Anda di halaman 1dari 11

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar


The authors Lori D. Wolin is Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of Business and Management, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA. Pradeep Korgaonkar is Internet Coast Institute Adams Professor of Marketing, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Keywords Advertising, Gender, Internet, Perception, Shopping, User studies Abstract Previous research suggests males and females exhibit different beliefs about and attitudes toward traditional media advertising along with different advertising stimulated consumer behaviors. However, little is known about gender differences in consumer beliefs about Web advertising versus other media, attitude toward Web advertising, or Web advertising associated consumer behavior. Survey results indicate males and females differ significantly on several dimensions with males exhibiting more positive beliefs about Web advertising and more positive attitudes toward Web advertising than females. Additionally, males are more likely than females to purchase from the Web and surf the Web for functional and entertainment reasons, whereas females are more likely to surf the Web for shopping reasons. Electronic access The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/1066-2243.htm
Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . pp. 375-385 # MCB UP Limited . ISSN 1066-2243 DOI 10.1108/10662240310501658

Introduction
Each week, 102 million adults in the USA surf the Web, fueling online retail sales (Department of Commerce, 2002). In 2001, US-sourced online retail spending exceeded $32.5 billion, which constitutes 1.02 percent of all US-sourced retail spending (Department of Commerce, 2002). US online advertising spending is also growing, albeit in a somewhat haphazard fashion, due in part to economic factors. US online advertising spending for 1996 was $30 million, increasing dramatically to $5.7 billion in 2001 (Jupiter Media Matrix, 2002). While Web advertising appears to be the most important influence on the future of the advertising industry over the next ten to 15 years (Ducoffe, 1996), advertisers are uncertain about its effectiveness. US Web use is split evenly between the genders (Department of Commerce, 2002). As Web use by both males and females continues to grow, it is becoming clear that the genders make use of the Web differently (Sheehan, 1999). Differences have been seen in male and female Web users' perceptions of Web advertising (Schlosser et al., 1999), use patterns (Weiser, 2000), and online privacy concerns and behaviors (Sheehan, 1999). Additional knowledge concerning the Web's genderspecific advertising behavior is needed. This preliminary study attempts to observe if gender differences are apparent in beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors associated with Web advertising, and if so, to assess the strength of these differences.

Literature review
Discerning gender advertising effectiveness differences offers direct marketers the opportunity to spend advertising dollars in a more targeted fashion. Studies concerning males' versus females' general advertising effectiveness levels indicate that gendered differences are apparent. Gender's magnitude as a variable for market segmentation is positioned on the fact that it meets several requirements for successful implementation including: . identifiability; . accessibility;

375

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar


. .

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

measurability; responsiveness to marketing mix elements; and profitability (Darley and Smith 1995).

Thus, gender is a key variable for marketing analysis along several dimensions including advertising effectiveness. In terms of defining gender, although levels of masculinity and femininity exist, it is not necessarily meaningful to evaluate gender as a continuous variable because advertising processing research results are generally alike whether gender is operationalized as a binary or continuous construct (Alreck et al., 1982; Garst and Bodenhausen 1997). Hence, gender in this study is operationalized as a binary construct: male or female, and is termed ``gender'' as opposed to ``sex'' because gender is viewed as both a biological and sociological process (Babin and Boles, 1998). Accordingly, if gendered advertising beliefs, attitudes, and consumer behavior patterns exist, it is vital for advertisers to recognize them, understand them, and use them to design gender-specific advertisements. Researchers have been interested in determining the impact of advertisements on the consumer and have used myriad measures to evaluate advertising effectiveness, debating the appropriate measure of effectiveness. The most recent literature considers the effectiveness measures of cognition, affect, and conation independently as well as sequentially, suggesting a particular hierarchy sequence is not necessarily supported (Tellis, 1988; Wright and Lynch, 1995); however, also asserting all three effects need to be included on some dimension. In a seminal meta-analysis, Vakratsas and Ambler (1999) identify several advertising effectiveness models: market response, cognitive information, pure affect, persuasive hierarchy, low-involvement hierarchy, integrative, and hierarchy-free. The result of the meta-analysis suggests affect, cognition, and behavior are all crucial variables needed to understand advertising effectiveness. The authors conclude that the hierarchical models are flawed and propose all three variables be evaluated in a three-dimensional space. Thus, this research measures the aforementioned variables non-hierarchically.

