An exploratory study investigating Generation Y: Perceptions of social network advertising (SNA) and participation with brands on social network sites (SNS).
(2017) An exploratory study investigating Generation Y: Perceptions of social network advertising (SNA) and participation with brands on social network sites (SNS)., no. 84.
PURPOSE The proliferation of social media has irrevocably revolutionised the way in which individuals, organisations and brands communicate. Social network sites (SNS) have enabled brands to become increasingly connected to consumers and a plethora of affordable, highly measurable advertising tools are available to facilitate this connection. However, from a consumer perspective little is known regarding perceptions of social network advertising and participation with brands on social media (Bolton 2013, Duffet 2015a, Ruane and Wallace 2013). For consumer industries, Generation Y (Gen Y) are a key demographic and marketers are particularly interested in this cohort's social media usage as this group has substantial purchasing power and their behaviour may be a harbinger of future generations. The purpose of this exploratory research is to investigate Generation Y's perception of social network advertising (SNA) and participation with brands on SNS. RESEARCH DESIGN The extensive literature review enabled identification of the most appropriate approach. The study employed a qualitative methodology and semi structured focus groups (n=5) were conducted with Gen Y participants (n=26) in the UK. Data was analysed using a template analysis approach, enabling the researcher to set four priori themes and recognise the value of three emergent integrative themes. FINDINGS Findings furthered initial aims of the research and evidence some original contributions. Firstly, in relation to the previously set priori themes, the results present two predominant perspectives in relation to Gen Y respondent's attitudes towards SNA: those who were generally positive about SNA and those who were negative about SNA. Secondly, results suggest that when used to create social bonds, SNA can be considered as an important technique in which brands interact and foster relationships with Generation Y consumers and encouraging brand cocreation would be a conceivably successful approach. Furthermore, findings advocate that Gen Y respondents enjoy interactive brand experiences and based on the results it can be conceivably hypothesised that these experiences have the potential to encourage brand satisfaction and increased loyalty. In relation to the three emerging integrative themes, results indicate that respondents were somewhat open to new meanings of brands on social media and in order to resonate with Gen Y consumers, personalisation and informal brand communication should be encouraged alongside visual and multimedia advertising content. These findings are beneficial to organisations that wish to market towards Generation Y on SNS.