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The article by Brettel, Reich, Gavilanes, and Flatten is a summary of a 2015 study that sought to analyze and discuss the factors behind the advertising success on Facebook and other online social networks. The study used field data from one of the Germany top-ten eCommerce retailers. The analysis of the data utilized direct aggression approach to calculate the compound advertising effect for each of the stimulus that was studied. The stimuli that were studied included “likes”, page views, stream, and comments on Facebook. The findings of the study indicated that advertising on Facebook had an influence on the sales of a company. Among the stimuli, ‘likes’ had a long-term positive impact on sales.
The authors point out that online social networks have revolutionized the way advertising is undertaken, yet very few studies have been published to understand the reason behind the success of social platforms, especially Facebook. Of great interest is how various stimuli on social networks influence advertising outcomes. Some of the stimuli on social media include the “likes”, page views, stream, and comments on Facebook among others on other. This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the above research by providing insights such as how the study was undertaken, the language construction, assumptions, and the presentation of the findings.
Assumptions in the Article
It is very important for a research to make its purpose clear from the beginning. Such an approach ensures that the readers and the targeted audience are aware of what to expect as the subject of discussion and research through the study report. The implication is that the audiences are learned and have an understanding of marketing trends such as the use of online social networks. Further, the audiences are scholarly since they understand the meaning of the research methods and analysis that have been used. The study by Brettel et al. (2015) has met these requirements by providing the purpose of the study in the introduction. In this case, the introduction of the study reveals how Brettel et al. (2015) sought to address two research questions. The research questions and the purpose of the study were as follows:
- Which stimuli in a social network drive short-term sales?
- What is the long-term impact of Facebook stimuli on sales?
In the study, the authors have made various assumptions. Firstly, they have assumed that the audience understands the meaning of online social network and Facebook. As such, no definition has been provided to explain the meaning of the two terms. The second assumption has been made on the analysis section of the study. The study notes that it used “…a direct-aggression approach to calculate a compound advertising effect” (Brettel et al., 2015, p. 167). Compound advertising effect refers to how response to advertising rises and decays within a given duration. However, the study does not define the meaning of the direct-aggregation approach. Therefore, it is evident that the authors assumed that the intended audience understands the meaning of the analysis method that the study utilized.
Analysis of Literature Review
The use of literature review is an important part of any research since it provides the position of the current research in relation to the existing knowledge on a given subject (Aveyard, 2014). Most importantly, literature review provides an analysis of existing knowledge to identify the gaps that a given research seeks to fill (Saunders & Philip, 2012). In the study by Brettel et al. (2015), the literature review forms an important basis for the research.
The research utilizes sixty-four sources that address various issues concerning the usage of social media in advertising. For instance, the article uses various authors and previous studies to show the increased popularity of online social networks in advertising. Brettel et al. (2015) assert, “Scholars have noted the importance of using social networks to improve social network effectiveness” (p. 163). The reflection on other scholars helps to put into perspective the interest the subject has attracted.
The study also uses the existing literature to discuss the application of advertising in an effective manner that can reach the intended audience. Previous studies have identified the message that marketers should use. Such studies stimulate several outcomes, including cognition, sensation, and experience. The authors have also reviewed the existing research on the efficacy of various tools on Facebook and their relation to advertising.
For instance, the study analyzes literature on the efficiency of streaming, page views, likes, and the use of content such as photos, comments, or videos. Other important areas of discussion from previous researches are time lag and effect, which imply the time a potential customer takes from exposure to advert to the period of purchasing an item that was being advertised. The authors quote various researches that have been used to discuss the issue of time lag and effect on various approaches to advertising such as television, radio, and social network. Brettel et al. (2015) assert, “90% of the cumulative advertising effect in sales occurred three to nine months after exposure” (p. 166). Such findings from other studies are important in putting into perspective the course that the current study should take to add or introduce new knowledge on the subject.
The Use of Hedging Tactics and Metadiscourse
The use of metadiscourse is evident throughout the study. Metadiscourse has been evidently used in the literature review to communicate how the authors understand various studies that they have analyzed. The metadiscourse shows how the authors understand the various scholarly works that they have investigated. Further, it helps the reader to follow the ideas that the authors are systematically trying to present in their study.
The hedging tactics that have been used in the study are very important in reducing the risk exposure in the application of the research findings in real-life advertising environment. In this case, although the authors call for the generalization of the findings of the study, they are quick to note that for effectiveness, companies must be willing to invest time and workforce to engage the user (Brettel et al., 2015).
Objectivity of the Authors
Various guidelines dictate how research is carried and reported. Among the rules, the use of “first person” is discouraged where pronouns such as “I”, “We”, and other related references to an individual is not encouraged (Zahavi, 2008). In the current study, the authors do not use first-person pronouns. Hence, the article is in line with the requirements of many studies. Such an approach allows researchers to separate their study from their personal opinions, consequently allowing more objectivity, which gives the study more credibility (De Vos et al., 2011).
However, the use of metadiscourse allows the study to acknowledge the presence of the authors in terms of the systematic manner that ideas contained in the paper are presented. The lack of express presence in the text allows the research to be more credible and believable since it does not provide personal opinions, but rather the outcomes of the study process. Lastly, the limitations provided on the paper allow the audience to understand the various hindrances that the researchers may have faced, thus ensuring that their presence is felt.
Vision of Reality
The study can be categorized under social sciences. It utilizes various approaches that majorly interpret the existing works to provide the basis for the research (Charmaz, 2011). The research’s vision of reality is the establishment and enshrinement of online social network as an important part of advertising in the business world. In essence, the article reflects the methods and epistemology of the social sciences since the authors reveal the potential of Facebook’s advertising, which has unfortunately been underutilized. Consequently, they provide ways of utilizing such potential in driving future advertising on social networks. However, the authors are keen by setting conditions for the generalization of the research. For their findings to be applicable in the business world, they point out that organizations must be ready to dedicate time and resources.
The article is well written since it articulates and follows the rules that guide research by avoiding the use of first-person pronouns. Further, the authors have done a commendable work by ensuring that the generalization has conditions that govern the applicability of the study. The article has a very clear introduction, which provides the purpose of the study, thus ensuring that the reader is aware of what to expect. Lastly, the literature review has provided an in-depth understanding of the subject to ensure that the study points to gaps in knowledge that the study has filled. Any reader who goes through the article will be quick to declare it a commendable piece since it has been written in an easy-to-understand manner. The article provides a detailed investigation of the subject of advertising and the use of Facebook as a marketing tool.
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Aveyard, H. (2014). Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide. London, UK: McGraw-Hill Education. Web.
Brettel, M., Reich, J., Gavilanes, J., & Flatten, T. (2015). What Drives Advertising Success on Facebook? An Advertising-Effectiveness Model Measuring the Effects on Sales Of” Likes” and Other Social-Network Stimuli. Journal of Advertising Research, 55(2), 162-175. Web.
Charmaz, K. (2011). Grounded theory methods in social justice research. The Sage handbook of qualitative research, 4(1), 359-380. Web.
De Vos, A., Delport, C., Fouche, C., & Strydom, H. (2011). Research at grass roots: A primer for the social science and human professions. Johannesburg, SA: Van Schaik Publishers. Web.
Saunders, M., & Lewis, P. (2012). Doing research in business and management: An essential guide to planning your project. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Financial Times Prentice Hall. Web.
Zahavi, D. (2008). Subjectivity and selfhood: Investigating the first-person perspective. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Web.