Prior frameworks argue message content influences belief and attitude formation as well as behavioral intent (Brown and Stayman, 1992; Lavidge and Steiner, 1961; Palda, 1966). Further, specific media may provide varying opportunity for persons to consider the message content differently. Accordingly, different impacts on beliefs, attitudes toward advertising, and conation may occur. The advertising measurement effects observed in the traditional media can likely also be transferred to the dynamic Internet environment (Bruner and Kumar, 2000). Thus, assessing similarities and differences between Web advertising and other media advertising is paramount. Although research sheds light on traditional gendered advertising effectiveness, little is known about gendered advertising effectiveness via the more novel Web. The Web possesses characteristics such as constant message delivery, audience selectivity, multimedia capacity, measurable effects, global reach, audience controlled advertising exposure, and interactivity, making it an advertising medium as well a customer communications forum and channel of distribution. Consequently, Web advertising broadly consists of many commercial content forms delivered by video, print, and audio. Its depth ranges from both solicited and unsolicited corporate logos, banners, pop-up messages, e-mail messages, and text-based hyperlinks to official Web sites (Ducoffe, 1996; Schlosser et al., 1999) and its interactive nature lies in its ability to control information (Bezjian-Avery et al., 1998), reflect on itself, feed on itself, and respond to the past. Compared with other media, the Web provides a more level playing field for advertisers. Access opportunities, share of voice, and cost structures are fairly equal for players of all sizes (Berthon et al., 1996; Leong et al., 1998). Accordingly, many differences exist between Web and traditional media advertising including small banner ad sizes, content confusion due to the sizes of computer screens, and measurement problems. Indeed, what remains is to propose and test relevant hypotheses examining Web advertising in terms of gendered beliefs, attitudes, and behavior patterns.

376

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

Hypothesized relationships
Significant gendered differences in advertising topics have been enunciated in sex-role stereotyping (for example, Klassen et al., 1993; Knupfer, 1998; Sexton and Haberman, 1974), information processing (for example, Carsky and Zuckerman, 1991; Darley and Smith, 1995; Meyers-Levy and Mahaswaran, 1991), spokesperson effects (for example, Carsky and Zuckerman, 1991; Debevec and Iyer, 1986; Freiden, 1984), ad response (for example, Bellizzi and Milner, 1991; Prakash, 1992; Severn et al., 1990), and gender brand positioning (for example, Alreck et al., 1982; Elliott et al., 1992). Given these gender oriented advertising differences, it is likely gendered differences will also be apparent in advertising media effects. Past research indicates the belief, attitude, and behavior media effect variables are significantly different for males versus females (Hirschman and Thompson, 1997; Prakash, 1992). Consequently, it is expected that consumers' beliefs about, attitudes toward, and behavior associated with Web advertising versus other media advertising will be significant and vary. Gendered Web advertising beliefs versus traditional media The literature suggests that Web advertising is believed to be at least as effective as traditional media advertising (for example, Briggs and Hollis, 1997; Gallagher et al., 2001). It is also believed males exhibit more positive beliefs about and attitudes toward advertising in general versus females (O'Donohoe, 1995). Furthermore, males are theorized to prefer Web ads to traditional media ads because of the Web's interactivity and pictorial features (Bezjian-Avery et al., 1998). Accordingly, it is expected that males will exhibit higher belief levels for Web versus more traditional media ads and males versus females will follow a belief pattern for Web advertising similar to their belief patterns for traditional media advertising on the bases of the common media measurements of enjoyment, offensiveness, informativeness, deceptiveness, annoyingness, and usefulness (Haller, 1974; Mittal, 1994). Consequently:

