PERCEPTION OF INTERNET USERS ON DATA-DRIVEN ADVERTISING AMONGST UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The internet over the years has developed due to the growth in technology like laptop, telephone, computer, etc. and this has made it possible to target advertising accurately to specific consumers and to use consumer information to tailor the content of advertisements to suit the changing need of consumers.
Internet Advertising Bureau (2012) defined Advertising as a form of communication used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to take or continue to take some action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common.
Data Driven Advertising for internet users is the simplified resource on how their data is used to serve advertisements to their web browsers either as pop ups or by other means, where that data comes from, and how it moves through the ecosystem has been a serious issue of consideration by many computer/internet users and various researches has been carried out on this subject matter. Briggs, Rex, Nigel (1997) stated that some quarters have advocated that making use of consumer’s data helps them reach their goals, and consumers get the most from their online experiences and more profit is generated to the advertiser.
This newly found targeting ability is made possible due to immense amount of user generated data that flows through the internet, especially social networks and the sheer amount of people using these platforms per time. According to social media week.Org, it was discovered that as at January 2014 about 74% of all internet users use social networks.
Many questions go through the minds of internet users on why he/she is seeing the advertisement even though he has not given a command that could warrant that to the computer. Internet users also wonder on how the advertisers know what they like, thereby leaving them thinking on. Targeted advertising happens for good reasons in most case, some online advertisers have explained how data is used to make the web more relevant to its users and it will also be for mutual benefit (Gonzales, 2013)
When a consumer visits a web site, the pages they visit, the amount of time they view each page, the links they click on, the searches they make and the things that they interact with, allow sites to collect that data, and other factors, create a 'profile' that links to that visitor's web browser. As a result, site publishers can use this data to create defined audience segments based on visitors who have similar profiles. When these visitors return to a specific site or a network of sites using the same web browser, those profiles can be used to allow advertisers to position their online ads to those visitors who exhibit a greater level of interest and intent for the products and services being offered.
Lester (2013) explains that advertisers may also deliver adverts based on a user's suspected geography through geo-targeting. A user's IP address communicates some geographic information (at minimum, the user's country or general region). The geographic information from an IP can be supplemented and refined with other proxies or information to narrow the range of possible locations. For example, with mobile devices, advertisers can sometimes use a phone's GPS receiver or the location of nearby mobile towers. Cookies and other persistent data on a user's machine may provide help narrowing a user's location further.
Good as all these are, there is an adverse effect to serving users advertisement based on what data can be gathered. The problems will be discussed more explicitly in the statement of problem.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In recent years, the internet appears to have become an integral part of our human existence. This research therefore, intends to test the perception of students on data driven advertising in relations to how it affects invasion of privacy.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE SYUDY
This study aims at analyzing the perception of internet users of data driven advertising in Babcock University and University of Lagos with the following objectives:
1. To investigate the level of awareness about data driven advertising by Babcock University and University of Lagos students.
2. To examine Babcock University and University of Lagos students' perception of invasion of privacy reinforced by data driven advertising.
3. To determine Babcock University and University of Lagos students’ attitude towards unsolicited mails and adverts that are sent to their Yahoo mail and Facebook.
4.To test Babcock University and University of Lagos students’ level of knowledge of data driven advertising.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. To what extent are Babcock University and University of Lagos students’ aware of data driven advertisement?
2. To what extent is Babcock University and University of Lagos students' perception of invasion of privacy reinforced by data driven advertising?
3. What is the attitude of Babcock University and University of Lagos students’ when unsolicited mails and adverts are sent to them?
4. To what extent are Babcock University and University of Lagos students’ knowledgeable about data driven advertising?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will serve as a pointer to finding out the perception of internet users on data driven advertising and also to find out the feeling of Babcock university students and University of Lagos students on their privacy if it is being invaded. The result of this study will be used to enlighten and educate internet users on the issues associated with the use of data driven advertising.
This research will also be of vital importance to website publishers, advertisers and advertising bodies such as Association of Advertising Agency of Nigeria (AAAN) and other bodies who engage in online advertisement to enlighten them on how internet users perceive what is being sent to them.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to students’ in Babcock University and University of Lagos to test their perception about data driven advertisement in order to determine if these students’ feel their privacy is being invaded on. In order to achieve this, a structured questionnaire will be administered to the students’.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
In the course of this study, the following terms relating to the subject-matter will frequently be used:
Perception: The positive/negative disposition to unsolicited advertisement on the internet.
Internet users: They are 100 Level – 400 Level students’ of Babcock University and University of Lagos.
Data driven advertising: This is when advertisements are tailored to you on your internet platform through the use of your personal data.
Phishing: This is a form of tricking someone thereby sending mails that are identical to that of a known brand owner.
Filter Bubble: This is when two different people search for something on the internet and get different result based on their browsing history, geographical area, likes etc.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND REVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE
This section will consist of two major sections which are theoretical framework and the review of relevant literature. The theoretical framework will consist of theories that will validate the research work. The review of relevant literature will consist of issues that has been discussed on the research topic by historians and scholars.
2.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The following are outlines of theories that may predict internet users’ attitudes toward data-driven advertisement, commercial spam e-mail and pop-ups that are unsolicited for.
1. Theories of User Perception – Attitude, Belief and Avoidance
2. Theory of Perceived Advertising Interference
2.1.1 THEORIES OF USER PERCEPTION – ATTITUDE, BELIEF AND AVOIDANCE
An individual's perception of an object may be independent of the object itself. Researchers in Web based data driven advertising have employed user-centered approach to investigating issues related to user perception. Macias (2003) defined interactivity as having dimensions of range (number of possibilities for action at any given time"), machine interactions ("features which allowed the individual to interact with the Web site"), connectedness ("hypertext links") and reciprocal/recursive communication ("email, chat rooms, comment forms"), and measured consumer's perceived interactivity as a Web site's interactivity. Macias opined that interactivity have a positive influence on consumer's comprehension of and attitudes toward Web advertising. However, Macias did not provide further discussion on how these two measures; the interactivity defined by researchers and the one perceived by consumers are different.
Friestad (1994) is of the opinion that an individual's perception of data driven adverts effectiveness does not always coincide with objective effectiveness of the messages as defined by marketers or researchers. Studies on demographic and psychological profiles of users and shoppers on the Web further suggest that differences in an individual's use and perception of the Web as a tool would result in different online behaviors (Stellin 2001).
Relevance of the theory
This theory is relevant to this research work because it shows the perception (attitude, avoidance and belief) of the internet users towards unsolicited mails. Every individual has the right to think and take action. This theory studies the attitude, belief, and choice of internet users towards unsolicited mails and pop-ups..