The fast-growing of internet users, the significance of online consumers and market in UK lead the marketers to be seriously concerned on consumers thoughts, feelings and responses toward online advertisements through different types and formats. Although social media ads with its different types and formats support organisations to attract more consumers increasing their sales and profits, these may have impact on business operations negatively in some cases. As a result, social media advertisings with its different types and formats have been important issues to the marketers to assess impact of these toward brand equity and loyalty.
The aims of this study is to evaluate the impact of social media ads types and formats toward consumers’ attitudes, and assess the relationship between demographics and these attitudes to company brands. The objectives of this study are: a) to rank social media ads on each factor of perceived value, liking, attendance and clicking frequency; b) to compare social media direct marketing advertising with social branding advertisings based on each factor of perceived value; c) to compare attendance and clicking frequency of social media ads of new items with online ads of bought items; d) to find out the difference in attitudes toward social media ads between men and women; and recommend the marketers and academia drawing the practical attention toward social media advertisings.
The undertaking of research work has gained a number of benefits. It has developed researcher understanding on how to undertake a successful research work applying appropriate research methods and methodologies. In addition, the research findings have summarised recommendation for the marketers and advertisers on how they can improve their online marketing strategies during the campaigns to attract more consumers and increase sales revenue and profit margin. Besides, the conducted research work has provide guidelines for the researchers who would further study on this topic and research findings.
The undertaking research study has included different methodologies. The researcher has followed a positivism position as a research paradigm. As research approach, the research work has followed the deductive technique. The purpose of the research was analytical and exploratory. As the research strategy, the researcher has applied a survey method on online users in the UK. The research work was based on quantities data come from secondary sources and primary sources of the survey.
The research has followed a sampling technique to conduct the survey. The sample size was 80 respondents recruited under the quota sampling technique. A survey questionnaire has been created for this sample size to provide them for their response with answer of the questions. The questionnaire was submitted through an online survey website. For analysing the collected data in the undertaking research, the researcher has used different statistical tools including Excel Sheets and SSP to present data through charts, graphs, table, etc. Then, the findings data have been compared and contrast in different statistical forms. Finally, the findings have been summarised focusing on research objectives and research questions.
The key findings of this research study are consumers in UK perceive social network ads, as positive ways. In addition, social media branding ads are more popular than social media direct marketing to all categories of consumers. Moreover, online consumers are more responsive toward branding ads of bought items in compare with brandings ads of new items. Furthermore, the research has revealed that there are some relationship between demographic factors and consumers attitudes toward particular social media ads types and formats. Women, older ages and higher educated consumers tend to spend more time on internet with positive attitudes toward social media ads. Finally, the research study has provided some recommendations for both advertisers to improve their marketing strategies and campaigns, and academia for further study on this research topic and findings.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
This chapter has introduced the undertaking research work. At first, the chapter has focused on the research background, where the researcher first discussed the importance of studying this particular research. Consequently, the researcher has first discussed the importance of social media marketing in improving brand loyalty. In addition, the researcher has discussed the effectiveness of social media on brand loyalty in the customer point of view. Then, the researcher has discussed the research background which has led the researcher to conduct the research study in the context of International Hotel Group (IHG). In the second part, the chapter has discussed the research problems and the possible way of sorting out the issues. In the third part, the researcher has discussed the research rationale. In the fourth part, the researcher has defined the research aims and objectives, and the research questions. Finally, the researcher has summarised the chapter.
Social media marketing is a very new era in the marketing sector of an organization. As opined by Tasci and Knutson (2013), the marketing of various products and services of an organization to the customers through the help of several social networks (including Facebook, Twitter, Linked, etc) is known as social media marketing. The selling of goods and services through social media marketing is not only to the customers but also to other business organizations. Marketing means the selling of products and goods which are required by a different types of customers. Previously, marketing of goods and services used to depend on traditional advertisements such as through newspaper, television, radio or wall painting, etc (Visram, 2012). Thus, the key aim of social media marketing is to reach to the buyer easily. There are both creative and technical aspects related to social media marketing which includes design, development, advertisement and sale of the services (Ihg.com, 2015).
