Digital Advertising


Companies are using digital advertising increasingly to attract customers’ attention. These attempts are more or less successful, depending on customers’ willingness to be advertised. With our research, we aim at understanding customers’ behavior and reaction towards digital advertising, either positive expressed through clicks and interactions or negative, expressed through avoidance and the installation of ad blockers. Whenever customers receive digital advertising via their mobile phone, their social media sites, influencers or elsewhere on the Internet, they choose their reaction to it. A better understanding of customers’ needs could help to develop advertising attempts and provide solutions that are more efficient for companies.

Topic of research

The aim of our research is to shed a light on how individuals perceive and react to advertising and why. To do so, we follow several research directions taking individuals’ perspective.

Interaction with digital advertising

Individuals are in average exposed to around 11,250 online ads per month (Elliott 2017) however, statistically it is more likely that an individual applies to Harvard and gets accepted than clicking on an online ad (Oetting 2017). Although individuals interact very few with digital advertising, for example through a direct click, a like or a later decision to visit the advertising company’s website only organizations still increase their expenses on digital advertising, which are expected to exceed $360 billion in 2020 (eMarketer 2018). Addressing this inequality, we want to examine what drives individuals to interact with digital advertising and how companies can achieve that. Here, we include research addressing the click-through and view-through of digital advertising, including group effects and individual differences among individuals.

Selected publications:

  • Mattke, J., Müller, L., Maier, C., and Weitzel, T. (2017)
    Engagement with Social Ads: Explaining the Influence of Herding in Social Media Advertising
    Proceedings of the Special Interest Group on Adoption and Diffusion of Information Technology (DIGIT) (Pre-ICIS Workshop), Seoul, South Korea
    Best Paper Nominee
  • Mattke, J., Müller, L., and Maier, C. (2019)
    Paid, Owned and Earned Media: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis revealing Attributes Influencing Consumer's Brand Attitude in Social Media
    Proceedings of the 51th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Hawaii

Avoidance of digital advertising

If an individual does not want to interact with or see digital advertising, she can avoid it by looking away, ignoring it or skipping it (Cho and Cheon 2004). If a user doesn’t want digital ads to be shown on her device in the future, she can install an ad blocker (PageFair 2016). Even though various mobile phone apps and online services are only provided for free if the user permits digital ads to be shown, most users are unwilling to receive advertising, particularly on mobile devices, due to limited Internet access and small screen sizes (PageFair and Adobe 2014).

In 2016, 380 million individuals used mobile ad blockers and the number of new installations continues to rise quickly (Statista 2018). The lack of user interaction with ads puts the business model of many website operators at risk because they only get payed for promoting products if ads are shown to mobile phone users (Chatwin 2013). Recent statistics indicate a loss of over 20 billion US dollars in potential sales through mobile ads avoided or blocked by ad blockers in 2016 (Statista 2018). Our research aims at examining the underlying reasons for individuals to avoid digital advertising or even installing an ad blocker, to come up with advertising opportunities that are more in line with individuals’ needs. This could help companies to better address individuals and individuals to regain digital advertising as a valuable source of information.

Selected publications:

  • Müller, L., Mattke, J., Maier, C., and Weitzel, T. (2017)
    The Curse of Mobile Marketing: A Mixed Methods Study on Individuals' Switch to Mobile Ad Blockers
    Proceedings of the Thirty-eighth International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Seoul, Korea
  • Mattke, J., Müller, L., and Maier, C. (2018)
    Why do Individuals Avoid Social Media Advertising: A Qualitative Comparison Analysis Study
    Proceedings of the 26th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS)
  • Mattke, J., Müller, L., Maier, C., and Graser, H. (2018)
    Avoidance of Social Media Advertising: A Latent Profile Analysis
    Proceedings of the ACM SIGMIS CPR Conference

New forms of digital advertising

Within the last years, companies increasingly spend their money on new digital advertising opportunities, such as influencer marketing, user generated content on social media or chatbot advertising that might be more “customer friendly” and yield higher customer interactions. We want to examine those new opportunities from the individual perspective to gain deeper knowledge on how individuals perceive those new advertising opportunities and where they differ from traditional digital advertising.

Selected publications:

  • Müller, L., Mattke, J., and Maier, C. (2018)
    #Sponsored #Ad: Exploring the Effect of Influencer Marketing on Purchase Intention
    Proceedings of the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS)

Practical relatedness

This area of research is of great interest for practitioners and the practical perspective on digital advertising enriches our research a lot. Therefore, we collaborate closely with different partners from the industry, such as SAP and other technology or fashion companies.