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Capturing Your Attention

Christopher Baker Queens University of Charlotte Christopher.Baker@rexmail.queens.edu Submitted: April 18th, 2013


Abstract Introduction Literature review Methodology


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Analysis Conclusion Limitations of the Study Suggestions for Future Research References

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Abstract Over the last five years, the internet has expanded rapidly. With new web applications such as social media, users are now using many platforms to receive all of their information. This can include staying up-to-date with their friends lives, developing new friendships, and staying up to date on the latest news, whether it is sport, political or current affairs. The internet has everything to provide the modern generation to suit their interests and has now become a major part of our lives. With so many consumers being online and using the internet, it has created a new path for advertisers to reach out to them. This has prompted my research study to explore how effective is online advertising and what are the most effective ways for organisations to advertise via the internet. Information obtained was through extensive investigation that benefited the research findings and gave us a diverse collection of viewpoints on the topic. Sources indicated that there were many effective ways of online adverting, while others found that online advertising was not cost effective and did not lead to sales or profits. By generating questions and conducting focus groups, this paper examines what makes an effective advertisement by asking the users who spend time online and who are target by these advertisements. Twelve focus groups compromised of six to eight students who are frequent users of the internet and are targeted by advertisements. Up to hour-long sessions were conducted with students from Queens University of Charlotte which will provide researchers, organizations, and businesses with the most effective way to advertise on the internet.


Advancements in technology have changed the methods in which organisations and businesses have reached out to their customers. The internet has changed the way we live our lives. Users from all around the world of different societies, races and religions can all reach out to a universal audience to express their message, points of view. With the introduction of social media sites and other free applications, this has only encouraged users to put their lives online and share their content with their friends, family and followers. The internet has made it easily accessible to connect with anyone and everyone. With so many users all around the world being online and sharing their information and interests to the public, this has opened a new channel for advertisers to reach out to inform users of their latest products or services. Advertisers are using many different ways of trying to capture the attention of users on the web, as advertising is the new concept via the web. There are many different approaches which organisations and business have been using to try and see what the most effective ways to reach out to the users using the internet. The main purpose of these advertisements are to inform users of the latest products, services or information about their company or brand. The majority of the users were subjective of adverts via social media and other free applications, such as YouTube. The other advertisements were seen through search engines. Understanding exactly what makes an advertisement effective or not by asking users, who are approached by these marketing campaigns, will give this research topic a better understanding of what truly makes an effective advertisement online. Ineffective, inefficient, costly, time wasting, were just a couple of terms that were associated when discussing online advertisements. Many users found advertisements to be just more concerned about taking your money than offering a service or product that is actually of interest of them. Advertisements were not categorized and served no purpose, they just filled a space. By understanding what the

users of the internet found to be effective or not, corporations and business will be able to employ these new strategies to create effective online advertisements. RQ What are the most effective ways for organizations to advertise via the internet?

Literature review

Internet Timeline History The internet was invented in 1969. It was originally used and designed to connect four major universities in United States of America (Gust, 2006). The idea was to provide a communication system in the event of military attack were to destroy conventional communication systems. The internet was originally called Advanced Research Projects Agency(Gust, 2006). In 1972, the first electronic mail was used to send a message of information via the internet (Gust, 2006). The internet was being revolutionized every year, new ideas and concepts were being put in place. The internet first came available to the public in 1989 by a gentleman called Peter Deutsch at Montreals McGill University, who developed a new technique for distributing information via the internet, and Advanced Research Projects Agency was renamed World Wide Web (Gust, 2006). The World Wide Web was developing exponentially and in 1994 the White House launched their own web page (Gust, 2006). Commercial web sites are established and are available for the public to share information online. With the development of the World Wide Web now being accessible to the public, over 45 million people were using the internet in 1996; 30 million of these users were based in North America (Gust, 2006). The internet started to change the way people looked for information and provided new opportunities to many different organisations, business and users. In the early 2000s business started to implement the benefits of the internet (Updegrove, 1996). Online conference meetings enabled companies around the globe to connect and build relationships with one another, developing new business and trade around the world without leaving their office. The internet would revolutionize the way businesses would think about communicating with one another (Updegrove, 1996) .

In 2002 the use of the World Wide Web was now being implemented into the education system. E-mail would enable students to contact professors at anytime of the day. The World Wide Web was developing into not just a way to send a message via email, but an application to support and benefit our lives (Updegrove, 1996). Despite the growth of the World Wide Web, many questions were being asked, the two major concerns were. How will schools, universities and businesses restructure their environments to accommodate this new application? And how will the World Wide Web protect the conception of privacy, copyrights and ownership of information? (Updegrove, 1996).

Internet Advertising Internet advertising is defined as any form of commercial content available on the internet that is designed by businesses to inform consumers about a product or service. Hence, internet advertising can be delivered via any channel (e.g. video clip, print or audio), in any form (e.g. an e-mail message or an interactive game), and provide information at any degree of depth (e.g. a corporate logo or an official Web site) (Yaakop, 2013). Due to globalization, businesses have had to result to expand their audience to a global scale, which has meant that online users have had to become aware of the services or products being offered (Gilaninia, 2011). Advertising is process which informs users about goods and services over time to encourage or persuade consumers to buy goods or services (Gilaninia, 2011). Advertising via the World Wide Web first started in the early 1990s when the website was made commercially available to the public (Gust, 2006). With nearly over 45 million people sharing their information and using the World Wide Web as an application, advertising companies saw this as a platform to reach out to the users (Gust, 2006). A new platform of interactive advertising, such as banners, sponsored ads, social ads, and display

