisements. the use of interactive messages led to negative attitudes and purchase intentions for the particular product category studied. Research on interactivity has been rather inconclusive (Liu and Shrum 2002).g. Instead. Permission-based marketing may alleviate the negative effects of a non-reputable advertiser. while others have concluded that interactivity has a negative effect on advertising effectiveness (Bezjian-Avery. A possible rationale is that the perceived uncertainty and privacy cost effects on mobile advertising communications may occur when providing personal data to opt-in databases and not during a permissionbased SMS communication. the participants of the second group in our experiment had to send an SMS to find out more information about the advertised product. While mobile devices are perceived as ideal for convenient anytime shopping. the quality of information may play a more crucial role. In most cases. This is in line with similar research in Internet advertising. Donthu. Thus. A chocolate bar belongs to the self-satisfaction FCB quadrant (LepkowskaWhite. One explanation for this could be the use of the chocolate bar in tests of the interactivity variable. image. low involvement product categories (Kannan. Although several studies on online environments have demonstrated that the use of emotional appeals in different product categories exhibit higher effects (e. . is associated with higher click-through-rates (Hupfer and Grey 2005). In the absence of sound.22  Journal of Interactive Advertising  Spring 2007   Interactivity Contrary to our expectations. Appeal The use of rational appeals led to more positive attitudes and purchase intentions than emotional appeals. Drossos.3% of the respondents had received few. despite the fact that testing was performed on a "feel" product. the mobile environment is likely to affect attitudes and purchase intentions for high involvement "think" products negatively because of its inherent limitation in enabling information search. and Iacobucci 1998). in the mobile context participants responded more favorably to the informative content strategy. there could be a significant increase in the frequency of impulse purchases. as was the case of our test.. In the absence of a unique selling proposition (USP). it is essential to explore the nature of mobile interactivity and determine the conditions in which interactivity may be useful in an advertising context. in accordance with the mobile literature (e. Moreover. and Whinston 2001).. especially in low value. the interactivity feature showed negative direct effects. Additionally. since the experimental conditions employed arguments of moderate persuasiveness to avoid confounding effects. where most web surfers look for incentives to read an advertisement before they click on it (Lohtia. and Ferles 2006). if any. at least within the context of an uncluttered advertising medium as in our case (where nearly 76. the use of incentives alleviates the effects of negative attitudes toward SMS advertising on the dependent variables. Vrehopoulos. their small screens and low-resolution displays render the development of graphic applications a challenge. Chang.g. Research in this area is at an embryonic stage and calls for further research to determine the effects of source credibility as mobile advertising clutter grows. SMS advertisements before). the source of the advertisement did affect the dependent variables significantly. Some studies on online web advertisements found interactivity as a strong cue aiding the persuasive function of the online ads (Sundar and Kim 2005). Ad Source (Credibility) Surprisingly. and Weinberger 2003) and the pre-test results showed a moderate purchase importance. However.

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he has been the Director of the ISTLab Wireless Research Center (http://www. human-computer interaction. and machine learning. and he is the co-editor of books and conference proceedings. Stavraki is a Ph. She has published in the British Journal of Psychology. George Lekakos is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Department of Management Science and Technology. and information systems evaluation. Department of Computer Science. and the Journal of Economic Psychology. Lekakos' research interests are in the area of personalized and adaptive systems. Giaglis is an Associate Professor of eBusiness at the Athens University of Economics and Business. His main research interests lie in the areas of mobile and wireless applications and services. George M. Dr. He is currently doing research on mobile advertising. and wearable information systems. ubiquitous. as well as m-commerce technologies and services. Dr. He has published more than 100 articles in leading journals and international conferences. Candidate in the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business and currently teaches emarketing at the Technological Educational Institute of Patras.D. Flora Kokkinaki is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marketing and Communication at the Athens University of Economics and Business. Dr. Her research interests include consumer behavior and affective processes in attitude change. Maria G.D.27  Journal of Interactive Advertising  Spring 2007   ABOUT THE AUTHORS Dimitris Drossos is a Ph.mobiforum. business process modeling and simulation. pervasive. Candidate in the Department of Marketing and Communication at the Athens University of Economics and Business. . He has published more than 30 papers in international journals and conferences. Dr. Her research interests include attitude theory and consumer decision-making. University of Cyprus. the British Journal of Social Since 2001.

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