Brand loyalty refers to the customer’s commitment to companies’ brands and makes repeat purchases over time. Brand loyalty is a result of consumer behavior and is affected by a person’s preferences. Loyal customers will consistently purchase products from their preferred brands, regardless of convenience or price. Companies will often use different marketing strategies to cultivate loyal customers, be it is through loyalty programs (Kotler et al., 2014).
Hospitality business is a sector which mainly focuses on customer satisfaction by meeting their leisurely needs and expectations rather than basic ones. The hospitality business attracts tourists or rich customers having leisure time so that they use these services and spend their disposable income. The hospitality business which includes mainly hotels and restaurants survive on these disposable incomes of their customers (Tasci and Knutson, 2013). According to Kotler et al. (2014), there is a strong relationship between social media marketing and companies’ brand loyalty, mainly in the hospitability industry. However, many organisations including International Hotel Group (IHG) have vague idea about the effectiveness of social media marketing on brand loyalty. Thus, it has been a significant issue for the hospitability including International Hotel Group (IHG) to evaluate the effectiveness of social media marketing on brand loyalty. Therefore, this study has critically evaluate the effectiveness of social media marketing on company’s brand loyalty.
1.1 Research Background
International Hotel Group (IHG) is a global hotel company whose goal is to create Great Hotels Guest Love. It focuses on the biggest markets where our scale really counts ensures that we concentrate our resources on the opportunities that will provide the greatest return. Its strategic priorities are a) Improving the performance of our brands; b) Using our insight to make our brands the first choice for guests; c) Delivering consistent customer experiences; d) Generating excellent returns from our hotels; e) Improving hotel revenue by encouraging guest visits; f) Improving the efficiency of our hotels and operating processes; g) Putting our market scale and knowledge to good use; h) Using our worldwide scale and experience to convert more hotels to our brands; i) Making the most of our global presence – guests choose brands they know when they travel; j) Strengthening our organization; k) Investing in our people and our ability to do business; l) Building strong partnerships within our own company and with our owners across the world (IHG, 2015).
Social media marketing has been playing an important role in the achievement of IHG’s organisational goals and increasing brand loyalty. However, in the challenging and competitive market environment IHG has vague idea about effectiveness of this marketing strategy in its improved brand loyalty and business growth. As a result, it has been a major issue for the IHG to conduct a study on the effectiveness of social marketing on the brand loyalty of IHG (IHG, 2015).
1.3 Research Problem
Although most of the marketers do not have enough understanding and knowledge on customer attitudes towards social marketing, there has been a noticeable growth of social media advertising in different forms. According to Jupiter (2013), the substantial commercial growth of social media advertising has resulted in about £1603 million revenue, and projected growth to nearly £27.9 million by 2012. The spending amount on social media advertising has been estimated about £1429 million in the first quarter of 2012 (Cyberatlas 2013), with an around 76% increased on social media advertising spending in world top twenty five industries in first quarter of 2013. In addition, most of the online business firms strongly believe that the social media advertising and online business will generate a significant amount of sales in future (Thorton, 2013). Furthermore, the adoption of social media advertising in business has quite steep in compare with conventional mediums in recent years. Therefore, many marketers including IHG expect investment in social media advertising will provide huge business opportunity in future.
As a result, the study here has focused on the customer reactions to social media advertising to quantify online customer judgment towards IHG brand loyalty. This measurement will be conducted by overestimating and underestimating the visitors and exposures number. These methods will support the researcher to make sure of the meaning behind the outcome. Along with the growth of social media advertising, the study will make guidelines on how to best reach as well as persuade the customer markets through social media, and these assumptions will be based on how customers react to social media advertising in compare with conventional advertising. Finally, the study will provide available knowledge and understanding on how customers judge social media advertising and which elements increase the organizations’ brand loyalty.
1.4 Research Rationale
1.3.1 What is the research issue?
Gaining an improved brand loyalty through increased c customer attraction and achieving their satisfaction are the key issues for any organisations to be successful in their business operation (Bolton et al., 2012). To meet these particular objectives marketers have been applying different marketing strategies through traditional and online advertising. In the technological advancement, the popularity of online marketing mainly social media marketing have been increasing nowadays toward both consumers and marketers. In consequence, IHG is giving extra concentration on social media marketing along with traditional marketing approaches to increase its brand loyalty………….
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