ads revolutionised the way companies focused their attentions to capture the World Wide Web users attention (Hairong, 2011). Advertising via the internet has been found to be both beneficial at communicating corporate messages and brand values (Wakolbinger, 2009). The web first started off like a word document, with just pages and pages of information. As technologies have developed over time, web pages and designs have developed new features and the ability to perform various functions, which enabled adverts to be placed on the web (Hairong, 2011). The importance of creating a visually effective advert which carries an important message to a specific audience is seen as significant (Greenberg, 2012). Spacing, colour, shape, depth, spatial frequency and complexity are all vital components for an effective advertisement on the web (Greenberg, 2012). The physical and a clutter free appearance of the advertisement is vital to get right when capturing the audiences attention. Results of cluttered and less atheistically pleasing advertisements were less effective in delivering important information (Greenberg, 2012). Advertisements must be carefully balanced between information and images to be effective (Greenberg, 2012). Advertisement placement is also another important factor when it comes to the effectiveness of the campaign. By studying where participants eyes were getting attracted to on the screen, Greenburg could discover where the best locations for advertisements to be (Greenberg, 2012). Advertisements that were shown in the top and right hand side margin of the computer screen were most effective (Greenberg, 2012). However, animated adverts in these positions were not effective and may become easily ignored when the viewer is engaged in his/hers work (Greenberg, 2012). Advertisements are not necessarily designed to have instant results but to implement new ideas and concepts that provoke thought at a later stage (Greenberg, 2012). This is known as advertising recall which provides familiarity with the product or service being offered. Advertisement placement and visibility are of critical importance to ultimate ad

effectiveness (Greenberg, 2012) There two aspects for online advertisements, low-level visual and high level visual. Research shows that less is more when it comes to contextual adverts and the uses of images are not a necessary important to capture the attention of the audience (Greenberg, 2012). Users of the internet also found that banner advertisements can have a negative effect on the website which could make it less appealing for users to revisit the webpage in the future. (Chaturvedi, 2012) A banner advertisement usually contains 468 x 60 pixels which is located on the hosts website. Banner advertisements are usually located on websites that share common interests. For example, the latest Nike golf club is likely to be located on forum websites discussing golf. So the product being advertised has interest for the internet consumer (Chaturvedi, 2012). A successful internet banner advertisement for marketers is to select high traffic websites which carry the similar interests of the user (Chaturvedi, 2012). Increase in sales, brand image and product awareness will be seen as a result of a successful internet campaign. Banner advertisements that carried flashing images that interacted the consumers were seen to be most successful at capturing the users attention and remembering the campaign at a later stage (Chaturvedi, 2012). However, this initial distraction which caught the users attention when seeing the advertisement had negative effects when it came to the credibility of the advert and information or product being advertised (Chaturvedi, 2012). Pop up advertisements were seen as negative aspect of online adverting (Chaturvedi, 2012) With this in mind website hosts should also consider which advertisements they should choose to have positioned on their website as the advertisement banner could have negative impacts on the website if users find the campaign irritating or not credible. Websites that do not wish to place advertisements banners on their websites, can charge for users to list products or require membership for full access (Chaturvedi, 2012). A perfect example of this

is Craigslist, which does not allow internet banners on their website, but charges the user a fee to list products on their website (Krill, 2008). Craiglist and other websites like this decide to implement this strategy as they feel internet banners could have more of a negative effect on their brand and decrease their customer base (Krill, 2008). A possible solution to resolve the decision to apply advertisement banners or not is to ensure that advertisement banners are target to the current page and which interests the user.

Internenet Applications Email was one of the first ways of advertising via the internet. Businesses and organization used to send email offerings and promotions to online users whether they signed up to subscriptions or not (Cho, 2004). Today users of the internet have the choice if they wish to sign up to a companys subscriptions or not. Users can choose between subscribe and unsubscribe if they choose to be informed on the material (Cho, 2004). YouTube is the internets most popular online video source and the second most-visited web site on the web (Dominic, 2012). With over 4 billion hits a day on the website its massive popularity has attracted the attention of marketers (Dominic, 2012).. The online application effectively portrays advertisements via the internet by offering two types of adverts on their webpage to the viewers (Pashkevich, 2012). When you click on a video via YouTube the viewer is presented with an advert. These adverts can be skippable and non skippabble. Skippable enables the user to skip the advert and direct them back to the content they had chosen (Pashkevich, 2012). Non-skippable prevents the user from skipping the advertisement which means they have to wait for the advert to completely finish before watching their content (Pashkevich, 2012). Max Pashkevich, who works as a developer at Google, compared how effective each method of advertising was. With the skippable ad option, results proved that user happiness was met (Pashkevich, 2012) Being

able to allow the user to have control in what he/she appears to be interested in, did not effective the users experience and also increased advertising effectiveness (Pashkevich, 2012). Adverts with the non skippable feature were less effective when trying to capture the users attention. Results have indicated that YouTube skippable in-stream advertisements were the most effective (Pashkevich, 2012). Advertising via social media is another application used by advertisers as a method of reaching out to users. Social media advertising is a term used to describe a form of online advertising that utilizes social networks. Users personally share advertisements with their friends which they are interested in (Li, 2012). Facebook is the fastest growing social medium with over 900 million users (Sharp, 2012). Facebook also generates traffic of over 160 million visitors in America alone each month (Lipsman, 2012). With such large traffic generated by online users this has attracted the attention for companies and organisations to reach to use Facebook as a platform to market their products and services to their consumers. The Newsfeed is where online users of Facebook spend up to 25% of their time (Lipsman, 2012). This is the area in which Facebook has introduced branded and advertisement content. Users are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume product or brand endorsed content in the Newsfeed compared to the Fan Page. Karen Nelson -Field states that Facebook is the most cost effective way for businesses to reach out to their consumers and develop their business brand (Field, 2012). Field has also calculated that by 2015 social media will be the most dominate way of communicating on the internet which will engage nearly one third of the worlds population (Field, 2012). This would enable businesses to nearly 80% of the global consumers, which is an estimated market worth of nearly $29 trillion (Sharpe, 2012). Advertising via Facbook is conducted by businesses, organisations and individual users creating a Facebook Fan Page. Users of Facebook are then asked to click the like button on the Fan Page to then be connected to the businesses, organisations or individual

