Advertising as a profession and a field of study explains the reason why it cannot be underestimated. However, advertising in the 21st century has gone beyond making use of the traditional sources of the media to create awareness about product services, goods and ideas to prospective consumers. The advent of the new media has solidified the relevance of the internet in advertising. This research exercise examined online advertising and consumers’ perception on purchase decision of Smartphones. The study examined the general level of exposure which consumers had towards online advertising. The attention, awareness and perception level of consumers towards Smartphone brands advertised online was being checked as well. The relevance of Gibson’s theory of direct perception and the AIDA model was used in backing up the study.
In this study, the descriptive survey research design was adopted making use of the quantitative research method to accurately establish the relationships between the variables considered in the study. Residents of Lagos State from Agege and Ikeja Local Government Areaswere the accessible population for this study. The multi-stage sampling technique was used because more than one sampling method was combined in order to arrive at a finite representative sample size for the study. Validated questionnaires were distributed and data was being gathered, analysed and interpreted making use of frequency counts, mean, standard deviation, tables and charts.
This study adopted five objectives and three hypotheses. Eight hundred and sixteen (816) copies of the questionnaire were administered. Majority of the attendants were females and young individuals. It was deduced from this study that pricing, features, brand preferences, social Influence as important factors which contribute to the purchase decision of Smartphones being advertised online. The study also revealed that majority of the respondents pay less attention to online advertisements but are attracted to the graphic quality of advertised contents on social media which is also a form of online advertising. Overall, the study found out that the new media is capable of influencing consumer’s choice of purchasing Smartphones being advertised online. This research work made it evident that it becomes mandatory for and strategic for Smartphone manufacturers, vendors and marketers to adopt online advertising through social media.
It was concluded that Smartphone manufacturers, vendors and marketers need to identify online platforms that would enhance user interactivity with the potential for consumer online Smartphone advertisement customized exposure. This study proffered recommendations to Smartphone manufacturers, marketers, and vendors about the appropriate utilization of online advertising for Smartphones; with a view to improving the contents of online adverts of Smartphones as well as making use of the best platform for new media advertising to boost the purchase of Smartphones.
Keywords: Online Advertising, Awareness, Smartphone, Perception, Purchase Decision.
1.1 Background to the Study
The practice of advertising creates a positive and maximum potential for any manufactured product to be seen as an existing brand being made known to the general public otherwise, such a product will not sell. Advertising is capable of drawing the attention of customers to any kind of product, service and brand and this is done by making use of the media sources to persuade potential consumers or customers to buy the advertised product.
Advertising informs potential customers of an advertised product and it spells out the functions and features of the product. Good advertising is necessary as it creates a demand for the product which is being advertised. Advertising may even create a brand identity for a product or series of products as well as creating an image surrounding a product, so that customers feel that they need it. Advertising can promote a new product and increase sales of existing products. The entire function of advertising is a determinant factor in developing the perception of diverse consumers either in appositive light or in a negative about an advertised product and this in turn determines the final purchase action or purchase decision made by consumers.
Advertising is a non-personal form of communication usually paid for, designed to be persuasive about products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through various media (Belch & Belch, 2004; Dzisah & Ocloo, 2013; Nwankwo, Aboh, Obi, Agu, & Sydney, 2013). According to Balakrishnan & Kumar (2011), advertisements are designed to appeal to different types of audience for the purpose of information dissemination about products and services so as to bring about positive consumer perception and purchase decision. It helps to deliver carefully prepared messages to target audiences thus facilitating marketing programs of the products and services of organizations (Zipporah & Mberia, 2014). The practice of advertising is very important as it helps in building a reputable and positive image about a brand or service in the sight of heterogeneous consumers. Advertising uses various sources of the media in reaching out to the target audience which advertising messages are being designed for. The professional practice of advertising is extended towards the radio, television, newspapers and magazines. Other sources of advertising include public speaking, door hangers and flyers, event sponsorship and word-of-mouth advertising.
Online advertising is the application of internet capabilities to the process of carefully packaging non-personal communication messages to specific audience in order to engender positive perception and purchase decision of products and services (Tavor, 2011). Online advertising ensures wider coverage because it has a very wide interconnection of individuals, businesses and organizations with huge processing capabilities overcoming geographical boundaries (Ducoffe, 1996). Tavor (2011) observes that the Internet has become a major source of information and has to some extent replaced old media such as the radio, television and the newspaper; this has occurred because the Internet gives the advantage of access to current information and mass dissemination of information. These factors according to Tavor (2011) have jointly contributed to ensuring that over 700 million people world-wide use the internet daily for important activities such as information search and product/service purchase.