H1a. Male respondents, relative to female respondents, will report higher scores for Web advertising beliefs versus radio, newspaper, magazine, and television advertising on the dimensions of: enjoyable, informative, and useful. H1b. Female respondents, relative to male respondents, will report higher scores for Web advertising beliefs versus radio, newspaper, magazine, and television advertising on the dimensions of: offensive, deceptive, and annoying. Gendered Web attitudes toward advertising With respect to traditional media, males versus females tend to report higher attitudes toward advertising (Beckett and Carr, 2001; Kempf et al., 1997; Shavitt et al., 1998). It is once again expected that Web advertising will educe a similar pattern of gendered response as found in traditional media advertising. Accordingly: H2. Male respondents will report higher attitude toward Web advertising scores relative to females. Gendered consumer behavior Vakratsas and Ambler (1999) suggest several consumer behavior outcomes. Two are: consumption and choice. In the context of Web advertising outcome behavior, consumption may be considered a function of the likelihood to purchase on the Web. Previous research indicates males are more likely to purchase an item directly through an address or phone number in a traditional media advertisement (Shavitt et al., 1998). It is again expected that males will follow a similar pattern when viewing Web advertising. Regarding Web use, the choice variable may be perceived as consumers' choice of Web sites. Females are more likely to use the Web for interpersonal communication purposes while males are more likely to use it for entertainment, shopping, and functional purposes such as research (Weiser, 2000). By extension, the following hypotheses are tested: H3a. Male respondents, relative to females, will report higher Web consumption behavior scores along with higher choice behavior scores on the

377

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

dimensions of: function, shopping, and entertainment. H3b. Female respondents, relative to males, will report higher Web choice behavior scores on the dimension of communication.

Methodology
Questionnaire development The survey instrument included several statements designed to measure the participants' beliefs about and attitudes toward Web banner advertising, which is the most common form of Web advertising. Additionally, statements capturing consumer behavior referring to consumption and choice were included. In constructing the survey items specific to this study, the items in prior studies in advertising attitude research were reviewed (for example, Pollay and Mittal, 1993). Gendered Web advertising beliefs versus traditional media The survey was designed whereby respondents were asked to compare Web advertising to: . radio advertising; . newspaper advertising; . magazine advertising; and . television advertising This was done on six dimensions following Mittal (1994) of: (1) enjoyable; (2) offensive; (3) informative; (4) deceptive; (5) annoying; and (6) useful. Each survey item was measured on a threepoint scale of (1) more, (2) about the same, and (3) less. Gendered Web attitudes toward advertising The attitude factor was operationalized using the mean of four summated items. The items chosen and operationalization reflected those utilized in the past studies (Ducoffe, 1996; Mittal, 1994). Respondents were asked: ``Overall, do you consider Web advertising a

good or bad thing?'' measured on a five-point scale with descriptive anchors ranging from (1) ``very bad'' to (5) ``very good.'' Next, they were asked ``Overall, do you like or dislike Web advertising?'' measured on a five-point scale ranging from (1) ``strongly dislike it'' to (5) ``strongly like it.'' Next, they were asked to consider the statement ``I consider Web advertising:'' and were asked to respond with a four-point scale ranging from (1) ``very essential'' to (4) ``not essential at all.'' Finally, the respondents were asked to consider the statement: ``To me, Web advertising is:'' and were asked to respond with a four-point scale ranging from (1) ``very essential'' to (4) ``not essential at all.'' The last two questions were measured on a reverse scale and the difference in the five- and four-point scales were minimal. The reliability coefficient alpha summated attitude scale was 0.86. Gendered consumer behavior Web advertising behavior was measured via two dimensions: consumption and choice. To capture the consumption dimension, respondents were asked whether they have purchased merchandise or services on the Web in the last 12 months by selecting: yes or no. To capture choice, respondents were asked to indicate how often they used 22 types of Web services on a scale of: never, sometimes, often, and regularly. The 22 types of Web services were discerned through focus groups and Web site inspections. Sample and data collection The study's sample consisted of 420 consumers from a large US southeastern metropolitan area with a population of 1.6 million. The manual surveys were conducted via personal interviews whereby respondents were contacted on different days of the week and times of the day for their study participation. Given the nature of the study topic, the interviews were conducted in respondents' homes. Only those who indicated they had used the Web were selected to participate in the study. This nonprobabilistic sampling procedure may result in reducing the ability to generalize the results. However, most survey procedures have biases including non-response and self-selection; accordingly, the insights derived from the