offers (Sharp, 2012). The total number of the likes connected with the Fan Page is an indication of how successful the page is (Sharp, 2012) . The value of a fan via Facebook can be regarded in three ways: increasing the depth of engagement and loyalty among fans this builds and develops your relationship with you and you customers (Sharp, 2012). Generating incremental purchase behavior by reaching out to your customers via a Facebook companies and business can inform users of their latest offers and products increasing purchasing spending (Sharp, 2012). The last value of a fan via Facebook is leveraging the ability to influence friends (Sharp, 2012). With companies being able to calculate how many users they are reaching each week, Facebook is a fantastic way to effectively optimize a business or organization presence amongst online users (Sharp, 2012) . Non buyers, these are users who never buy off the businesses, organisations and individual but have just liked their page. Light; these are users who have purchased a good or service once, Moderate two or three times and heavy buyers four or more times in a month (Field, 2012). When sporting events were being shown on television, businesses Fan Pages which were related to these sporting events increased their brand awareness and public following (Field, 2012). However users are also given power in the form of, blogging, forums and social media sites to connect to one another to discuss all about the latest products, brands and businesses (Powers, 2012). With the consumers having so much control via these applications, companies now have to ensure that what they are advertising is not going to affect their brand or company image (Powers, 2012). Advancements in technology also means that many companies which we used to buy from are now offering their services online. Companies are now having to evolve to expose their brand online (Powers, 2012). When consumers are targeted with an advertisement online, consumers respond when the advertisement has significant interest to them (Powers, 2012) . Consumers do not want to be bullied into buying a product off a company, but to feel

relaxed and feel like they are shopping on their own terms (Powers, 2012). Companies should also be communicating with shoppers both early and late into the buying process. Successful internet advertising is not just about product or brand awareness, but a relationship with you and your consumer (Powers, 2012). It is imperative that companies make advertising simple and effective when delivering their message to the consumer. Most important of all keep the consumers happy (Powers, 2012) .

Advertising Spending Advertising spending over the last five years has increased significantly. Advertising expenditure via the internet is expected to grow from $23.4 billion to $34 billion in 2014 (Hallerman, 2009). The corporations, companies individuals who contribute to this sum of money of 40% is spent via sponsored search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo. Users pay money to these search engine companies to advertise their websites on the internet. Pay per click is the way in which users advertise, this is where every time a user clicks on a link shown in a search engine, a sum of money come out of their advertising budget (Hallerman 2009). When consumers begin a search via a search engine, sponsored advertisements (pay per click) are shown. Users then click on these sponsored links and then redirected to the advertisers website. Consumers visit lower positioned advertisements for more informational related search terms (Hallerman 2009). Subsequently product endorsed advertisements were given more attention at the top of the search engine pages. However product advertisements incurred a very low conversion rate, only converging 1% of every 1000 clicks into a sale (Hallerman 2009). This is also referred to as the CPM model, (cost per thousand) which charges advertisers purely on the basis of the number of ad impressions (Lin, 2012). This also informs that being at the top of the search engines is not necessary most effective. With such

a low conversion rate of only converting 1% of every 1000% impressions to your website, using search engines as the only form of advertising to generate revenue or users to your website is not the most efficient way of building and developing your brand (Hallerman 2009). proportional to the number of consumers adopting the service Pay-per-click online advertising, has been highly publicised as the most effective way of advertising via the internet (Dellarocas, 2012). It is also the main source in which search engines such as Google and MSN rely on for the main source of their income (Dellarocas, 2012). Pay per click has become the latest craze according to research Chrysanthos Dellarocas, who is a professor at Boston University, School of Management. Before pay-perclick the main way of adverting via the internet was pay-per-impression, pricing was based on performance (Dellarocas, 2012). Advertisers would only get billed for measurable actions by the consumers. However this was seen as ineffective converging rate for the firms and businesses (Dellarocas, 2012). . Advertisers would pay a lump sum for the privilege of exposure. Pay-per-expose was a very broad way of advertising and this is why pay-per-click has been introduced. Dellarocas, has conducted research to see the benefits of pay-per-click advertising, and what the benefits are compared to its predecessor (Dellarocas, 2012). The advancements in technology have also made it easier to track the impact of advertising banners and messages. Pay-per-click enables advertisers to set a budget limit for their advertising campaign, this works in favour for the advertisers as it enables them to control their burn rate and limit their risk (Dellarocas, 2012). Dollarocas, also states the importance of potential advertisers to know exactly what audience they are marketing at to maximize the potential of their ad campaign (Dellarocas, 2012). Dollarocas suggested two ideas which he conducted research on. The first step was for the advertiser to inform search engines the budget amount over a specific amount of time. The second step was to construct a mechanism whereby advertisers

are charged only when no actions are being triggered to that advertisers ad, for example clicks and sales. This way advertising budgets can be calculated by results and not just page clicks which do not lead to a sale. This means that there is less risk attached for the advertisers (Dellarocas, 2012).. A study of 500 adverts was used to test Dollarocas two step process. Results were collected and the effectiveness of the campaigns was indicated by the sales. Payment was taken out of the advertisers account when users purchased or bought a service from their website. The results indicated that this was more beneficial to pay search engine companies to publish their advert fewer times but increase their sales (Dellarocas, 2012). Dollaracous also stated for this to work and be beneficial for the search engine companies to implement a charge if there were no sales made by the adverts (Dellarocas, 2012). Advertisements via social sites such as Facebook or Twitter are referred to as sponsored stories (Sharp, 2012). These are small advertisements that appear on the right hand side column of the Newsfeed. Businesses will allocate a budget amount and then target their required audience. With users displaying so much personal interests via Facebook, companies can select users who have interest in what products or services they are offering (Sharp, 2012) .

Advertising Effectiveness The most important aspect of internet advertising is users remembering the product or service being offered. This is also referred to as total brand recall and is defined as the recall of a brand and recognition of an advertisement (Wakolbinger, 2009). Advertising effectiveness is measured by brand recall and if the users are more likely to buy the product or service after seeing the advertisement (Wakolbinger, 2009). Internet promotions and advertisements campaigns have increased each year on the web, trying to capture the

audience attention. This has became apparent by the use of social media which has made the connection between users and businesses (Yaakop, 2013). However, the knowledge and effectiveness of this medium of advertising is somewhat limited as advertising online is a new concept (Yaakop, 2013). Gaining knowledge of the ability and functions the internet has when it come to advertising effectiveness is important to understand how efficient internet advertising is. The relationship between advertisers and consumers demonstrate the bond and connection between both parties, which will indicate how effective an advertising campaign will be (Yaakop, 2013). Internet advertising provides a direct avenue for marketers to have a direct relationship with their consumers (Yaakop, 2013). Understanding your customers and their interests is the most important aspect when launching an internet advertising campaign. With the internet providing such a direct avenue to consumers attitudes, online adverts were influenced by two major factors (Yaakop, 2013). Advertising content was a concern with the consumers and having trust in that online medium. Developing trust among online users is vitally important when trying to build a relationship (Yaakop, 2013). The other determining factor of advertising online is the environment of the campaign. Users of the internet are more likely to respond to internet campaigns with websites they are familiar with, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (Yaakop, 2013). This also refers back to the trust relationship between marketers and the users feeling more comfortable responding to an advertising campaign in a familiar environment. With so many users being associated with websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube users of these applications feel comfortable that the advertisements are not going to be of any harmful content, as the websites are well established and have gained trust with users online (Yaakop, 2013). There are also five other components that consumers were dependent on when it came to advertising effectiveness. These were: advertising utility, indignity, trust, price

