Does Interactive Advertising Always Effective? An Experiment on the Effects of Interactivity of Advertisement, Task Involvement, and Product Congruity

Primary author: Di Mu
Faculty sponsor: Alexis Tan

Primary college/unit: Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
Campus: Pullman


New technologies are creating new opportunities for the advertising industry. As interactivity – inherent in the hearts of the Internet – becomes a more natural way for manufacturers to connect and communicate with their consumers, some scholars and industry experts believes that interactivity is the key to the success of advertising: the presentation of interactive ads has multiple layers compared to traditional ads, which makes it possible for users to actively choose what they need, in turn, enhance the ads’ effectiveness. This strategy supposes to turn passive viewers into active participants, however, due to the annoying nature of advertising, does interacting actually increase its persuasive outcomes? Some researchers said “yes”, while others stand on the opposite side. In addition, according to the LC4MP model, when individuals are highly involved in a task, they tend to allocate more cognitive resources to the goal-related primary task, and thus less attentional capacity will be available for processing the secondary tasks, like watching ads. Also, there has been a debate on whether congruity between product type and the context in which ads appear may influence product memory. Therefore, this study is aimed at simulating a real-life scenario and measure the effectiveness of interactive advertisements. In order to answer the research questions, a 2 (interactivity: high vs. low) x 2 (task involvement: high vs. low) x 2 (product congruity: congruent vs. incongruent) fully factorial, between-subjects online experiment will be conducted. This study is in the process of submitting the IRB.