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Social Media Gratification and Attitude toward Social Media Marketing Messages: A Study of the Effect of Social Media Marketing Messages on Online Shopping Value
Christina Chung Ramapo College of New Jersey email@example.com ABSTRACT Social media provide marketers interactive communication environments with opportunities to enhance existing relationships with consumers. Even though social media has been recognized as the most potentially powerful medium in business practice, there is lack of understanding in terms of why people use social media and how they perceive social media marketing messages. This study investigates (1) gratifications underlying social media usage, (2) attitudes toward social media marketing messages, and (3) the effectiveness of the messages concerning online shopping value. A research model was created based on the Uses and Gratifications theory. Social media gratifications, including entertainment, information and interaction, were examined as exogenous variables. Attitudes toward social media marketing messages and online shopping values were examined as endogenous variables. The results explain that attitudes toward social media marketing messages are strongly related to social media interaction and information gratifications, but are not related to entertainment gratification. Also, positive social media marketing messages increase online shoppers’ hedonic values. As a managerial implication, marketers should provide useful information and an active interaction virtual arena using social media in order to create positive consumer marketing messages and increase online shopping value. Keywords Social media gratifications, social messages, online shopping value 1 INTRODUCTION media marketing Kristine Austria Ramapo College of New Jersey firstname.lastname@example.org Consumers’ comments about a product on social media produce a negative or positive brand buzz and the virtual messages affect consumer purchasing decisions. How seriously should marketers think about social media effects in marketing practices? “Social media is no longer a trend for marketers: It is a reality” (Williamson, 2010). Social media is an inevitable channel for customer support (Jacobs, 2009). Even though social media has been recognized as the most potentially powerful medium, there is lack of understanding in terms of why people use social media and how they perceive marketing messages on social media. This study investigates (1) gratifications underlying social media usage, (2) attitudes toward social media marketing messages, and (3) the effectiveness of the messages concerning online shopping value. Uses and Gratifications theory is utilized as the theoretical basis to investigate consumer gratification in the use of social media. Also, online shopping value is examined in the relationship with social media marketing messages. 2 SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOCIAL NETWORKING
Social media includes various methods such as social networking, user-sponsored blogs, multimedia sites, company-sponsored websites, collaborative websites, podcasts, etc. Social media is “the media that is published, created and shared by individuals on the internet, such as blogs, images, video and more” (Strokes, p. 350), as well as online tools and platforms that allow internet users to collaborate on content, share insights and experiences, and connect for business or pleasure (Strauss & Frost, p. 326). Social network is “a type of web site model where individual members become part of a broader virtual community” (Strokes, p. 125) and/or “the practice of expanding the number of one’s business and social connects by making connections through individuals online” (Strauss & Frost, p.183). Thus, “Social media can be called a strategy and an outlet for broadcasting, while social networking is a tool and a utility for connecting with others” (Cohen, 2010). 3 THEORETICAL BACKGROUND Page 581
Social media provide a virtual network place where people can enjoy expressing their opinions, exchange opinions, disseminate and control messages anywhere anytime. Marketers are now able to reach consumers and interact with them using social media. Previous studies have found that consumers tend to trust more user-generated messages, such as peer recommendations or consumer reviews, on social media than messages from traditional mass media. Marketing
Therefore. The theory explains that people have differential patterns of media exposure resulting in need gratifications (Katz. For example. Social Media Information Gratification (SMIFG) Information on the web refers to the extent to which the Web provides users with resourceful and helpful information (Ducoffe 1996). Without time and space barriers in the virtual world. Thus. 1974). 1996). Ducoffe (1996) argues that entertainment is positively related to attitude toward advertising. electronic bulletin boards. the following hypothesis is developed: H1: Social media entertainment gratification has a positive relationship to attitude towards social media marketing messages. and information gratification. and social interactions (Sangwan. people are active in their use of media to satisfy their needs. audience choices concerning new media are well explained using U&G (Ruggiero. blogs 2008). MacKenzie. such as product or store information (Stafford & Stafford. Specific Internet sites might be motivated by the desire for specific site-related Page 582 . Lutz. The U&G theory has been applied to traditional media and the evidence was limited in supporting the theory because of a lack of original conceptualization coherence. 1998). & Belch (1986) found that the attitude toward the ad influences brand attitudes and purchase intentions. Maddox (1998) reports that the most important reason people use a website is to gather various kinds of information. Social Media Interaction Gratification (SMITG) Sociability is a tendency to affiliate with others and to prefer being with others to remaining alone (Buss & Cheek. E-learning and personalized content. 1981). Fifty-six percent of shoppers indicate that they visit e-retail websites on a social networking site and that website visiting affects consumer purchase intention. in a new technology environment. In addition. In this study. the following hypothesis is developed: H2: Social media interaction gratification has a positive relationship to attitudes towards social media marketing messages. virtual community. Marketing 1998). A 2009 annual survey from Alterian reported consumers’ demand for engagement and consumercentric social interaction is critical for marketing success. Similarly. 2005). Internet users may be motivated by enjoyment of the usage processes of random browsing and site navigation (Hoffman & Novak. Bluner & Gurevitch. Researchers found that people use internet-based communication for various gratifications such as entertainment. Ducoffe (1996) explains that there is a positive correlation between information and advertising value. Online Shopping Value According to the “2010 Social Media Report” from ForeSee results. Conceptual Definition and Research Hypotheses U&G assumes that people are goal-directed in their underlying motivations.Northeast Business & Economics Association – Established in 1973 Uses and Gratifications (U&G) Uses and Gratifications (U&G) research was developed based on social and psychological origins of needs which generate expectations of the media. Previous advertising research has shown that the attitude toward advertising is the most noteworthy indicator of advertising effectiveness and outcomes (Aaker & Stayman 1990). personal home pages. Thus. social media can offer consumers instant and insightful content. social interaction. Researchers have examined U&G using new media such as the Internet. the relationship between perceived online shopping value and social media marketing messages is examined. Chen and Wells (1999) found that entertainment is positively associated with the attitude toward the site. social networking. information. U&G suggests that people’s underlying needs drive media choice. For example. 