perceptions and regulation (Yaakop, 2013). Internet users as a whole found that internet advertising was more trustworthy and informative and less intrusive than other medias. Users of the internet also perceived that cost of internet advertising does not have a direct increase in product prices, ensuring the consumers that internet purchasing was more expensive or less expensive than direct purchasing from stores, shops or warehouses (Yaakop, 2013). Advertising via television is still seen to perform significantly better than web advertising in grabbing the attention of the audience. However internet advertising was seen to be superior in conveying service and product information (Yaakop, 2013). Internet advertising is a fantastic way of enriching the audiences mind with information. The combination of trust worthy content, familiar environments and enriching content is the most effective way to advertise online.


RQ What are the most effective ways for organizations to advertise via the internet? Survey Objective The object of this survey is to examine what are the most successful and effective ways for organizations to use, to advertise their products or services via the internet. With so many different applications which are accessible and free for organizations to choose from, this survey will expose exactly which applications are most effective, by collecting results from focus groups. Participants In order to find out the most popular and effective applications to advertise with, I had to identify what type participants to target. According to research the most popular age group which uses the internet is 18-30 (Zickuhr, 2012). Focus groups were the only method used to collect results and were conducted at Queens University of Charlotte. The participants only requirements were that they have a registered social media account, frequent users of the internet and they fall in the age bracket from 18-30. There were six participants in each focus group and eight focus groups all together. This provided sufficient amount of results to analyze the data and gather a wide range of responses.. Participants were treated fairly and with respect. Each participant was granted the right to decline a response. Data was collected to examine what the most successful ways for organizations to advertize via the internet. A scribe was used to collect the data from the focus groups; transcriptions were shredded after data was recorded.

Focus Groups During the focus groups participants will be asked how effective is online advertising via mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and search engines. Each participant will be granted the right to decline a response. Participants will be treated fairly and with respect. This will make sure that there is an unbiased environment, where free thought and opinions will be encouraged. Through the process of the focus groups, our results were able to show how the most active internet users truly felt about online advertising and how effective they are. Questions Participants in the focus group were encouraged to express their points of view amongst each other and answer the questions as truthfully as possible. This ensured that the data collected was as accurate as possible. There were ten questions in total and all the questions were non biased or leading questions and were asking no personal information. The ten questions provided a wide range of positive and negative feedbacks, ranging from the most effective use of colors, images and content. The focus group questions enabled a greater understanding from the users perspective of what makes an affective advertisement. Analysis The data gathered was compared and contrasted on the answers given by the participants. Transcriptions were then carefully examined and placed into themes. Research Sub-Questions RQ1: Does internet applications generate new customers or profit for your business? RQ2: Does an increase in advertising spending create more sales for businesses? RQ3: Does the type of advertisement affect the success of the message?

Results Conducting focus groups were extremely beneficial in obtaining how users truly felt about internet advertisements. Having obtained participants who are frequent users of the internet, the focus groups were a perfect time for users to express and share their ideas of what makes a successful and unsuccessful advertisement. Participants were honest and shared their points of view amongst each other. The main objective of the focus group was to see if our findings answered our research question and either support or fail the sub research questions. 1. How much time roughly a day do you spend on the internet? Participants range of time spent on the internet ranged from three hours to ten hours, the mean time spent on the internet by participants was four hours. Participants all seemed to spend roughly the same amount of time on the internet. However, participants who used smart phones such as iphones or androids significantly increased their time spent on the internet. With internet now being as accessible on mobile phones as computers, participants stated that the majority of their time spent on the internet was coming from their phones.


What websites do you use the most? Participants main use of the internet was entertainment, coming from internet sites

such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Spotify and Pandora. The other remaining time was spent on websites for work such as email, Moodle (school database) and news. Participants stated that they would use websites that would involve some sort of interaction with other online users. Participants enjoyed meeting, developing friendships online and receiving some sort of feedback or attention from online users. Evenings and weekends were the most frequent times users spent on the internet, when they had more time.

Participants stated that during the week the most popular time of internet usage was between the hours five to twelve. Collecting data from 8 focus groups which had six to eight people in each one, a total of 56 participants were used for the research study. Out of the 56 participants 24 stated that Facebook was their most used website. Twitter was the next popular website with 16 participants stating it was their mostly used website. Pinterest came third with eight, four people used tumblr the most and the final four mentioned email. 3. Do these websites use online advertising? When participants were asked if these websites carried advertising, all participants agreed unanimously that the websites implemented advertising in one way or another. Every website that was used by participants carried some sort of advertising on their site; Outlook and Moodle were the only exceptions. However, participants did not seem to mind websites that implemented advertisements. As long as the advertisements did not distract participants from the content of the website, advertisements do not to have any negative effects on the users experience. However, participants associated websites that had pop up advertisements as unbeneficial and ones which may contain viruses. This form of advertisement was seen as negative way of internet advertising. Participants impressions were that websites with pop up advertisements were annoying and carried no credibility, and were usually just after your money, or information. For successful or effective internet adverting campaigns pop up advertisements should not be implemented into any advertising campaign. Partipants also mentioned that applications do not carry advertisement only internet websites. 4. What adverts capture your attention? Advertisements that caught participants attentions carried some sort of interest in one way or another. Advertisements had to be of some beneficial use to the participant in order for the online users to have some sort of interaction with that advertisement and in order for

the user to click on the advertisement. Advertisements that implemented bright bold pictures were also seen as effective by the participants as they captured the users attention. The importance of the image being used for an advertisement was also seen as being important. The image did not necessarily have to have any connection with the advertisement. Both sexes agreed that the use of sexy images were seen as effective when capturing the online users attention and this did not have to have any connection or relation to the product or service being offered. Advertisements that also used a bold frame around these pictures were also seen effective. The frame acted as another way of capturing the users attention and drawing them into the advertisement. The advertisement title was also another important aspect that captured the users attention. Advertisement titles that made the user question them self or made them think were seen as effective. Participants also stated that the title of an advertisement should be short and to the point of what the advertisement message is all about. Long titles that required too much time for the participant to invest in were seen as ineffective. Participants enjoyed quick read advertisements that delivered the information as quickly as possible


