A comparison between social media and print advertisements: Generation Y students’ perceptions
Saraiva, Marcelle Fernanda
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In a highly competitive marketplace, advertising is essential for business success. This is because advertising creates awareness of a business’s product or service and conveys important business information which influences the consumers’ purchase decision making. The value of advertising is influence by factors such as the informativeness, entertainment, irritation and credibility of the advertisement. The marketer is tasked to ensure that the most appropriate advertising media for the particular target audience are used, since it influences the success of the advertisement. In South Africa, businesses spend an average of 45 billion South African rand per annum on advertising across various advertising media and sponsorships. Although there is a shift towards advertising on social media, print media remains as a frequently used traditional advertising media in South Africa. Generation Y consumers, who are individuals born between 1986 and 2005, represent 35 percent of the total South African population. These individuals actively seek information prior to making purchase decisions or trusting a business, product, or service. This information is obtained from different digital and traditional advertising media. Regardless of the advertising media, this cohort is interested in advertising messages that are honest, ethical, humorous and include timely and relevant information. Most Generation Y consumers pursuing a higher education qualification have a higher future earning potential and once these individuals enter the work force after obtaining a qualification, they are likely to have more disposable income, which makes them a target population of interest. The importance of advertising for business success and the flood of advertisements to consumers on a daily basis, coupled with Generation Y consumers’ need to search for information prior to decision making and their higher future earnings potential, emphasise the need to determine this cohort’s perceived value of advertisements on the different advertising media. As such, the purpose of this study was to determine the influence of informativeness, irritation, entertainment and credibility on Generation Y students’ perceived value of print and social media advertisements and to compare their perceptions of social media advertisements with print media advertisements. For this study, the target population consist of Generation Y students registered at the 26 South African registered public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). From the sampling frame, a non-probability judgment sample of two HEI campuses situated in Gauteng was selected. Of these, one was a traditional university and the other a university of technology. Subsequently, a single cross-sectional non-probability convenience sampling technique was used to select 500 participants aged between 18 and 24 years. Self-administered, structured questionnaires were used to gather the necessary data and were distributed using the mall-intercept method. The students’ perceptions were recorded on a six-point Likert-type scale that comprised 23 items concerning advertising value of print and social media. In addition, each questionnaire included a section aimed at gathering the participants’ demographic information as well as information on their print and social media usage behaviour. The data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (IBM SPSS) and included confirmatory factor analysis, descriptive statistical analysis, correlation analysis, collinearity diagnostics, regression analysis and a paired samples t-test. The findings of this study indicate that Generation Y students have different perceptions about the advertising value of print and social media, with social media advertisements being perceived as most valuable. Furthermore, the findings indicate that social media advertisements are more entertaining than print media. However, print media advertisements are perceived as being more credible than social media advertisements and also less irritating. The findings also suggest that advertisements on both media are informative, with social media advertisements being slightly more informative than print media advertisements. Insights gained from this study will assist marketers and business owners to understand Generation Y consumers’ perceived value of print media and social media advertisements, as well as how informativeness, irritation, entertainment and credibility influence the perceived value of advertisements on these media. By understanding these findings, marketers and business owners can choose the most appropriate advertising media when targeting these consumers and can develop appropriate advertisements that will be valuable to this target audience.