Academic journal article Management Dynamics

Predictors of Consumer Attitudes towards SMS Advertising

Academic journal article Management Dynamics

Predictors of Consumer Attitudes towards SMS Advertising

Article excerpt


South Africans spend more time on their mobile devices than they do watching television and listening to the radio (Shamala, 2013). The spending on mobile advertising in South Africa had grown to R189 million in 2012, and it is expected to increase even more to R938 million by 2017 (Wilson, 2013). According to Beneke, Cumming, Stevens and Versfeld (2010), SouthAfrican consumers are inundated with mass media advertising that is estimated to occupy 70 per cent of a typical consumer's day. It is estimated that consumers are exposed to between 850 and 3 000 television advertisements every year (SAARF, 2012). The high frequency with which consumers are exposed to advertisements limits the effectiveness of all forms of advertising.

Against this backdrop, it is important for marketers to develop creative means to communicate with consumers, especially given that the proliferation of media has led marketing to extend into a digital media culture (Jordaan and Ehlers, 2009: 26). The advertising clutter that has become commonplace in traditional mass media has directed a lot of advertising towards less cluttered mediums, such as Short Message Service (SMS) advertisements. Because of the low cost in most countries of sending text messages to recipients, SMS communication has become an alternative to traditional mail or telephone messages. Sending text messages thus allows the relay of marketing messages to a large number of people, both quickly and cost-effectively (Beneke et al., 2010:78).

Despite the strong growth in mobile advertising expenditure in South Africa, little local research has been done on this topic. Most of the studies on mobile advertising have been conducted in other countries (Yang, Kim andYoo, 2013; Gao, Rohm, Sultan and Huang, 2012; Varnali, Yilmaz and Toker, 2012; Riquelme, Rios and Enezi, 2011; Wei, Xiaoming and Pan, 2010). Because of the cultural differences in the adoption of technology, the findings of these international studies may not be relevant to South African consumers. A few researchers in South Africa have devoted their attention to developing and testing models of consumers' attitudes towards SMS advertising (Beneke et al., 2010; Radder, Pietersen, Wang and Han, 2010; Van der Waldt, Rebello and Brown, 2009). However, these studies have several limitations that the current study attempts to address. For example, these studies focused mainly on young consumers between the ages of 16 and 25. Beneke et al. (2010: 78) concede that "there is an apparent lack of empirical evidence in academic literature concerning the effectiveness of mobile advertising and the factors contributing to its success". According to these authors, despite the exponential growth in mobile advertising, South African consumers are becoming increasingly cynical about mobile advertising.

The study by Beneke et al. (2010) investigated eight predictors of consumers' attitudes towards mobiletext-message advertisements among South African youth. Although the current study will partially replicate the study by Beneke et al. (2010), it also includes two additional unexplored predictors: the perceived incentives, and the perceptions regarding location-based advertising that have attracted research attention over the years (Gao et al., 2012; Riquelme et al., 2011: 1-15; Unal, Ercis and Keser, 2011: 361-377). These unexplored predictors appear to be important and worthy of further investigation, because the previous international studies have shown strong relationships between these predictors and consumers' attitudes towards SMS advertising (Gao et al., 2012; Riquelme et al., 2011; Unal et al., 2011; Weietal.,2010).

Apart from including the two additional predictors, this study also focuses on investigating these predictors of consumers' attitudes towards SMS advertising among adult South African consumers, rather than among youths. By focusing on adult consumers, this study attempts to close a gap in previous research. …

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