Research in Media Promotion (Leas Communication Series)

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White South Africans form 8. The White minority have the highest average income, education and employment levels in comparison to the other ethnic groups. A majority are Indian and 3,50, are Chinese. South Africa has a young population, which is evident in many developing countries. Two-thirds are aged 34 years or younger Generation Z was the first cohort to have grown up in the post-apartheid era in South Africa and, consequently, this integrated multiracial cohort has greater opportunity than the previous generations.

This cohort attends racially mixed schools and has greater access to tertiary education and wealth creation despite the enduring socio-economic and political consequences of apartheid. However, young South African consumers are extremely image conscious, which has resulted in conspicuous consumption, but are not self-obsessed and care about their future prospects Duh and Struwig, ; Tennant, Generation Z has more information available at their fingertips than any of the prior generations. Generation Z had Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts the moment they were born, so social media is as normal as breathing is to them Wharton University of Pennsylvania, Generation Z is able to multitask owing to their busy everyday life; show high degrees of creativity, expressiveness and individuality; desire immediacy without long waiting periods for consumption and is generally continually connected via mobile devices and other interactive ICT conduits.

These young consumers desire everything, everywhere and instantaneously. However, young consumers are able to quickly filter out boring and irrelevant messages, and rather focus their attention on more creative brand messages. This generation is brand savvy and can rapidly discern unreliable brands Bevan-Dye and Dondolo, ; Barenblatt, ; Benhamou, ; Williams, For over a century, many advertising models to establish marketing communication objectives have been postulated to represent the attitude phases that consumers might experience before they make a purchase Barry, There has been rigorous debate regarding the use of single-component one-dimensional and multicomponent models of attitudes Bagozzi and Burnkrant, ; Barry, ; Weilbacher, ; Barry, ; Maio and Haddock, However, Bagozzi and Burnkrant and Barry found that multicomponent models are valid, and several advocates are in agreement that these models can be used to assess advertising Barry and Howard, ; Durvasula et al.

Furthermore, there are a myriad of studies Yoo et al. Hence, the multicomponent model of attitudes was adopted by this study. Ultimately, each attitude phase should be reached, but the stages are essentially not equidistant because consumers can progress though a number of stages concurrently or in a different sequence Lavidge and Steiner, Attitudes are relatively enduring, consistent and constant over time and, as described above, comprise three components: cognitive; affective and behavioral Hamidizadeh et al.

Attitudes toward advertising A ad is a frequently postulated theory that states positive attitudes toward advertising results in analogous attitudes toward the brands, which in turn have a favorable influence on purchase intention MacKenzie et al. Although, many other variables have been found to have an influence on the A ad , such as media usage, age, gender, ethnicity and even mood MacKenzie and Lutz, Furthermore, A ad has been considered to be an effective measure of advertising effectiveness Yoo et al.

A number of recent international investigations have examined several attitudinal responses toward various types of social media marketing communications.

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Gensler et al. Kumar et al.


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Malthouse et al. Tham et al. Lukka and James found a mixed range of attitudes, which were positive, negative or neutral toward SNA among Bangkok university students who were classified into three clusters accordingly.

Influence of social media marketing communications on young consumers’ attitudes

Murphy determined that social media resulted in user-generated content that influenced behavioral responses purchase intentions favorably among Generation Y respondents in Ireland. Therefore, in summary, it is important to understand how young online consumers perceive SNA and factors that influence their attitudes because this will determine social media marketing communications content, and will assist to improve the effectiveness of online ICT strategies. This study also investigated a number of usage and demographic variables that influence attitude components.

The investigation provides additional insight regarding whether social media marketing communications is perceived by young consumers in the same way as traditional advertising, from which these attitude models were developed, and expands the limited pool of knowledge in developing countries that will be valuable to both academics and organizations alike.

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This study was empirical, whereby large samples of quantifiable data were collected from young consumers so that the results can be evaluated via statistical analysis to test a theory, which is examined against reality to solve practical research problems Wright, ; Zikmund and Babin, Hence, this inquiry used survey data to gauge the attitudes of Generation Z toward social marketing communications, which allowed for clearer distinctions from more traditional approaches that were used to effectively reach this group, and elaborated on previous theories on this topic.

This inquiry targeted year-old high school and college learners Generation Z who used and have observed social media marketing communications.

The study used a double sampling method, which comprises several phases to draw a sample Birn, ; Blumberg et al. The research population is first divided into several groups; in this study the Western Cape Province was selected in South Africa.

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Thereafter, the colleges and schools were phoned to obtain permission to perform the survey. Nearly learners from each college and high school were selected via systematic sampling, and were requested to participate in the study on a voluntary basis Gupta, ; Bhattacherjee, Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to the respondents to immediately complete by themselves, which allowed for more accurate answers, because respondents were able to request assistance if they did not fully understand any of the questions, and completeness, because the fieldworker was able to quickly scan the questionnaire once it was returned De Vos et al.