169) in terms of social interaction needs. These studies found that U&G offers a convincing theoretical explanation for the use of media behavior. Social Media Entertainment Gratification (SMEG) Entertainment refers to the extent to which the web media is fun and entertaining to media users (Eighmey & McCord. Raacke & Bonds-Raccke (2008) found college students use MySpace and Facebook for “friend-networking” (p. Kuehn (1994) emphasized this interactive capacity of computer-mediated communication and suggested a group of U&G statements be used as rating scales to evaluate computer-aided instructional programs. it was discovered that web users who perceive a banner ad on the Web as entertaining leads to more brand loyalty to the advertised products and a higher chance of purchasing the brand (Stern & Zaichowsky 1991). Chen and Wells (1999) found that information on the Web provides positive consumer attitudes toward the information. It implies that consumers who hold a positive attitude toward the Web would spend more time browsing the web for fun or information. 69% of online shoppers use social media. and feel satisfied with the convenient and resourceful Web. However. Previous research suggests that providing a higher entertainment value is likely to lead to an advantage for media users and to motivate them to use the media more often. U&G research takes an approach that asks what people do with media as opposed to what media do to people. 2000). This study also views social media usage derived from entertainment. Users of specific Internet sites might be motivated by the desire for specific site-related informational content.
Arnold and Reynolds (2003) identifies a comprehensive inventory of consumers’ hedonic shopping motivations using six variables including adventure. they understand the evolution of communication and accept it as the “new thing. hobby. Study 1: In-Depth Interview To find out why and how people use social media and how their perspectives affect online shopping value. in-depth interviews and survey. 1998). Each latent construct was operationalized by several observable indicators that represented a question in the questionnaire. Generally. Oftentimes. Attitude towards Social Media Marketing Messages and Online Shopping Value Fiore et al. attitudes toward social media marketing messages. six Marketing . Entertainment and information scales were based on research including Chen and Well (1999). gratification. and Ducoffe (1996) for “entertainment. Interviewees were asked several questions regarding social media usage gratification and their attitudes toward social media marketing messages and online shopping behavior.. there is a lack of research findings in understanding the relationship between social media motivations and attitudes toward social media marketing messages and online shopping value. Social media allows consumers to have “a voice” and that companies are actively listening to them and quickly respond. the following hypothesis is developed: H4: Attitudes toward social media marketing messages have a positive relationship is positively related to hedonic shopping value. The extent of interest in a specific industry. Almost all have interacted with companies through social media. They also use social media for posting. (2000) and Bush. The survey questions include five latent constructs. The first three constructs are concerned with social media gratifications that include entertainment. along with U&G theory and online shopping value. (2005) found the relationship between a preferred level of environmental stimulation and the hedonic shopping value. Attitudes toward marketing messages were developed based on the Shamdasni. Most college Page 583 Two research methods. Some questions were modified for this study. Hedonic scales were based on Babin. information. However. Overall. Half of the respondents do not feel that it is a way of escaping from their ordinary lives because they believe that it is a part of their ordinary lives and believe that it is a reflection of who they are. they do not trust social media marketing messages because of the lack of brand/organization legitimacy. (1994). or responding to company brands. A 5-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) was used.” They embrace and use it since it poses such an important role in promoting and providing social interaction in their daily lives. some demonstrated negative feelings when they evaluated the amount of time they spend on these networks.Northeast Business & Economics Association – Established in 1973 informational content. role. blogging. What the students liked best about companies using social media is that it provides a very fast and easy way to be up-to-date with new products and promotions. 4 METHODOLOGY individual in-depth interviews were conducted. et al. Most use it to interact with people they personally know—a few use it to interact with strangers. it is hypothesized: H3: Social media information gratification has a positive relationship to attitudes toward social media marketing messages. Data was collected using a websurvey method among college students. but do so to share similar ideas and interests. There were mixed responses in how much they trust blogs in terms of product information. Interviewees reveal that social media provides social interactions and relationships with people. were employed. Thus. Kim and Forsythe (2007) findings explain that hedonic motivation has a stronger positive relationship than functional motivations do with attitudes toward using product virtualization technologies. The level of brand/company loyalty affects whether a consumer will post feedback on their sites. and online shopping value. social. and interaction as exogenous variables and the last two constructs are concerned with attitude toward social media marketing messages and online shopping values as endogenous variables. such as product or store information (Stafford & Stafford. Thus. Some enjoy the idea that it allows them to look at new products or promotions on their own time instead of being bombarded via other media sources. value. Previous research for social media mainly focuses on usage patterns and motivations. and users do not trust how that information will be used. a conceptual model was developed. Nearly all respondents enjoy using social media. Study 2: Survey A survey questionnaire was developed in order to measure the relationships among social media gratification. The proposed model is comprised of five groups of variables. Scale Development: Based on previous research findings. et al. et al. advertisements lead to other links and require information input. (1999) studies. or subject area influences the level of participation on company brands via social media sites.” “information” and “social interaction” in order to measure motivations. However. and idea shopping motivations.