378

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

current study likely outweigh the limitations of the sampling procedure. Out of 420 surveys, 388 were usable for the analyses in this research. The sample consisted of slightly more males (51.5 percent) than females (48.5 percent), who mainly hold professional jobs (30.4 percent) or are students (26.5 percent), with at least some college level education, mostly under 40 years of age (78.7 percent), either with income between $20,000 and $40,000 (29.9 percent) or between $40,001 and $60,000 (24 percent). Compared to the InsightExpress 2001 demographic Web survey structure (CyberAtlas, 2002), the sample was over-represented in terms of female and younger composition. The sample was underrepresented in terms of Anglo-American ethnicity and presented lower income levels than the aforementioned survey study. These differences were not surprising due to the study respondents' geographic location that comprises a young population and many ethnicities. Table I exhibits the sample's characteristics.

Table I Sample characteristics Characteristic Gender Male Female Percent 51.5 48.5 5.2 50.5 23.0 14.2 5.9 1.2 7.5 2.3 41.0 29.7 19.5 2.1 7.2 7.5 6.4 7.5 30.4 26.5 12.4 15.2 29.9 24.0 13.7 8.5 8.7 13.5 44.1 7.2 16.2 19.0

Age (years) Under 20 20-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 Over 60 Education level High school Trade school Some college College graduate Postgraduate Occupation Unskilled labor Clerical Supervisory/sales Technical Managerial Professional Student Other Annual household income ($) Under 20,000 20,001-40,000 40,001-60,000 60,001-80,000 80,001-100,000 Over 100,000 Ethnicity African-American Anglo-American Asian-American Hispanic-American Other
Note: n = 388

Analysis and results


Gendered Web advertising beliefs versus traditional media Significant differences were tested via multivariate analysis of variance () between the male respondents and female respondents when comparing Web advertising to advertising in radio, newspaper, magazine, and television on the dimensions of: enjoyable, offensive, informative, deceptive, annoying, and useful. The results displayed in Tables II and III reveal an interesting pattern. Relative to females, males believe Web advertising is: . more enjoyable than magazine and newspaper advertising; . more useful than newspaper and radio advertising; and . more informative than newspaper advertising. Relative to males, females believe Web advertising is: . more annoying than magazine and newspaper advertising; . more offensive than magazine, radio, and television advertising;

more deceptive than television advertising; and more useful than television advertising.

Overwhelmingly, males (relative to females) exhibit more positive beliefs about Web advertising versus traditional media advertising. 379

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

Table II Gendered Web advertising beliefs versus traditional media: MANOVA results Radio advertising F-value Sig. Enjoyable Offensive Informative Deceptive Annoying Useful Notes:
a a

Versus Web advertising Newspaper Magazine advertising advertising F-value Sig. F-value Sig. 4.997 9.322 10.205 8.283

Television advertising F-value Sig.


a

p < 0.05
a

4.455

p < 0.05
a a a

5.513 4.171

p < 0.05 p < 0.05


a a

6.415 6.246 5.668

p < 0.05
a

p < 0.01
a

p < 0.05
a

4.196

p < 0.05

p < 0.01 p < 0.01

10.077

p < 0.01
a

p < 0.05

= not significant; n = 388

Table III Gender Web advertising beliefs versus tradtional media: means and standard deviations Radio M Enjoyable Offensive Informative Deceptive Annoying Useful Notes:
a a

F
a

Newspaper M F 2.20 (0.71) 2.02 (0.80)

Magazine M F 1.84 (0.70) 2.25 (0.64)


a

Television M F
a a

2.21 (0.70)
a

2.36 (0.68)
a

1.67 (0.69) 2.38 (0.62)


a

2.07 (0.74)
a

2.26 (0.69)
a

1.98 (0.74)
a

1.75 (0.68)
a

1.92 (0.68)
a

2.09 (0.59)
a

2.17 (0.69) = not significant; n = 388

2.03 (0.65)

2.32 (0.63) 1.96 (0.70)

2.53 (0.61) 1.75 (0.70)

2.22 (0.61)
a

2.43 (0.60)
a

1.78 (0.63)

1.94 (0.64)