Three questionnaires, one for each attitude component, did not ask the Generation Z respondents to identify or list any products or brands, but solely focused on determining their attitudes toward social media marketing communications. The research questionnaires consisted of three sections. The next section comprised two eight-item constructs to ascertain one attitude component cognitive, affective or behavioral. A total of 35 fieldworkers two colleges or schools each collected the data on a face-to-face basis via the self-administered questionnaires, which resulted in an excellent response rate.

In this way 13, questionnaires were completed, and the data was captured, coded and analyzed via statistical package for the social sciences SPSS. The massive use of mobile devices among young consumers is a well-known trend that is supported by discourse both locally Andrews, ; Breitenbach, ; Harding, ; Jovago, and internationally Hardwick et al. This is a rational result because younger adolescents would have been using SNS for a shorter time frame owing to age restrictions on SNS such as Facebook Facebook, Generation Z primarily logged on to social media daily or several times a week Most South African teenagers spend h A majority of young consumers in South Africa update their social media profiles daily or weekly This usage variable has not been assessed in prior research, and hence, this study produced some original findings in terms of cross-analysis with the three attitude components that are elaborated upon in later text.

Female adolescents that use social media were in the ascendancy The older Generation Z members — year-olds collectively accounted for nearly 82 per cent of social media users, which is a logical result owing to the age restrictions of certain social media e.


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Facebook or the lack of Internet access in their early teens, which was mentioned in prior text. There is a lack of research within cohorts, as mandated by Bolton et al. The population groups essentially duplicated the cultural diversity of teenagers who live in the Western Cape in South Africa; therefore, Black Table I offers a complete summary of usage and demographic variables of young consumers who use social media. Table II reveals that the initial attitude components, such as awareness and knowledge, display higher means that progressively decrease for each sequential attitudinal response toward social media marketing communications amid South African teenagers, until culminating in the eventual purchase.

This notion evidently mirrors the purchase funnel, which postulates that each attitude component becomes increasingly more demanding to achieve, with the number of potential consumers decreasing as they progress down the funnel, until the final primary marketing communication objective, namely purchase Safko, ; Belch and Belch, Though, the purchase funnel was developed via traditional media marketing communications research that is generally one-way communication, conversely, social media is primarily interactive in nature Ma and Liu, Therefore, this study empirically substantiates that in spite of the high levels of consumer engagement and two-way communication of social media among Generation Z; these interactive ICT platforms still adhere to the principles of communications effects pyramid.

Hence, this study demonstrates that social media marketing communications enables organizations and their brands to reach young consumers, particularly the notorious vacillating Generation Z. Several other international inquiries have considered various aspects of social media marketing communications related to different attitude components across a number of cohorts and industries. Schivinski and Dabrowski discovered that both user-generated and organizational social media brand communications positively affected awareness cognitive responses.

The study resulted in positive cognitive attitudinal responses regarding brand interaction in social media settings. Kabadayi and Price disclosed different types of individual and mass communication interaction on Facebook and personality traits influenced affective responses in the form of liking and comments among Millennial respondents in the USA.

Tan et al. Hardwick et al. Liu et al. The investigation established videos with subtle product placements, which resulted in the most favorable attitude and behavioral responses, and that the effect of social media product placements was comparable to other media. However, this study shows that young consumers share analogous positive attitudes toward social media marketing communications, with a majority of the aforementioned inquiries in spite of the fact that they were largely executed in first-world countries among older generational cohorts.

Social media marketing communications resulted in the most positive cognitive and affective attitudinal responses when accessed via mobile devices amid Generation Z refer to Table III. This is not an unexpected result, because Swanepoel also established that mobile channels had become the most popular marketing communications platform in Africa, with over 90 per cent having access to a mobile network.

Harding disclosed that the use of mobile devices to purchase online increased from 23 per cent in to over 46 per cent in , whereas the use of computers declined from It is clear from the above discussion that the rapid proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices has resulted in tremendous growth among user numbers that access social media via mobile devices in Africa and South Africa. This enables astute marketers to continually stream relevant and interested content via social media marketing communications to teenagers who have never known a world without SNS and smartphones Barker et al.

Adolescents who had used social media for 2 years or more displayed the most favorable cognitive attitudes toward SNA, whereas, conversely, those young consumers who had used social media for 1 year or less exhibited the greatest positive behavioral attitudes toward SNA refer to Table III. Balabanis and Vassileiou , Liao and Cheung and Sago confirmed that the experience levels of online users affected attitude components for an array of interactive ICT channels.

