Online sponsoring through cause – if you do it, do it right: Evaluating the impact of the ad context congruence.

Authors: Ndasi, W. and Roushan, G.

Editors: Bolat, E., Robson, J. and Kooli, K.

Start date: 6 September 2018

Journal: Vanilla, shock and entertainment: marketing in the era of emotions International Congress on Public and Nonprofit Marketing

Pages: 1-328

ISBN: 978-1-78926-644-3

The broad acceptance of the Internet as a commercial medium and its phenomenal development has meant that having an online presence has become a business imperative (IAB 2016). E-marketers are on the lookout for online promotional approaches which can be effective in breaking through the clutter of ever-increasing competition to gain, satisfy and keep customers in a cost-efficient and measurable way. ‘Online advertising’ refers to any commercial content available on the Internet that is designed by businesses to inform consumers about a product or service (Schlosser and Shavitt 1999). While these may include various tools and techniques, this study considers the use of a display banner advertisement in the promotion of cause-related messages, with charity fundraising websites as the affiliate publisher. Online cause-related marketing is relatively underexplored. In this study we are focusing on online cause-related sponsorship (OCS).

In the era of post-truth and fake news, the only way for a brand to gain benefits from online advertising is by understanding tactical nuances, i.e. the impact of the ad context congruence. Ad-context congruence is defined as the degree to which the advertising material is thematically similar to the editorial content of the media vehicle (Zanjani et al. 2011). As charity websites provide the medium through which to advertise various products, the effect of congruence on the effectiveness of OCS ad formats also needs to be understood. The literature review suggests that only a few studies have examined the effect of ad-context congruence (e.g. Newman et al. 2004; Segev et al. 2014; Rieger et al. 2015) in the context of OCS and has highlighted the important role of congruence in enhancing brand recall and click-through rates for purchase behaviour. We conducted online experimental survey and collected 170 responses. We found that the ad-context congruence is critical for driving consumers’ purchasing intention and donation.

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