Date of Award

12-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Communication and Information

Major Professor

Roxanne Hovland

Committee Members

Ronald E. Taylor, Sally J. McMillan, Detelin Elenkov

Abstract

This paper discusses an examination of the differences in the ways males’ and females’ engage with and perceive Internet advertising. Specifically, commercial Web sites were analyzed to better understand the role of gender within online consumer behavior, its effect on interactivity and advertising effectiveness and the implications for online marketing communications. Gender differences in Internet advertising are first explored by analyzing gender in relation to interactivity. This exploration will be based upon dimensions of consumers’ online behavior, referred to as user processes, and consumers’ beliefs about the interactive communication environment, or user perceptions, in relation to three types of features, which are human-to-human, human-to-computer and human-to-content (McMillan, 2002). Further, gender differences in advertising effectiveness are examined by analyzing attitudes towards the site, attitudes towards the brand and purchase intention. Past research in exploring gender differences online is limited, especially for corporate Web sites, and research exploring gender and its influence on interactivity is almost non-existent. This study examines gender differences in Internet advertising by conducting both computer observation with screen capturing software and by administering a survey. The users examined are traditional college age students, 18-23, which fall into the category of Generation Y, a group of consumers, which are online in great numbers, have considerable spending power and are classified as “computer savvy” (Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2005).

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