This study identifies a new type of advertising, sponsored ad forwarding, in microblog contexts. It tests the effectiveness of designs of a message with an ad with regard to receivers who are purely online friends or offline friends.
In the main experiment, a three-by-two experimental design was employed. By random assignment, message senders forwarded an ad with either an other-oriented or a self-oriented message to a group of offline friends or purely online friends. In the control group, there was no message accompanying the ad. The data of 218 effective sender-receiver dyads were collected and compared.
The results show that a message with an other-oriented appeal is more effective than one with a self-oriented appeal for dyads with an offline relationship, and a message with a self-oriented appeal is more effective than one with an other-oriented appeal for dyads with a purely online relationship. Overall, the use of appeals significantly boosts ad effectiveness.
This study identifies a new type of marketing practice in social media, namely sponsored ad forwarding. It also proposes appeal orientation as a novel type of message content design. It shows how to apply the right appeal orientation to the right receiver groups, that is, offline or purely online friends.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant #71531006 and the Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning.
Gu, C., Xu, Y.C. and Yao, M. (2020), "Effect of appeal orientation in sponsored ad forwarding on a microblog platform", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-06-2019-0251Download as .RIS
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