Do these adverts encourage you to spend money or sign up to their websites? Participants agreed that advertisements mainly just wanted you to be aware of what

the brand, company or business were offering or doing. From the data collected from the participants it became apparent that advertisements initial process was not to capture the users attention in trying to make them spending money, but more to make the users informed what that brand had to offer to them and what beneficial use they could offer. Participants responded to advertisements that offered free trials or chance to win something. When users click on an advertisement and pop ups appeared, participants mentioned that they lost interest in these websites immediately. These websites were generally ones that

were associated with users to encourage to sign up or spend money immediately. Participants of the focus groups did not like this method of being pushed into spending money. Participants did not mind signing up to websites that they were interested in with the service or products being offered. Participants would not sign up to websites that carried no beneficial use to their lives. 6. Are you more likely to respond to adverts of your personal interests?

Participants all agreed that advertisement that carried of personal interest were more effective. 7. How much space do you think advertising should take up on the screen? It was interesting to see that participants from a variety of groups all came up with similar answers regarding this question. The majority consensus of all the groups, was that advertisements should take no more than 20% of the users screen. Participants mentioned that advertisements that consume more than 20% of a website distracted the users from what the website was about. Websites lost their purpose when littered with advertisements. Participants also stated that advertisements should be grouped together in one place. Advertisements that were irrationally placed on a website made the aesthetic appearance of the website less appealing. Participants preferred advertisements located on the right side of the screen or at the top banner of the page. 8. Do you prefer websites without adverts? Some users did mention that they would prefer websites with no advertising; however this was not seen as the majority consensus. Participants were not bothered with websites that implemented adverts on their websites as long as it did not distract users from the content of the web page. Participants realized that with so many different websites being free, companies and business have to generate money somehow. When asked would participants prefer to have to pay a subscription or see advertisements on a webpage, all participants

agreed that they would prefer to see advertisements. However, participants did not like advertisements being used on mobile phones. With the screen being so small on their phones in some cases the advertisements were taking as much 90% of the screen. In this case participants stated that they would prefer advertisements not to be implemented on the internet when using mobile phones and would prefer to pay a small fee to download the application on their phone. 9. If adverts were not used on the web, what other means of communication would

you prefer to be contacted by? Email was the overall preferred choice of contact by participants. Participants enjoyed the option of having to open the email if they did not think it was of particular interest. Participants also stated that they were cautious of singing up to newsletters of updates as they did not want their email accounts littered with junk. Participants enjoyed having the option how many times they wished to be contacted each week. Participants did not wish to be contacted via mobile as they felt it intruded their personal life. This was in the form of texting or personal phone calls from the company trying to inform them of their latest products or services being offered. When asked how many times participants would like to be contacted via email the overall consensus was no more than once a week and preferably the same time each week on the same day. When asked about other means of communication such as flyers, newsletter or mailings. Participants felt this was an old fashioned way of informing of them of the companies brand, and did not see this as an effective way of approaching potential customers. 10. them? Participants stated similar responses to question four. Advertisements have to be of some personal relevance and use of color, title and image were seen as the most important What is it about certain advertisements that make you pay more attention to

aspects of an advertisement that captures the audience attention. Simple advertisements were also seen as being effective and the more unusual were seen to get more response from the online user. The more unusual advertisements that created a talking point amongst friends were seen as highly effective as they spread virally across the internet. Participants stated that they were more like to share an advertisement online with friends if it was unusual, clever or different.


Compiling all of the data from research, focus groups and literature ensured the study of what are the most effective ways for advertising on the internet. The internet has become increasing popular with users and the amount of time being spent online. With the likes of internet sites of YouTube which receives over 4 billion hits a day on their websites (Dominic, 2012). With so many users being online using applications, this has attracted the likes of businesses as a direct method to advertise their latest products or services. Advertising has moved away from other mediums such as television, newspapers and flyers, and is now being focused online. With such a change in the way business are trying to reach out to new potential customers and develop existing relationship, it is important to understand the change in communication between user and organizations. With this in mind understanding what are the most effective ways for organizations to advertise via the internet? is extremely important for advertising success. With internet being such a relatively new revolution, this study will inform new advertisers exactly what is effective from a consumers point of view. Understanding exactly what the consumers of the web like and dislike will enable the internet to be work more efficiently and improve the quality of communication between users and businesses. One of the most important aspects of advertising is understand when the majority of users are online. According to data collected from the focus groups, participants suggested that between the hours seven and twelve are the most popular time spent on the internet, during the week. Participants stated that their internet usage would remain constant through the weekends. For maximum effectiveness adverting campaigns should be displayed online between these hours, when the maximum numbers of users are online. This way an

advertising campaign will receive maximum exposure which is vitally important when informing users online of your latest products or services. According to Prof Gilaninia from the initial research Advertising is process which informs users about goods and services over time to encourage or persuade consumers to buy goods or services (Gilaninia, 2011). Data collected from focus groups would agree with this statement, however would like to expand on it. According to data collected it appears advertising has techniques have changed over the last couple of years. Advertisings campaigns have moved away from developing a quick sale and shifted to building and developing a relationship with the potential customer. It is this relationship with the customer that online users are looking for. Online users do not want to feel pushed or rushed into handing over their email address, bank details or personal information. By developing a relationship with customers over a period of time and not forcing users to initially the bond becomes stronger between user and organization and their relationship will last longer. This was backed up by our initial research which stated Advertising content was a concern with the consumers and having trust in that online medium. Developing trust among online users is vitally important when trying to build a relationship (Yaakop, 2013). Organizations do not want to force potential or existing customers into a sale but develop a relationship and informing the customer what exactly is in it for them. When researching what were the most effective ways of advertising, (Greenberg, 2012) stated that advertisements had to be visually effective which our findings would coincide. Greenberg also stated that the advertisement images should carry the same message as the intended service or product being offered. According to the data collected from our focus groups this was not the case. Unusual and unrelated images can be used just as effectively. As users were not attracted to advertising campaigns that they have seen before.

