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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background and Motivation With the Internet fast becoming the dominant means of communications and commerce in the 21st century, it recently plays the main role in changing human beings’ environment, life styles throughout the world and also impact on global economic system. Globalization has forever changed the world in which we live – a world that has become increasingly connected. The Internet is perhaps the most prominent tool that has facilitated this interconnectedness. The information technology innovation has been developed rapidly.

Internet network has shortened the communication distance and connected the dimension of time and places together accordingly, which is considered as another important change of the world’s information technology history. A plenty of studies indicate an increasing stage in social network usage (Goldsborough, 2009). While teenagers were mainly considered the first group users of social networks, a growing population of 25 to 34-year-olds and most of white-collar professionals now also use them (Kim, 2008).

Social networking websites have expanded rapidly over the last few years and have created new and varied channels to communicate via internet whether through PC or mobile phones. Many people are now members of social networking websites such as Facebook, Hi5, Youtube and so on. Cooke and Buckley (2008) predicted the Internet would be the marketing tactics of the future. With technology advances and the growth of digital media usage (Cheong and Morrison, 2008), advertisers are seeking new ways to reach consumers. Advertisers spent over $2 billion on social media advertising in 2009; predictions indicate that they may be spending almost $3. billion by 2013 (eMarketer, 2009). Each participant brings his/her own virtual character and personality to the joint web community. (The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Kaplan A, Haenlein M. 2009). The mentioned websites above provide valuable ways for people to share their interests, activities, get connected with your friends and even stay in touch across the globe. People are able to interact with social networking website in many methods such as blogs, directories, links and videos. However, the major types of social networking websites are those which contain directories of some categories.

Facebook, Hi5, Youtube and Twitter which respond to different activities are prominent instances of popular social network sites. Both profit and non-profit organizations are able to use social networking websites as an advertising tool to promote their products and services. For instance, Burger King applied marketing communication via social networking websites by launching marketing promotion on Facebook. Facebook users could exchange ten accounts of friends for a whopper coupon. This promotion of Burger King attracted many social networking users to join this interesting campaign (“Famous brands with Facebook,” 2009).

Putting ads in front of Facebook users is like hanging out at a party and interrupting conversations to hawk merchandise. (Newsweek, October 10, 2008). Advertising is the essence of Facebook’s business. (Time Magazine, July 24, 2008). Social media is especially important because consumers interact with these platforms differently than traditional media. Social media encompass an inherent shift of informational power from the advertiser to the consumer, in which consumers decide which content to ignore and which to pass along to others in their network.

Many consider this sharing of online content as powerful as word of mouth marketing. Moreover, other analysts point out, that users of social networking website tend to spend a lot of time on those sites, providing an attractive platform for advertisers to promote their brands, especially if preferences are tracked. (Advertise on Twitter? Meredith L, 2009). In summary, online social networks are here to stay and will continue to gain traction and offer users more interactivity than other media. Advertisers are going to need to take some responsible risks in the new channel. Frank Gruber, 2006). However, they encounter the severe risk that members will feel exploited if the sites suddenly appear overrunning with ads (Mesure and Griggs, 2007). A 2008 report by IDC found that 43% of social network users never clicked on ads (eMarketer, 2009) Online advertising is widely used by companies and advertisers to promote their products and services (Kaye and Medoff, 2001). As social networking sites have a high potential for advertising to users, users’ attitudes toward advertising should be considered in order to design content for appropriate on-line advertisements.

Consumers’ beliefs and attitudes toward advertising are important indicators of advertising effectiveness (Mehta, 2000). Participation in social networking sites (SNS) is growing, with 63. 1 % of Taiwanese maintaining their own social networking profiles and engaging with various forms of social media. According to the statistics on checkfacebook. com (2011), Facebook has more than nine million members in Taiwan. Although social networking sites are so popular in Taiwan there are few studies about the users’ attitudes toward social networking advertisement.

The aims of this study are to investigate the attitudes of internet users towards advertising on social networking websites through qualitative research and analyze how do social networking websites users in Taichung view on-line advertisements. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The aim of this study focuses on the following research questions. 1. What are the overall attitudes of social networking sites users towards advertisement? 2. How do social networking sites users in Taichung view advertisements in term of informativeness, usefulness, entertainment value, reliability and product value? 3.

