The value of implicit measures for internet advertising : evidence of mere exposure effects and their impact on consumer preference for pop-ups and banner ads : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Cognitive and neuropsychological research points to evidence that "repeated, unreinforced exposure to a stimulus is sufficient to enhance one's attitude toward that stimulus", referred to as the mere exposure effect. The main purpose of this study is to bring to attention sources of mere exposure effects data that, while rarely cited within the advertising literature, are highly relevant to questions of online advertising effectiveness. This study further sought to 1) investigate whether if pop-ups would be better recognised than banner ads, and 2) whether if pop-ups would be rated more favourably (due to the mere exposure effect) than banner ads (less liked due to devaluation-by-inhibition). The experiment was a 2 (Group A, Group B) x2 (Advert Type: Banner Ads, Pop-ups) x2 (Whether Seen: Seen, Not Seen) design. Twenty participants were instructed to read twelve articles on the screen, where each reading trial was presented with a banner ad located in the peripheral display of the full-screen article, and a pop-up that was sequentially displayed at the centre of the screen which would be instructed to click away. A total of 48 adverts (i.e., previously seen and not-seen pop-ups and banner ads) were then rated on each of the five affective dimensions (i.e., familiarity, eye-catching, appealing, memorable, and distinctive); followed by a recognition question as to indicate whether participants had seen the advert whilst reading the articles. As predicted, mere exposure effects occurred for all previously exposed adverts, but no difference in recognition was found between the advert types or any significant differences in the magnitude of favourability for the previously seen pop-ups and banner ads. These findings suggest that the magnitude to which favourability would be related to varying lengths of exposure durations presented with pop-ups and banner ads (i.e., brief vs. longer presentation times), and/or the level of attention guided towards pop-ups and banner ads (i.e., central, had to be clicked away vs. peripheral, could be ignored), was not supported. Practical implications and suggestions for future research regarding potential applicability of mere exposure theory in an Internet setting will be discussed.