Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy 13(5), 375-385.
Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar, (2003).
This article explores the differences between male and female internet advertising beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The authors hypothesized that males would have in general more positive beliefs about internet advertising, stronger positive attitudes about internet advertising, and more internet consumption behavior. A survey was conducted with 420 respondents. Six dimensions of belief were tested: enjoyability, offensiveness, informative, deceptiveness, annoyingness, and usefulness. Regarding attitudes, respondents were asked how good or bad they found internet advertising, how much they liked it, and how essential it was in general and to them. Behavior was measured by whether respondents had purchased something over the internet in the past year, and how often they visited 22 different websites. Results mostly supported the hypotheses. In particular, men held more positive beliefs about internet advertising, and had slightly stronger positive feelings about internet advertising. Interestingly, these positive beliefs and attitudes converted into behavior as well. Men reported more frequent internet purchases.
Wolin and Korgaonkar's study provides specific information on the effect the consumer characteristics of gender have on attitudes about internet advertising. It indicates that, while other articles assume the ineffectiveness of internet advertising because of low click-through rates, some groups, particularly males, may not feel as negatively about internet ads as would be expected. Other studies, such as the one reported in "Report: Most Men (18-34) Don't Mind Online Ads" (Brandweek, 49(44), 8; not included in this project), have found similar trends. Wolin and Korgaonkar's study also reveals an unusual trend: females tend to have more negative attitudes and beliefs about internet ads and, as predicted, less purchase behavior on the internet, but reportedly prefer shopping sites more then men. Wolin and Korgaonkar note that belief, attitude, and behavior do not necessarily have the hierarchical, causal relationship often expected, as this is an example of. Rather, one or two of the dimensions may align with each other while another may be completely opposite. Lastly, this article also details ways that advertising may be better targeted to the respective genders. Particularly they should target women through ads in traditional media and offering tangible rewards when utilizing the internet.