The effect of personality traits on users’ attitudes to online advertising

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Μπαλάσκας, Στέφανος
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The subject of this dissertation is the study of the effect of personality traits on the attitude of users towards online advertising. Utilizing and analyzing personality traits and examine possible correlations between these traits and their influence on consumers’ buying behavior is of great importance not only in research studies but also in commercial implementations as it allows businesses to set up and run sophisticated and strategic campaign designs in the field of digital marketing. The dissertation starts with a historical review of the world of advertising and more specifically in its newest form, the one we call digital advertising. We study concepts such as banner blindness, visual attention and cognitive factors that influence the recognition ability of consumers. Then, we analyze the existing lexical theories for the development and application of personality traits, focusing on the most popular and well-established models, the Big Five and the HEXACO model, but also how these frameworks have been applied in modern research. Next, we focus on eye tracking technology, the methods used to analyze visual behavior and how we can extract results and make the connection between visual and cognitive consumer behavior. After the initial theoretical sections, follow the procedure and processes undertaken for conducting the experiment, constructing the online store, designing and placing the ads. Collected data from the personality questionnaire and the two experiment questionnaires (pre and post test), are presented using descriptive statistics and data collected from the eye-tracking are analyzed using visual behavior assessment metrics. Hypothesis testing started with forming a set of hypotheses based on the related literature review and the research field we attempted to study. More specifically, we formed research questions to examine the relationship between HEXACO and age, gender, educational background, in addition we studied the banner blindness phenomenon, but also the recognition factors that influenced the users’ ability to recall ads. In order to get an overview of the consumer behaviors of the sample, we examined their consuming needs and finally, utilizing the eye tracking data, we attempted to draw some conclusions about the fixation counts and visit durations on areas of interests. The results showed that personality traits and especially Honesty-Humility can prove to be a predictive force for some important issues in recognition and recall ability in consumers’ visual behavioral patterns and general attitude. In addition, we confirmed banner blindness based on relevance and more specifically in cases of irrelevant ads. We found statistically significant results in the relationship between the Pop Up Promo and expert users with 88.0 % of expert's users having recalled it correctly (p-value=0.034). The results indicate strong correlation in eye fixations and the types of banners (p-value=0.001), in the product (p-value=0.004), in the content (p-value=0.001), but also in whether users can recognize the advertisement (p-value=0.002) while there was a high percentage of users that didn’t fixate at all. Finally, we discuss the limitations of our research and how a future research could follow.
HEXACO, Human-computer Interaction, Eye-tracking