Participants also mentioned that sometimes they would not even read the message of the advertisement if the picture was effective sometimes. The advertising principle of sex sells which many companies and business incorporate into their marketing strategies was seen as effective amongst participants in the focus groups (Parker, 2012). Male users were more inclined to click on an advertising campaign if an aesthetically image of a woman was used as the main image. Female users similarly stated that of a male image was used. Ensuring your product or service is targeted at the right gender is another important aspect when it comes to targeting the adverting campaign. This ensured the research study that the use of image can be highly effective in the success of an advertising campaign. As stated in the initial research the most important aspect of internet advertising is users remembering the product or service being offered, this is also referred to as total brand recall (Wakolbinger, 2009). Advertising effectiveness is measured by brand recall and if the user are more likely to buy the product or service after seeing the advertisement (Wakolbinger, 2009). Implementing these strategies of use of color, title and image are the most important aspects when ensuring total brand recall. Advertisements titles on sites such as social media sites had to be short and brief when trying to capture the attention of the user. The title of an advertisement is one of the most important aspects when trying to capture the audiences attention. Fewer words grabbed the attention, which indicated the purpose of the advertisement to the user. Users appeared to be more engaged of the purpose of the site rather than the advertisements. For the most effective advertisements should engage as little time as possible from the user. This means the title of the advert should be no longer than a short sentence and one that provokes some sort of reaction. This could be a title that involves asking the user a question or makes them think. Advertising campaigns that also offered incentives for the users such as free trials or the

chance to win something were also highly likely to capture the users attention. Titles should be thought provoking and stimulate the user in some way. However, as focus groups were conducted at a Queens University with college students ranging from the ages of 18- 25, this is a narrow focus so might not be the same results when conducted with an older age category. This is regarding to suggestions regarding free trails capturing their attention. Spacing, colour, shape, depth, spatial frequency and complexity are all vital components for an effective also which our findings agreed with (Greenberg, 2012).The combination of these six and all necessary components when determining the success of an advertising campaign. However, websites that carried pop ups, which may of implemented some of these aspects and which offered a chance to win something or a free trial; users were automatically put off as users felt they lost all credibility. Participants felt strongly about this and associated websites with pop-ups with virus websites or ones that could potentially harm their computer. Participants would not revisit websites which implemented pop-ups and stated that they would try and avoid them as much as possible. Pop-up advertisements should not be implemented into advertising campaigns to maximize the success of that campaign. One of the most talked about forms of adverting was on site YouTube as it receives so much attention from online users with over 4 billion hits ever day to the site (Dominic, 2012).. According to our initial research, the online application effectively portrays advertisements via the internet by offering two types of adverts on their webpage to the viewers (Pashkevich, 2012). Non-skippable prevents the user from skipping the advertisement which means they have to wait for the advert to completely finish before watching their content (Pashkevich, 2012). Data collected from the focus groups agreed with the initial research that the skippable ad option, proved that user happiness was met which allowed the user being able to

have control in what he/she appears to be interested in (Pashkevich, 2012). When participants were engaging in sites such as watching content on YouTube, participants all said that skippable ad option was preferred compared to non skippable . Adverts with the non skippable feature were less effective when trying to capture the users attention. Participants also stated that if they were interested in the product or service being advertised, they would watch the entire duration of the advert. For the most effective ad campaign on YouTube, users should not feel forced into having to watch a campaign. Users of these free sites will pay attention to adverts that have interest to them. Advertising campaigns should implement the option for users to have the option to skip advertisements for optimum success of the campaign. Making online users have to listen to a campaign, could push them further away from the message. Advertising campaigns should let users embrace the message if interested. Results have indicated that YouTube skippable in-stream advertisements were the most effective. Participants also mentioned that adverts that were repeatedly shown on the likes of YouTube had positive and negative effects on the user. Participants found that adverts became extremely annoying and frustrating when an advertisements were repeated over a couple of weeks on non skippable adverts. However, users also expressed that this method of advertisements was also effective at capturing the audience attention by ingraining the message repeatedly into the users head. This was not seen as enjoyable experience for the user, as they became irritated. However the use of constant repetition of a message ensured the user of what the advertisement was saying. Users also mentioned that a variety of advertisements carrying the same message could also be just as effective. This way, users would not get bored of the advertisement campaign and still pay attention to the message.

According to initial research Greenburg who conducted research into where users vision were drawn to, enabled advertisers locate the best possible positions for advertisements. Greenburg stated that advertisements that were shown on the top and right hand side margin of the computer screen were most effective (Greenburg, 2012). Data collected from the focus groups coincided with this initial data. Participants also stated that they preferred advertisements which were located on the right hand side or as a banner located on the top bar. Users vision was automatically targeted towards the top and right sides of a page (Greenburg, 2012). Adverts on the left side were less effective, Twitter was the only website that advertised on the left hand side and is website that has recently introduced advertising. Advertisements that were located together were also seen as more effective, as users would know where to look every time if they wanted to find a sponsored story. Users also preferred advertisements located together, as the aesthetic look of the website was cleaner. Advertisements that were scattered over the web page appeared to make the website look messy and untidy. The aesthetic look and appearance of a website is vitally important when capturing the users attention initially. Advertisements should be implemented on the right and top side of websites and grouped together for the most effective technique to advertise on the internet. Understanding your customers and their interests is the most important aspect when launching an internet advertising campaign (Yaakop, 2013). Advertisements that carried similar interests with the user were seen as the most effective, as the user is actually interested in that service or product being offered. These were seen on websites such as Facebook and Google as they use your search history to build up a data base of your interests. Businesses build fan pages on Facebook and then reach out to users to like their page if they have an interest in their brand or image.