It is apparent that more experienced teenagers had become accustomed to social media marketing communications because their higher attitude components were not as readily positively affected as those with less familiarity who were, therefore, found to be more susceptible in this study Cox, Therefore, organizations and their brands should continually provide accurate and recent content to Generation Z, who is able to absorb information instantly, but may also lose interest quickly if it does not stimulate engagement Williams, The log-on frequency usage variable did not result in any significant difference regarding attitudinal responses Table III.

Chandra et al. However, the mean values indicate that adolescents who logged on more frequently daily and several times a week showed the most favorable predispositions across all of the attitude stages toward social media marketing communications. Maddox and Gong also posited that the most active Internet users displayed the largest inclination to use commercial content available online to assist with purchase decisions.

Teenagers who spent longer periods of time two or more hours on social media manifested favorable cognitive, affective and behavioral attitudes toward marketing communications refer to Table III. This result is a rational supposition because the longer time adolescents spend on social media, the more likely they will view and interact with marketing communications on these digital ICT conduits. Bridges et al.

Organizations and their brands should, therefore, encourage young social media users to stay online for longer periods of time via branded apps, games and competitions and many other interactive promotional tools to develop favorable attitudinal responses. Generation Z social media users who updated their profile more regularly daily and several times a week displayed the most positive sentiments toward marketing communications across all attitude stages refer to Table III.

Again, this is a reasonable notion because the more teenagers interact on social media, the greater the probability that they will all interact with marketing communications on these interactive ICT platforms. Therefore, this is a pioneering inquiry that has made a noteworthy addition to SNS research among young consumers from a practical and theoretical perspective. The gender demographic variable did not have a large influence on the attitude components although female teenagers displayed higher levels of liking affective attitude in terms of social media marketing communications refer to Table III.

Bannister et al. Hence, organizations should take advantage of the fact that female adolescents also participate in a greater quantity of social media activities and are more probable to have favorable affective attitudes toward SNA Walter, The age demographic variable also demonstrated a limited influence on attitude components with the exception of knowledge cognitive attitude as a result of social media marketing communications, where older teenagers years old display more favorable sentiments than their younger counterparts refer to Table III.

Furthermore, the mean values also suggest that older adolescents have more favorable responses across all of the other attitude components toward social media marketing communications. Moore also established that older cohorts reflected more positive behavioral responses than younger cohorts on different interactive online ICT platforms, which is a rational notion because older consumers would have larger financial resources. Mulero and Adeyeye posited that social network marketing was predominantly used and accepted by younger respondents.

Yet, neither of the abovementioned studies considered teenagers or age classifications within a single cohort regarding attitude components toward social media marketing communications; hence, this study has made a preliminary contribution to academic discourse. PDI adolescents exhibited the most favorable predispositions across all attitude components owing to social media marketing communications in comparison to their White compatriots refer to Table III.

This is a reasonable supposition because Black middle class has grown considerably, since apartheid was abolished, and their spending power now exceeds that of their White counterparts. Furthermore, Grier and Deshpande established that Black South Africans displayed a higher probability of being favorably influenced by advertising. However, White teenagers generally have greater levels of social media experience than PDIs who may, therefore, be more susceptible to marketing communications on these interactive ICT conduits.

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However, few local or international studies have considered the effect of population groups on SNA regarding attitudes components. Hence, this innovative investigation has made a significant contribution to both the development of theoretical and practical perspectives on social media and attitudinal research.

Teenagers have become largely resistant to traditional marketing; hence, advertising revenues for many above-the-line media have slowed in growth or even declined in recent years, whereas several forms of digital interactive advertising in particular mobile and social media have proved to be resilient to the fickleness of this younger generation, as well as the overall economic conditions of the market, and so has seen steady growth over the past decade Lazarevic, ; Jaffit, ; Pombo, The emergence of interactive social media has made it possible for marketers to communicate to millions of young consumers about their products; consequently, the impact of consumer-to-consumer communication has been greatly magnified in the marketplace.

No organization can develop without an effective marketing communication strategy for their brands to create favorable attitudinal responses among their consumers or users, which begins with awareness and knowledge, and progresses through several other components that ultimately climax in a predisposition to purchase. A number of organizations and their brands have used social media to promote their brands and engage with young customers amid an explosion of digital ICT platforms in South Africa and abroad.

This investigation established that social media marketing communications had a significant effect on every attitude component, but the mean value declined with each successive stage. These findings correspond with the sales funnel principles that were developed via traditional advertising and verified that SNA resulted in analogous attitudes among young consumers. A number of usage and demographic variables had a major influence on the attitude components of South African teenagers.

The most noteworthy elements of these findings ascertained that adolescents who accessed social media via mobile devices for protracted periods of time more than 2 h and updated their profiles on a daily basis exhibited the greatest positive responses across most of the attitude components toward marketing communications on these interactive ICT channels.

Furthermore, older female PDI teenagers were also more likely to display the most favorable attitudes toward social media marketing communications.