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Cross promotion of web references in print ads: Are advertisers attempting to engage consumers?

Elzbieta Lepkowska-White (Department of Management and Business, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA)
Amy Parsons (Department of Business and Management, King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA)
Aylin Ceylan (Nielson Holdings, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

ISSN: 2040-7122

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




This paper aims to examine whether advertisers attempt to engage consumers with online information presented in print advertisements by investigating whether they respond to consumers’ motives for using advertisements and whether these engagement practices have improved over time. By creating connections among different advertising channels, marketers strive to be more effective in building brand equity, online traffic and sales.


The Uses and Gratification theory is utilized as the framework to content analyze the content and presentation of web references in 2,613 advertisements from 2008 and 2,159 advertisements from 2012. Chi-square analysis is used to compare the content of web references in both time periods.


Even though past literature suggests that consumers use media and advertising to satisfy a variety of informational, personal identity, social and entertainment needs, advertisers respond with mostly ineffective and generic informational web references that fail to address those needs.

Research limitations/implications

The study suggests that advertisers may have difficulty adopting the new advertising paradigm which identifies customers as active respondents of advertising. Web references analyzed in this study do not address consumers’ motives for advertisement use.

Practical implications

Advertisers have not been effectively utilizing cross-promotion when it comes to directing traffic from print advertisements to Web sites. More attention and resources should be given to cross-promotion to ensure effective coordination between media types.


This study questions advertisers’ current approach toward cross-promotion. Findings help advertisers evaluate and develop better practices to encourage consumer engagement with web references placed in print advertisements to drive traffic to online stores.



The authors would like to thank Laura Kirschner for helping them with data analysis.


Lepkowska-White, E., Parsons, A. and Ceylan, A. (2014), "Cross promotion of web references in print ads: Are advertisers attempting to engage consumers?", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 309-326.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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