Accordingly, H1a and H1b were partially supported. Gendered Web attitudes toward advertising The summated attitude scale indicates gendered significance (p < 0.10). Overall, males versus females indicate higher attitudes toward advertising scores for Web advertising as displayed in Table IV. The results indicate that respondents seem to report Web attitudes toward advertising patterns akin to traditional media. Thus, H2 was supported. Gendered consumer behavior Consumer behavior was measured on two dimensions: consumption and choice. Concerning consumption, males exhibited a greater likelihood to make Web purchases

versus females. This finding is not surprising since the same pattern has been found with traditional media. For the choice consumer behavior measurement, multivariate factor analysis suggests the presence of four dimensions exhibited in Tables V-VII. The statements themselves, along with a review of the extant literature, consideration of the prior
Table IV Gendered Web advertising attitudes toward advertising: ANOVA results summated measurement of respondents' attitude toward Web advertising as a measure of it being considered good or bad, liked or disliked, and essential or not essential Males Standard deviation 0.78 Females Standard Mean deviation 2.67 0.71

Mean 2.79

Significance

p < 0.10

Note: n = 388

380

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

focus group discussions, and Web site reviews provided insights into the interpretation of the following four factors: (1) Shopping choice. The first factor consists of Web use choices related directly to shopping. These sites are typically designed to draw the user to eventual purchase and are themed for general shopping, fashion, home and garden, people and relationships, food and dining, and children. The eigenvalue of this factor was 7.231. (2) Function choice. This second factor captures the functional use of the Web. Unlike the shopping sites, these function sites are not designed specifically for shopping purposes. They are designed for users to review, extract, and reference information. These sites are themed financial, education and reference, technical, news, scientific, career, health, and government. The eigenvalue of this factor was 2.338. (3) Entertainment choice. The third factor encompasses entertainment. The sites are used for recreation, hobbies, entertainment, games, and sports. Typically, users gather information on these sites and perhaps embark on an interactive process such as game playing. The eigenvalue of this factor was 1.551. (4) Communication choice. The final factor encompasses the communication sites where users can communicate with each other and en masse. These sites include e-mail, bulletin boards, and chat rooms. The eigenvalue of this factor was 1.189. The shopping, function, and entertainment factors were significant with respect to gendered differences. As expected, males, relative to females, indicated a stronger preference for choosing function and entertainment sites. Somewhat surprisingly, females, relative to
Table V Gendered consumer behavior: ANOVA, factor analysis and MANOVA results consumption Males Standard deviation 0.50 Females Standard Mean deviation 1.67 0.47

Table VI Gendered consumer behavior: ANOVA, factor analysis and MANOVA results choice Factor analysis resultsa Loadings Reliability 0.86 0.667 0.720 0.670 0.632 0.762 0.725 0.83 0.668 0.728 0.707 0.581 0.678 0.556 0.513 0.693 0.79 0.645 0.702 0.751 0.583 0.692 0.73 0.739 0.673 0.562 1.189 1.551 2.338 Eigenvalue 7.231

Factor 1 Shopping choice Shopping Fashion Home and garden People and relationships Food and dining Children Factor 2 Function choice Financial Educational and reference Technical News Scientific Career Health Government Factor 3 Entertainment choice Recreational Hobby Entertainment Game Sports Factor 4 Communication choice E-mail Bulletin boards Chat rooms

Notes: a 55.96 per cent of the variance is explained in this factor analysis; n = 388

Mean 1.56

Significance

p < 0.05

Note: n = 388

males, indicated a stronger preference for choosing shopping sites. On the one hand, since males are more likely to make Web purchases relative to females, it would seem that males would have a stronger shopping site preference. However, on greater inspection, traditionally, females spend more time shopping than men, seem to enjoy it more, are more likely to comparison shop, are more interested in coupon use, and are more likely to bargain hunt (Wood, 1998). They also tend to spend more of their income than men (Braus, 1993), are the household's prime buying decision-maker (Fram and Grady, 1997), control 60 percent of all US wealth, and influence more than 80

381

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

Table VII Gender and the factors: MANOVA results parameter estimates Independent variable Shopping factor Function factor Entertainment factor Communication factor Note: n = 388 Significance

