Effectiveness in Terms of Promotion, Communication and Relationship Marketing
Fotini Patsioura, Maro Vlachopoulou
Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia, 156 Egnatia Str., 540 06 Thessaloniki, Greece
Eleonora-Ioulia Malama
Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia, 156 Egnatia Str., 540 06 Thessaloniki, Greece
Keywords: WebSite Advertising, effectiveness, promotion, relationship marketing.
Abstract: Academic research regarding advertising websites effectiveness and evaluation has been focused on two
areas: defining factors that produce or affect advertising “effects” and providing guidance on their
development and optimisation based on usability and functionality issues. This paper proposes and presents
a conceptual framework of criteria for measuring the overall effectiveness of corporate advertising web sites
supporting the idea of being used as a complete tool of promotion and relationship marketing, incorporating
several approaches of previous related advertising effectiveness models. Primary research was conducted
with the participation of 160 undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Applied Informatics
Department. The importance of each criterion towards specific advertising effectiveness indicators and
advertising effects was evaluate.
Bogart’s (1998) question whether advertising “is an
art, a science or a business? Or is it all three?
remains diachronic and encompasses all significant
different approaches of advertising research
regarding measurement of advertising effectiveness.
So far, effectiveness measures in advertising have
been an amalgam and application of psychological
experiments, marketing research, empirical and
qualitative surveys, and actual advertising practices
(Wells, 1997). In traditional advertising, academics
tried to define effectiveness by identifying which
factors affect the emotions, attitudes and behaviour
of consumers and determining their contribution to
“advertising effects” (Gresham & Shimp; 1985;
Zeitlin & Westwood, 1986; Mackenzie et al, 1989;
Edell & Burke, 1987; Cook & Kover, 1997;
Vakratsas & Ambler, 1999; Mehta, 2000).
In case of Internet Advertising, Novak &
Hoffman (1997) report the lack of standardization
for effectiveness measurements due to the
complexity of the medium and the difficulties in
“capturing” and understanding consumer response to
web advertisements. Focusing on corporate
advertising web sites (which is considered to be the
key format of Internet Advertising), there also seems
to be no evident agreement on what to measure and
how to measure it, which arises questions on their
capability to effectively reach the audience and
communicate the company’s advertising message
(Vranica, 2001; Chen & Wells, 1999).
The first attempts to evaluate web site as an
advertising medium were significantly affected by
academic research in traditional advertising. Specific
indicators of advertising effects and evaluation
criteria used to traditional advertising media were
“borrowed” and applied to measures of web site
advertising effectiveness (Pavlou & Stewart, 2000).
Although useful, this approach is inadequate to
produce complete measures as it fails to take under
consideration the unique characteristics of the
medium (such as interactivity, unlimited time and
space to communicate messages, navigability) and
the active role of consumers during their visit at a
corporate advertising web site (Hoffman & Novak,
1996; Hwang &MacMillan, 2003).
The need for differentiation led to the
identification and study of new quality factors and
Patsioura F., Vlachopoulou M. and Malama E. (2007).
CORPORATE ADVERTISING WEB SITES - Effectiveness in Terms of Promotion, Communication and Relationship Marketing.
In Proceedings of the Second International Conference on e-Business, pages 301-306
DOI: 10.5220/0002108303010306
processes closely related to the capabilities of this
new form of advertising. Chen & Wells (1999)
based on the intermediate advertising effect of
“attitude toward the ad” (Mackenzie et al, 1986),
introduced “attitude toward the site” as an indicator
of web site advertising effectiveness and studied
three factors as its main contributors:
informativeness, entertainment and organisation.
Dahlen et al (2003a, 2003b) proposed time and
activity spent on advertising web sites as significant
indicators of effectiveness based on their positive
correlation to brand attitude. A lot of attention was
also given to “interactivity” as it is an important
structural factor of this form of advertising which
affects the exposure of the audience to the
advertising content and its attitude toward the site
and the brand (Ghose & Dou, 1998; Coyle &
Thorson, 2001;Liu & Shrum, 2002 Macias, 2003).
The questions raised are whether corporate
advertising web sites are more than promotional
content carriers. Do they also work as integrated
relationship marketing tools? If that is the case then
effectiveness for this form of advertising is much
more than fulfilling advertising objectives and goals.
So far, based on academic literature, existing
effectiveness models do not incorporate or examine
qualitative factors related to relationship marketing
such as communication, feedback and customer
support policies in terms of advertising
effectiveness. In addition, the majority of the
effectiveness models were based on the isolation and
analysis of variables strictly related to advertising
objectives, such as content and message strategy.