Once users follow the Fan Page businesses can then stay connected with that individual and inform them of their latest products or services. Working in the same way users subscribe to a company email newsletters. This way, users can be connected with what the companies and business they want to be associated with and find of interest. Group members ruled in favor as using social media as an effective way to keep updated with the latest offers as the products and services were of common interest. This would be an advised method of advertising, as you can reach out to those users and target your brands who are interested in your service or product by their past search terms and interests. This method is more advanced and does not rely down to luck or chance. Advertising campaigns via social media specifically targets the users who are already interested in similar products or services which you may be offering. Such advertisements would appear in the newsfeed of social networking sites such as Facebook, where up to 25% of users spend their time (Lipsman, 2012). According to initial research as well, users are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume product or brand endorsed content in the Newsfeed (Lipsman, 2012). Participants also found advertisements that introduced sound or a person speaking was highly effective and engaging from the start. This was seen as an unusual method of advertising and not common amongst websites, which was unusual as participants found this method of advertisement effective. This method of advertising should be used more often as participants from the focus group stated that they liked this personable touch of hearing a voice informing them of the message. However, this could be seen as a costly way of advertising which could require more software and coding to implement into a website in order for users to benefit from. The space consumed by an advertisement on the users computer screen was also another important factor when analyzing how effective the proportion of space was between advertisements and website content. According to data collected from the focus groups,

websites should not implement more than 20% of the screen to advertisements. This is for the benefit of the users experience on the website, which ensures they are not distracted from the actual content. Irrationally placed and overcrowded advertisements will push users away from that site as it will lose its meaning and be distracting. Grouping the advertisements together in one place, which does not consume more than 20% of the screen, would be recommended. A couple of participants also mentioned that they would prefer no advertisements what so ever. However, the majority of users were not affected with websites that used advertisements as they appreciate that they are providing a service which is free and the business needs to generate money somehow. When asked what other forms of communication would participants be preferred to be contacted by the majority preferred email. However, participants expressed their concern and feelings by how often companies took advantage of email users with the latest products or services. This constant emailing of users actually pushed users away from the company or products or services being offered. Participants stated that they would often unsubscribe to newsletters if companies emailed them multiple times a day. Daily emails were seen as unnecessary. Participants expressed strong feelings that once a week was more than enough to be update with information. Email was also seen as another preference of being contacted as the method does not waste or consume any paper. Participants were just concerned by how many times they were going to be contacted when signing up to newsletters or updates. Participants stated that they were being emailed by companies such as Amazon and Groupon up to ten times a day. Participants would ignore, delete or move emails to junk if companies abused the relationship and pestered the users. By looking at the results conducted from the focus groups and to prevent users from being pushed away from future email sign ups, ensuring the user has the control of how many times they wished to be contacted is vitally important.

Consumers should be given the choice how many times they wished to be emailed with the latest products or service being offered by that company. Offering an option of one, two or three email offerings a week would be suggested for future advertising campaigns. The focus groups were effective and great method for collecting research on this study. One point to mention was that there was a tendency for our focus groups to lean a certain way depending how the first participants responded to the initial question. However this is not uncommon that participants side one way to fit in with the majority of the group. When participants are surrounded by other members, sometimes there can be a tendency to keep quiet and not express your thoughts as you do not want to go against the group norm or effect anyone elses opinions. With so many users spending the majority of their time on only a small percentage of websites available to the online users such as Facebook which has over 900 million users (Sharp, 2012). Participants felt more comfortable with advertisements on sites they were more familiar with. This feeling of comfort is important when trying pursade your potential customer to respond on the advertisement. According to Professor Field from social media by 2015 will be the most dominate way of communicating on the internet which will engage nearly one third of the worlds population (Field, 2012). This would enable businesses to nearly 80% of the global consumers, which is an estimated market worth of nearly $29 trillion (Sharpe, 2012). Social media sites which are the most popular among users such as Facebook and Twitter have developed such large audiences and which users feel comfortable with businesses and companies reaching out to them. Advertising on these applications such as these would be suggested for the most effective ways for organizations to advertise via the internet. From the data collected from the participants and to ensure advertising effectiveness, there are four crucial categories which future campaigns must have or include in their

campaigns. Increasing sales of the service or product is the most important aspect of any campaign and is the ultimate goal. The advertising campaign is initially costing you money so it is important to see a return on the original investment. Creating and maintaining brand image is vitally important when delivering your message to your potential customers. The advertisement does not want to harm or have an effect of what your company stands for just to try and gain another sale. The title, image and message should all connect with what the brand and identity of the business stands for. Communicating is the next step which should be implemented for the success of an advertising campaign. Ensuring the appropriate amount of communication between your customers is vital to developing your relationship with them. Taking advantage of consumers details such as their email information and littering their inbox with the latest offers will in push your customers away from your company and the brand. Ensuring the customers have the option of how many times they are wished to be contacted is essential for developing that relationship. With so many businesses advertising online, users online find that advertisements that are unusual are more effective. Advertisements that carry the same sort of images, titles, products or services seem to be less effective than campaigns that make are more extravagant which might cause some controversy. Advertisements that go viral across the internet, implement new ideas which try and cause a reactions from users online. Companies and businesses which implement these strategies have a greater potential to reach out to a larger audience. It is the advertisements that do not cross any boarder, stick to the rules and do not make people think which do not get shared amongst friends online via social media sites. Users of social media sites like advertisements that are different, out there and which make people talk.

These advertisements do not even have to be selling a product or service, but just to make people aware of that particular brand of business. Implementing content which could potentially cause controversy and get people to talk could be used, to enhance an adverting campaign success. However, this could also potentially harm of effect your business brand if consumes take a disliking to the particular image or title being used for the advertisement. Controversial advertisements should implement and target your customers sense of humor and not carry any offensive or negative messages. Implementing these three principles via the means of a social media network would give the best possible chance to a successful adverting campaign. As stated in the initial research the first step would be to inform the search engines with an allocated budget. This is also known as PPC advertising, otherwise known as pay per click advertising (Dellarocas, 2012). Recommended search engines for PPC advertising would be Google or Yahoo. Advertisements via social sites such as Facebook or Twitter are also referred to as sponsored stories (Sharp, 2012). Using social media as the main application to reach out to your potential customers is the most effective as you can target your audience to the age, sex and particular interests. As stated earlier from the initial data gathered from the focus groups, the most important aspect of any adverting campaign is to target potential customers who are have common interest in your product or service being offered. Receiving feedback from the focus groups was wonderful for the development of the research as it is always good to collect thoughts from the users of which these advertisements are targeted at.

