The study was aimed at analysing facebook advertising and its influence on audience preference of sprite coca cola. The survey research was used in this study to sample the opinion of respondents. This method involved random selection of respondent who were administered with questionnaires. The target population of the study comprised of consumers of sprite coca cola in Lagos state. The questionnaire administered was one hundred and ten (110) copies and one hundred copies retrieved which constitute the sample size. The descriptive and analytical approach was adopted using Chi-square to test and analyze the hypotheses earlier stated. The findings revealed that there is a significant impact of facebook advertising on audience preferences of sprite coca cola and that there is a significant relationship between facebook advertising and audience preference of sprite coca cola. It was therefore concluded from the findings that social media reach allows consumers to create content in line with the firm’s products and services. This study concludes that facebook advertising reach allows consumers to create content in line with the firm’s products and services and that Facebook advertising triggers consumers to make a purchase of product/service. It was recommended that coca cola industry should embrace the use of facebook advertising reach in targeting different market segments to effectively influence consumer buying behaviour.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Advertising is a form of communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideals, or services. It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand. These brands are usually paid for or identified through sponsors and viewed via various media. Advertising can also serve to communicate an idea to a mass amount of people in an attempt to convince them to take a certain action, such as encouraging 'environmentally friendly' behaviors, and even unhealthy behaviors through food consumption, video game and television viewing promotion, and a "lazy man" routine through a loss of exercise .
Facebook was formerly a real-time online platform for college students but is now being used by everybody. It belongs to a new category of websites that focus on social networking. It allows users to express themselves, interact with friends, share personal information with friends as well as publish their own views on issues on the Internet. Facebook remains the most popular interactive Internet platform where people meet, discuss issues and share ideas, hence the tag: “social media”. It is the most popular social networking site in several English speaking Countries. In fact, it is the leading social networking site based on Comscore Agency Reports, cited in Wikipedia (2010). Writing on social networking sites, Moriarty, Mitchell and Wells (2009) compared them to the old mall and arcade hangouts. According to them, “Like the old mall and arcade hangouts, these are places where teens spend hours talking to friends about their joys, crushes and disappointments.” On the fast growth of Facebook, Moriarty et al assert that by 2007, the smaller but still phenomenally popular Facebook had created a community of 24 million members, comprising mainly college buddies who share photos, favorite music, and personal stories. Considering the ever changing and competitive field of advertising and marketing, advertisers and marketers are seeking new and easy ways to reach their target consumers. They have found part of the solution in social networking sites which grant them the opportunity to speak to the consumers one-on-one. Buttressing this points, Moriarty et al (2009, p. 342) submit that “the reason these social networking sites are so attractive to marketers is that they engage the power of relationships. Because of these relationships, network members are more likely to respond to message on the sites, including advertisements, if they are effective at becoming part of the social context. Marketers are interested because these relationships also are influential in consumer decision making”. Solaja and Odiaka (2010, p. 32) add that “Facebook, a social networking website created in February 2004, has become such a hit, with over 500 million active users as of July 2010; such a large population naturally offers a good basis for the adoption of the platform for marketing purposes”. This huge population of users which is bound to have increased by now makes the Facebook a veritable channel of advertising. With the popularity of Facebook in Nigeria, especially among youths, most advertisements targeted at youths, that is, advertisements on youth-oriented products are placed on social networking sites, particularly on Facebook. This is because youths, the most computer literature segment of the Nigerian population, can create profiles and link with friends even with their cell phones, cameras, iPods, laptops and other digital tools which they can use to establish their online identities. Henry Jenkins, cited in Rodman, believes that social networks grant the youths the opportunity to hang out without adult supervision. According to him: “Their mobility and control over physical space is heavily curtailed and monitored. Although youth are able to socialize privately with one another in the homes of friends, most are not allowed to spend time hanging out in public, unaccompanied by parents or adults. They view social networking sites as places where they can be who they are, joke around with friends and make certain to stay in the loop about everything that is going on around them. Just as youth in a hunting society play with bows and arrows, youth in an information society play with information and social networks” (Rodman, 2010, p. 293). Consumers’ attitudes towards Facebook advertising is important, especially in terms of the type of activity that marketers want to encourage. This study seeks to ascertain whether the audience that uses sprite coca cola, access the advertisements posted on Facebook. It will also establish whether they patronize these advertisements knowing fully well that most people avoid advertisements on Facebook because of lack of trust.
1. 2.STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
It is widely believed that youths dominate Facebook accounts (Su, 2010) and Facebook is, therefore, seen as a good channel for advertisements of products. Water (2010, p.35) opines that, “Due to lack of censorship on the Internet, there has been a growing global concern about the nefarious activities of some Internet users which has made most people to avoid advertisements placed on the Internet”. In line with the above statement by Waters, many Internet users, including Facebook users, may be afraid to access advertisements placed on Facebook because of lack of trust or because the ads take them entirely away to a different site from Facebook where they are having social interactions. Knowing fully well that advertisers spend money to advertise their products on Facebook and if these products are not accessed or patronized, they will not get value for their money. However there has been little research that investigates whether SNS applications such as the like, sharing, posting and check-in capabilities on Facebook influence a consumer’s intention to purchase a product through the Facebook platform. The study therefore sought to investigate whether these advertisements are accessed by Facebook users; in this case, consumers of sprite coca cola, and whether the advertisements influence them to buy the products. The questions that therefore arise are: Do these audiences take notice of advertisement placed on Facebook and see them? And do the advertisements influence them to buy the products?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Generally, this research seeks to examine facebook advertising and its influence on audience preference of sprite coca cola. Specifically, this study seeks:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1.6SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will help firms understand the importance of advertising. It will also enable them structure their adverts and brands to make them more appealing in order to improve sales and lead to better performance. As this study gives a clear insight into how advertisement can influence consumer behaviour, many firms will be encouraged into using adverts to market their products. When firms start making more sales and profits as a result of advertising, the economy of Nigeria will be boosted, as more income from tax will be accrued to the government of Nigeria. The findings and recommendations of this study will go a long way in helping firms to adopt good advertising strategies, and appealing brand designs to help get more consumers for their products and services.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is limited to the influence of facebook advertising and its influence onaudience preference of sprite coca cola, using selected consumers of Sprite coca cola brands as a focus point.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Advertisement: Any form of non-personal communication through mass media that is paid for by an identified sponsor(s).
Advertising: A process activity or program necessarily to prepare message get it to the intended market.
Influence: The effect somebody or something has on somebody or something.
Media: The main ways that large number of people generates information or get entertained.
Consumers: Persons who buy goods and use it for services.
Product: Anything that can be offered to the market for attention, acquisition, and consumption or use that might satisfy a need or want.
Services: Any act of performance that can be offered to another that is essentially tangible and does not result in the ownership of anything.
Consumer Behaviour: The behaviour at which the consumer will display if searching for purchasing.
Facebook: A social network created in 2004 by Mark Zukerberge having more than 500 million users as at 2010 and an attractive site for advertisers.
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