The aim of this paper, based on a thorough analysis
of the approaches adopted by the existing
effectiveness models, is to present a new conceptual
framework that includes existing and new criteria to
measure the overall effectiveness of Corporate
Advertising Websites in terms of advertising and
relationship marketing.
The proposed model does not support the idea of
isolating one, two or at the most three variables, in
order to examine thoroughly their contribution to
specific advertising “effects”. The main concept was
to develop a conceptual framework of criteria to
evaluate the overall performance of a corporate
advertising web site towards the multiple advertising
and marketing objectives of their establishment.
More specifically, the proposed model is grounded
on the following acknowledgments:
corporate advertising web sites should fulfil
general and specific advertising objectives such
as providing information and building images for
companies and their brands
the majority of advertising websites incorporate
activities and processes of relationship marketing
that affect consumers’ attitude toward the site
and the brand
special characteristics of the medium such as,
navigation, design, and interactivity contribute to
the communication of promotional content and
determine the overall performance of the
advertising web sites towards their multiple
Effectiveness criteria
Intermediate & Primary Advertising Effects
Advertising Content
Advertising Message
Customer Support
Design / Aesthetics
pol icy
Med i u m
Marketing Policy
Attitude toward the site
Brand Attitude
Revisiting Intention
“Word of Mouth” intention
Brand Purchase
Overall Opinion
Effects on Brand
Figure 1: The main Concept of the Proposed Framework.
ICE-B 2007 - International Conference on e-Business
Therefore, the conceptual framework includes
several integrated criteria to evaluate the
effectiveness of corporate advertising web sites
towards specific objectives of advertising and
relationship marketing strategies, taking into account
the unique characteristics of the Internet as the
medium that supports their operation (figure 1).
The validity and importance of each criterion
were examined in relation to their contribution to
creating or influencing intermediate and primary
communication effects for advertising. Intermediate
effects refer to reactions and actions that represent a
positive or negative response to the advertising web
site such as: “attitude toward the site” (Chen &
Wells, 1999) which was measured in terms of
“revisiting intention”, “word of mouth intention”
and “overall opinion of the site”. Primary
communication effects include “brand attitude” and
“Brand Purchase Intention” (Percy & Rossiter,
1997). Each criterion was analysed to features,
dimensions and functions, which define their
concept, in order to better understand consumers’
behaviour during their visit and determine their way
of evaluating the site’s performance toward each
criterion (table 1).
Two web sites were chosen for the study as
representatives of the two main categories of
corporate website advertising (table 2). A total of
160 undergraduate and graduate students with the
department of Applied Informatics of University of
Macedonia participated in the survey.
Table 1: Analysis of the Criteria.
Criterion Definition
Related Features &
Advertising Policy
Products’ Information
Products’ Overall Presentation
the capability to promote products, services & the company with
the use of information and media
Company’s Information
Brand communication Policy
Consistency with Adv
Campaigns in traditional media
Message Quality
the capability to communicate and enhance the advertising
message of company’s promotion strategy
Message Characteristics
Relationship Marketing Policy
Communication Information
the capability to operate as a communication channel between
consumers and the company
Communication Methods
Marketing Research Methods
the capability to collect information regarding the consumers’
needs, preferences, attitudes and behaviour within the site
Visitors’ Complaining Ability
Pre-sale services
After-Sale services
Customer Support the capability to provide services to facilitate visit and purchase
Problem Solving Policy
Medium Characteristics
the capability to present in an ease and attractive way the
information provided
Information Structure
Response Times
Navigation the capability to facilitate information search and gathering
Search Facilities
One-to-one communication
Interactivity the capability to combine interactive functions to enhance
communication, joyfulness and personalisation of content
Control of Information
CORPORATE ADVERTISING WEB SITES Effectiveness in Terms of Promotion, Communication and Relationship
Participants were divided in groups of four and were
randomly assigned to browse for at least five
minutes one of the two sites (80 participants review
site A and 80 participants review site B). After their
brief exposure to the specific site, participants were
asked to fill in the same questionnaire containing 37
questions. The participants were supervised in order
to ensure that each subject completed the survey at
the indicated time and way, and handed in a
qualified questionnaire.
Table 2: The Websites.