A total of 146. Further. Root mean Squared Error (RMSEA) = . social media information gratification (SMIFG). a two-step data approach was used to assess the measurement model of the factors and to test the structural models. the reliability analysis verified the precision of the survey instrument and the internal consistency of the measure.Northeast Business & Economics Association – Established in 1973 students are technologically savvy and heavy users of social media. social media marketing messages significantly influence online shopping values. . as well as being comfortable as online shoppers. The generated factor solution was rotated using Varimax loading to identify the significant loading for each variable. The cumulative percentage was 74. Thus.57. H1 was not supported. The results indicate that convergent validity of the model was supported and good reliability was established.000) with 145 degrees of freedom. As a result. and H4 were supported. communication. The fit indexes are Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = .91. they spend 60-120 minutes a day accessing social media.92 to . Cronbach’s alpha is widely used for testing the internal consistency of the measurement and for increasing the precision of the measurement instrument by precluding the obstructive items for the instrument. social media interaction gratification (SMITG). Discriminant validity could be measured by comparing the variance-extracted percentage for any two constructs with the square of the correlation estimate between these two constructs (Fornell & Lacker.93. exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to assess the dimensionality of a set of variables.86. Entertainment. and socializing are main Page 584 .91. The completely standardized factor-loading estimates and all loading estimates were significant (p < . Most of respondents indicated that they have used social media sites approximately for five years.93. Normed Fit Index (NFI) = . 76 male and 70 female. but not entertainment gratification.075.1% of its variance. social media marketing messages is a predictor of hedonic shopping value that explains 13. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test the overall validity of the measurement theory. Next. and online shopping value (OSVALU). between the ages of 19-25.60 of communality variables were dropped and 19 items were identified. The proposed hypotheses were tested in the context of an overall model showing theoretical relations among five variables.85.62. 5 DISCUSSION AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATION Social media has changed society with new ways of interactive communication and marketers have recognized that social media is increasingly important to the marketing mix (eMarketer. All hypotheses were tested and the SEM structural path results indicated that all relationships except the one between SMEG and SMATT were significant (Figure 1). respectively. Root mean Squared Error (RMSEA) = . The variance-extracted estimates were . Also. Factoring loadings provided a first step in assessing the convergent validity of the measurement model (Hair. Data were entered and analyzed for descriptive and inferential statistical tests. Usually. Using AMOS 17. Also.79 with 19 components for five latent constructs. Less than . social media attitude toward marketing messages (SMATT). Among the three gratifications. Data Analysis and Results Initial analysis As a preliminary analysis. Estimate of Squared Multiple Correlation indicates that the predictors of social media marketing messages (entertainment. information and interaction gratifications) explain 23. the structural model was analyzed and the hypotheses were tested.. First.000) with 142 degrees of freedom.001) with the lowest being . interaction and information gratification affect attitude toward social media marketing messages. Thus. . The structural model is adequate with χ2 = 261. 1981). the sampling frame is appropriate to identify social media gratification and online shopping behavior. The variance-extracted estimates should be greater than the squared correlation estimate.756 (p = .5% of its variance. The findings from this study are consistent with the Stafford & Gonier (2004) study.65 and the highest being . the construct reliability estimates were all adequate ranging from . a 19-item CFA model was estimated and it revealed that the measurement model provided an appropriate fit. They also explained that they do online shopping a few times a month (38%) and a few time a year (67%). These alpha values indicated strong associations and implied good levels of reliability of each construct with alphas above .73. 2006).074. The fit indexes are Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = . H3.453 (p = . interaction. and information gratification on social media usage are significantly correlated to each other.and 63 for social media Marketing entertainment gratification (SMEG).80. Normed Fit Index (NFI) = . and Tucker-Lewis = . principle-components method was used to generate the initial solution. responded to the survey. Structural Model and Hypotheses Testing After measuring the measurement model.89. The results of this study imply that attitude toward social media marketing messages are strongly related to social media usage gratifications such as interaction and information. Squared Interconstruct Correlations (SIC) calculated from the IC (Interconstruct Correlations) and all variance extracted (VE) were estimated. et al. 2010). . CFA results of the overall model analyses indicate that the χ2 for measurement model is 256. .61. They found that information.85. and Tucker-Lewis = . H2.
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