What factors affect the overall attitudes of social networking sites users in Taichung towards advertisement? OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The purposes of this study are as following: 1. To investigate and find out the overall attitude of social networking sites users towards advertisement. 2. To investigate and find out how social networking sites users view advertisements in term of informativeness, usefulness, entertainment value, reliability and product value. 3. To analyze and identify factors affecting the overall attitudes of social networking sites users towards advertisements. DEFINATIONS OF TERMS

Social networking sites users – refer to Taichung People who access at least one social networking site as following: Facebook – at first was launched to support Harvard alumni network only. This model is different from other sites that open their system without limitation. Facebook expanded rapidly and allows anyone to be a user. The most outstanding feature of Facebook is the ability to build application by outside developers. Hi5 – provides general social networking services such as a list of friends, sharing blogs, pictures and songs. It’s popular across the world especially in Asia.

Youtube – is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos. Unregistered users can watch the videos, while registered users are allowed to upload and unlimited number of videos. It is the most popular social networking sites in term of video content. Twitter – is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read message on text-based posts of up to 140 characters. Social network advertisement – refers to direct and indirect advertising placed on social network sites. For direct advertisement, it can crate like ads on traditional websites or target users directly.

And, indirectly advertisement focuses on innovative marketing technique in which companies creates pages or groups and allow users to join. The various ads are used in a way that resembles on offline among the most popular types of ads are the following: banner ads, pop-ups windows, and video clips. Banner Ads – are the most popular ads on the web. There are two types of banners, Non-enhanced banners and Enhanced banner. With non-enhanced banners, when the users click on a banner, another screen will appear. With enhanced banners, all of the information appears on the banner and the user never leaves it.

Enhanced banners promote consumer involvement by allowing them to type information on some sites they can e-mail a friend. Pop-up Windows – The idea behind a pop-up is that it doesn’t get in the way of the content on the page. Double exposure pop-ups are another kind of pop-up that reappear after five seconds. It is easy for the users to close them. Video clips – are short clips of videos, they are usually parts of a longer piece. Video clips in digital format are often found on the internet. Most contents of video clip are news and sporting events, historical videos, music videos and film trailers. SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The research focuses on social networks sites users in Taichung City. This study centers merely on factors that have been mentioned in previous similar studies which are informativeness, usefulness, entertainment value, reliability and product value. The social networking sites selected for this study are Facebook, Hi5, Youtube and Twitter as they attract more than 50% of all social networking site users nowadays. SINIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The result of this study will be useful for product and service owners who have ads or wish to place ads on social networking sites, and for advertisers who prepare ads on social networking sites.

ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY This study will be divided into five chapters. The first chapter includes eight parts: background, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, definitions of terms, scope of the study, significance of the study and a conceptual framwork. The second chapter covers a review of the literature and previous relevant studies while the third chapter covers the research methodology regarding the subjects of the study, materials or the instruments used in this study for data collection, the procedures to collect the information and data analysis.

The fourth chapter presents the results of the study and the last chapter consists of conclusion and a discussion of the study, followed by further research recommendations. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Attitude of internet users in Taichung toward online advertising on social networking websites Overall attitudes of social networking websites users toward advertisement Online Advertisements in the view of social networking websites users in Taichung in terms of: * Informativeness * Usefulness * Entertainment Value * Reliability * Product Value

Factors that affect the overall attitudes of social networking websites users in Taichung REFERENCES Atthasith and Sugree (2009), “Famous Brand with Facebook”, http://www. positioningmag. com/magazine/printnews. aspx? id=78349 (accessed on 14. 05. 2011) Cheong, H. ; Morrison, M. (2008), Consumers’ Reliance on Product Information and Recommendations Found in UGC. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 8(2), 1-29. Cooke, M. and Buckley, N. (2008), Web 2. 0, social networks and the future of market research. International Journal of Market Research, 50(2), 267-292. eMarketer (2009). Online Social Network Advertising Spending Worldwide, 2008-2013 (billions and % change). ” www. emarketer. com. (accessed on 14. 05. 2011) Frank Gruber (2006). ”Advertising on social network” http://www. imediaconnection. com/content/10585. asp (accessed on 14. 05. 2011) Goldsborough, R. (2009), what to expect with personal technology. Teacher Librarian, 36(4), 64-64. Kaplan, Andreas and Haenlein, Michael (2009), the challenges and opportunities of Social Media Kaye, B. K. , and N. J. Medoff (2001), Just a Click Away: Advertising on the Internet, USA: Pearson Education Company.

Kim, S. (2008), A Framework for Advertising in the Digital Age. Journal of Advertising Research, 310-313. Mesure, Susie and Ian Griggs (2007), “The Facebook Betrayal-Users Revolt over Advertising Sell-Out,” The Independent on Sunday, November 18. Mehta, A. (2000), Advertising attitudes and advertising effectiveness. Journal of Advertising Research, 40, 67–72 Meredith, Leslie. (2009). “Advertise on Twitter? “ http://social-networking-websites-review. toptenreviews. com/advertise-on-twitter- . html (accessed on 14. 05. 2011)

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