Site A Site B
Greek Multinational
Site Type
Brand Web Site
Corporate Web
Chocolate products
High Technology
Product type
low-involvement high-involvement
Communication /
Message Strategy
transformational informational
Main Objective
to “Entertain” to “Inform”
Descriptive Statistics and Correspondence Factorial
Analysis (AFC) (Papadimitiou et al, 1998,
Papadimitriou & Koutsoupias, 2000, Markos,
Menexes & Papadimitiou, 2006, Papadimitriou,
2006) were used for the questionnaires’ statistical
analysis. The method of AFC allows the analytical
description of data tables of large dimensions that
correspond to qualitative variables. In addition it
represents effectively the differences and
correspondences of the qualitative factors in
question. In order to define the level of importance
of contribution for each qualitative factor of the
proposed framework COR and CTR (Relative and
Absolute Contribution) indices were used that
reproduced factorial axes and first factorial planes
(formed by the two first factorial axes). More
specifically, the AFC was applied to 7 selected Burt
Tables (Generalised Contingency Tables) in order to
examine specific factors of the proposed model in
isolation, but also towards to the advertising effects
variables (overall opinion, revisiting intention,
purchase intention etc) in order to detect and
interpret relationships among the criteria and
advertising effects of the proposed model.
The extended questionnaires’ statistical analysis
allowed the quantification of the qualitative factors
in question and produced a great amount of data,
which could not be presented explicitly. Therefore,
the main conclusions based on the data analysis are
The outcomes revealed significant dimensions of
the participants’ behaviour based on their actions,
activities and preferences during their visit. General
assumptions were drawn in relation to specific
qualitative factors of the proposed models
(Descriptive Statistics):
participants show a significant interest in
gathering information about the products and the
ease of navigation is always of great
aesthetics is also of great significance and
consistency of design with advertisements in
traditional media creates a familiarity which was
welcomed by the majority of the participants
real-time communication is a requirement for
participants who reviewed site B, while
entertainment is a requirement for participants
that reviewed site A
communication with the company through the
site is not an option unless specific reasons call
for it or limited time and effort is required
the majority of the participants are willing to
participate in surveys conducted through the web
it seems that participants are more willing to
complain than make positive comments about the
site or the products and the company
pre-sale services like problem solving policies,
information gathering and search are more
important to the participants than after-sale
services such as return policy
The application of the AFC method provided a
graphical representation of the main
correspondences and differences of the variables
examined. Specifically, it is evident from the results
of AFC application that participants’ requirements
and beliefs should not be studied independently to
the website’s communication and message strategy,
which is mainly formed by the product category. It
is also clear that different factors such as, advertising
content, communication, feedback, customer
support, interactivity and aesthetics affect differently
the participants that reviewed different sites.
More specifically, regarding the contribution of
the qualitative factors included in the proposed
conceptual framework, results show that:
advetising content and marketing relationship
qualitative factors influence significantly
“attitude toward the ad” and “word of mouth
ICE-B 2007 - International Conference on e-Business
intention” but contribute differently with
reference to the two types of advertising websites
dimensions of interactivity such as
entertainment and online communication
contribute to “attitude toward the site” and
“revisiting intention” but differently to different
communication and feedback contribute the
least to effectiveness indicators of web site
advertising but only because they are considered
to be implicit processes by the participants
navigation & aesthetics contribute to “attitude
toward the site”
Concerning the intermediate and primary
advertising effects:
there is a positive relationship among
intermediate effects. Participants that reacted
positively to the site stated that they will revisit
the site in the future and will inform their friends
about their experience. Also it should be noted
that not all participants, who formed a negative
“attitude toward the site”, stated that they will
not revisit the site and will not talk to their
friends about their experience
there is a positive relationship between “attitude
toward the site” and “brand attitude”.
Participants with positive “attitude toward the
site” stated that their experience influenced their
overall attitude toward the products’ company
there is no strong relationship between “attitude
toward the site” and “brand purchase intention”
In the aggregate, the results provide a general
insight on the participants’ behaviour and identify
how it is differentiated between the two main
website advertising types. It is clear that the
proposed model applies differently to different types
of corporate advertising websites.
Despite the different definitions of advertising
effectiveness (Cook & Kover, 1997), it is a common
statement that effectiveness is about fulfilling
advertising goals. However, corporate advertising
web sites are established not only to communicate
advertising content, but also to meet specific
relationship marketing objectives such as
communication, feedback processes and customer
service policies. The proposed conceptual model
suggests that quality factors related to relationship
marketing contribute to the effectiveness of
corporate advertising web site. Primary research
results advocate that advertising and relationship
marketing factors are both contributors to
intermediate advertising effects. In addition their
contribution could be strongly influenced by the
consumers’ requirements and needs. Also, they
differ in contribution and significance across
different types of corporate advertising web sites.
Because effectiveness of website advertising is a
complex and multidimensional concept, future
research should focus on determining the features
and functions that enhance their overall performance
beyond strict advertising theory.
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