Consumer response to ads in social network sites : an exploration into the role of ad location and path
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Past research repeatedly suggests consumer’s defensive response to persuasive attempts is a key challenge for advertisers. Given the explosive growth of social media, this study aims to understand if consumer response to ads placed in a social network site could be influenced by ad location and the path through which the ad is delivered. Findings from an experiment suggest that consumers’ attention to ads in SNSs is remarkably low. Furthermore, the interaction between ad location and the path significantly influences consumers’ attitudes toward the ad, attitudes toward the brand, and purchase intention. Specifically, it appears that an ad placed inside users’ timeline and sent through via known others, the indirect path, yielded favorable consumer response. On the other hand, consumers responded more favorably to an ad sent by the advertiser, the direct path, than that sent by known others if the ad is placed outside users’ timeline. Implications and suggestions for future research are provided.