Social media advertising: Factors Influencing Consumer Ad Avoidance

Social media has become a key field for expansion of advertising. However, despite the enthusiasm of both advertisers and technology providers, intense advertising on social media may result in companies’ messages being lost amongst the ‘noise’. This has led advertisers to create more daring adverts in order to stand out. However, such ‘controversial’ adverts may, subsequently, turn consumers off, leading consumers to avoid ads. This study examines potential factors influencing consumers’ decisions to avoid controversial ads on social media. Using data on social media usage from 273 consumers, a conceptual model of social media ad avoidance antecedents was tested via structural equation modelling. The results show that perceptions of adverts as controversial result in ad avoidance, but this effect is moderated by individual factors, such as ethical judgement. These results reveal noteworthy insights that have significant theoretical and practical implications for researchers in the area, and social media marketers alike.