Conclusion The study of what are the most effective ways for organizations to advertise via the internet is vitally important in the enhancement of communication between organizations and users online. Using this data collected from the focus groups and research gathered, will provide future techniques which should be implemented in future advertising campaigns. This will benefit communication techniques between organizations and users online to portray their message as successfully as possible to potential online customers. This is vitally important at advertising online is a relatively new concept. With businesses and companies allocating budgets dedicated to advertising online it is important to know exactly what users online are looking for when it comes to an online advertisement. Listening to participants from the focus groups that spend on average 4 hours a day on the internet was a fantastic way of discovering of what users of the internet really thought about online advertisements. When campaigns were implemented using social media as the main application of advertising, and the use of effective spacing, image, and titles; new customers were generated for businesses. This data answers our first research question, however if these methods were not used, participants stated that they would feel comfortable clicking or visiting advertisements with sites they were not familiar with. Advertising on the most popular applications is recommended to generate new customers or profit for your businesses. To answer the second research question, increasing advertising spending does not have a direct correlation that creates more sales for that organization or businesses. If strategies are not implemented as stated above then maximum success will not be obtained no matter how large the allocated budget is. It is vitally important that these strategies of spacing, image, title and advertising via social media applications are used to engage customers effectively.

To answer the final research question, the message of the advertisement is vitally important as this will engage the user after they click on the advert. However, the initial aspect of the advertisements which captures the online users is essential. The users have to be captured by the advertisement initially; otherwise the content of the advertisement will never be read by the user. The message should be trying to develop a relationship with the consumer. Messages that try and force the consumer into handing over their personal information such as credit card number, email or phone number will only push the consumers further away. The advertisement should inform the consumer exactly what that brand stands for and what the product or service does, and how it can benefit them. The consumer should be in control of whether he/she should purchase, download or sign up to the product or service being offered and not forced.

Limitations of the Study When conducting any type of research study there will always be limitations which were unexpected or not thought of at the time. In the case of this research study Capturing Your Attention there are limitations which may of hindered our investigation. The questions in the focus groups were well thought out to bring the best responses from the participants in the focus groups, however questions six was found to be a repetitive. Question six are you more likely to respond to adverts of your personal interests? was to familiar to question four what adverts capture your attention. Participants response to the question was to familiar and this only wasted time and did not benefit the research. Question ten also carried the same familiar responses what is it about certain advertisements that make you pay more attention to them? Focus groups were also conducted at Queens University of Charlotte and the age of the participants ranged from 18-25. Participants stated that advertisements that Advertising offered incentives for the users such as free trials or the chance to win something were also highly likely to capture the users attention. As the research was conducted at a University of students this would have to be recorded as a limitation. With the age gap being only seven years and all of the participants being students this would have to be recorded as a narrow focus to our results and findings. Results may have differed when conducted with an older age category. This is regarding to advertisements which implemented the words free trails or chance to win something in capturing the online users attention. A further limitation is regarding the applications which advertisements are being implemented on. Social networking sites have only existed in our society for the last couple of years. With the internet expanding so quickly and always reinventing itself, advertising on sites such as Facebook or Twitter may not be advised if a competitor comes into the market which generates exponential growth. However, until this time comes into our society results

collected in this research should be implemented for the most effective way for organizations to advertise via the internet.

Suggestions for Future Research For future research regarding what are the most effective ways for organizations to advertise via the internet questions that really provoke the participants thoughts and feeling about online advertisements would be advised. As this is where all the results are collected it is vitally important to ask participants questions that are relevant to the time in which the research is being conducted. Questions that ask the participants about the possibility of venturing into other mediums such as mobile advertising would be a suggestion for future research. With the increase and demand of smart phones with in our society and with the internet being so accessible, conducting research to see what are the most effective way to advertise via mobile phones would be advised. Questions should also be indicated at what are the popular sites at the time. Currently Facebook was the preferred medium to advertise by according to our research and results. However, as the internet is constantly changing and new applications are coming into our lives, future research should be aware of up and coming applications and websites that may be popular at that time. Questions which are intended to ask the participants to collect the results should bare this in mind.

Informed Consent
Capturing Your Attention
Project Title and Purpose: You are invited to participate in a research study entitled Capturing Your Attention This is a study to examine how students react to online advertising via the internet. Investigator(s): This study is being conducted by a Communication Capstone student at Queens University of Charlotte as part of a class project under the direction of Dr. Daina Nathaniel in the Knight School of Communication. The researcher will be Christopher Baker. Description of Participation: In this study you will be asked to be a part of a focus group along with 6-8 of your peers. You will be asked to answer questions as honestly as possible. Length of Participation Your participation in this project will take approximately 20 minutes. Risks and Benefits of Participation: There are no risks known at this time associated with participating in the study. However, there may be risks which are currently unforeseeable. Confidentiality of thoughts and opinions expressed in a group setting cannot be guaranteed. The only benefit of participation in this study is the knowledge you will gain about the topic being investigated. You will receive a complete description of the study when you are finished participating. The results of the study will only be used for this class project.

Volunteer Statement You are a volunteer. The decision to participate in this study is completely up to you. If you decide to be in the study, you may stop at any time. You may skip any item you do not wish to answer. You will not be treated any differently if you decide not to participate or if you stop once you have started. Confidentiality: An audio device will be used to collect the results from the focus groups and all data will be permanently deleted aft the results have been recorded. Confidentiality of thoughts and

opinions expressed in a group setting cannot be guaranteed. Audio recordings will be deleted. Transcripts of the focus group discussions will contain de-identified data.

Fair Treatment and Respect: Queens University of Charlotte wants to make sure that you are treated in a fair and respectful manner. Contact the Universitys Institutional review Board (Dr. Daina Nathaniel at 704.688.2743) if you have any questions about how you are treated as a study participant. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Dr. Daina Nathaniel at 704-6882743. Participant Consent: I have read the information in this consent form. I have had the chance to ask questions about this study, and those questions have been answered to my satisfaction. I am at least 18 years of age, am an emancipated minor*, or my guardian has signed below, and I agree to participate in this research project. I understand that I will receive a copy of this form after it has been signed by me and the researcher.

________________________ Participant Name (PLEASE PRINT)

_____________________________ Participant Signature

_____________ DATE

______________________________________ Researcher Signature

_____________________ DATE

*Emancipated Minor (as defined by NC General Statute 7B-101.14) is a person who has not yet reached their 18th birthday and meets at least one of the following criteria: 1) has legally terminated custodial rights of his/her parents and been declared emancipated by a court; 2) is married, or 3) is serving in the armed forces of the United States.

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