F-statistic
29.73 5.47 20.35 0.398

Gender Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female

Mean 0.259 0.284 0.128 0.110 0.224 0.228 0.034 0.030

Standard deviation 0.939 1.020 0.982 1.022 1.028 0.940 0.924 1.096

p < 0.001 p < 0.05 p < 0.001


Not significant

percent of all purchases (Cuneo, 1997). As a result, although males are more likely to make Web purchases than females, perhaps females are more likely to use the shopping sites for enjoyment and information gathering (versus purchase) and then purchase in more traditional settings. Interestingly, the fourth factor, communication choice, was not significant, although the findings indicate movement in the hypothesized direction. Therefore, partial support is seen for H3a and H3b.

Discussion
This promising research explores the adaptability of current gendered media research to the Web, and the flexibility of interactivity research to gendered media comparisons. The study builds current Web theory by examining aspects of Web advertising not previously subjected to extensive investigation. Specifically, in the context of this study, males believe Web advertising to be more enjoyable than magazine advertising, more useful, informative, and enjoyable than newspaper advertising, and more useful than radio advertising. On the contrary, females believe Web advertising to be more annoying and more offensive than magazine advertising, more annoying than newspaper advertising, more offensive than radio advertising, and more offensive and deceptive than television advertising. Somewhat surprisingly, females believe Web advertising is more useful than television advertising. Perhaps this finding

represents a female predisposition toward more physically tangible advertisements found in print media versus television due to females' tendency toward using physically tangible coupons (Wood, 1998). Thus, the findings generally indicate males versus females hold more positive beliefs about and less negative beliefs about Web advertising relative to more traditional media. Advertisers may be wise to place advertisements directed to males on the Web versus radio, newspaper, and magazines. Additionally, given a choice of magazine, newspaper, or radio media versus the Web, advertisers may want to consider placing ads directed toward females in the more traditional media. These findings are especially important for marketers who are likely to use the Web via digital advertising targeting with coupons, promotions, and sweepstakes. The findings also suggest future research. First, it is important to learn why the genders hold different beliefs. Researchers may uncover patterns by probing the belief differences deeper. Second, once these patterns are uncovered, advertisers can test and design advertisements that improve consumer beliefs. These experimental advertisements can be used to measure consumer belief strengths and weaknesses. Third, study replication in several different geographic markets may shed light on geographical preferences. The literature pertaining to traditional media suggests males exhibit more positive attitudes toward advertising relative to females. This study extends traditional media theory into the Web as the findings indicate males report higher attitudes toward advertising for the Web

382

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

as well. The results suggest that the Web findings, in terms of gendered advertising attitude, do not differ much from traditional media findings. Perhaps, from an attitude perspective, the Web is more similar to traditional media than expected. The next step is to discern respondents' attitudes toward advertising for Web ads compared with traditional media ads. Finally, the behavioral findings imply males are more likely than females to make Web purchases. Additionally, when it comes to Web site behavior choices, males are more likely to choose functional and entertainment sites while females are more likely to choose shopping sites. Advertisers seeking to reach males and invoke purchase would be better off placing ads on functional and entertainment sites versus shopping-oriented sites. Marketers must also find ways to convert females who use shopping sites into females who purchase from shopping sites. Perhaps because females are more concerned than males about online privacy, they are reluctant to make purchases (Sheehan, 1999). Marketers would likely persuade females to make online purchases if they stress the safety and security of their site's online purchasing transactions. Finally, the communication choice was not significant. This interesting and surprising finding suggests males and females are equally as likely to choose communication sites, indicating that on a Web communication dimension, gender is not a discerning variable. Perhaps the Web has leveled the stereotype that females are the more communicative gender.

females. Further, the findings suggest males and females use the Web for different reasons. Knowing how and why the genders use the Web presents opportunities for advertisers such as ad placement targeting. The foregoing strengths notwithstanding, the tendency to generalize limits this study, as it does many others. Likewise, with any group analysis, there are individual differences. As previously stated, advertising processing studies typically do not evaluate gender or gender role attitudes as a self-assessed continuous variable because the results are generally alike whether gender is operationalized as a binary or continuous construct. However, there is some concern that not all biological males (females) depict sociological male (female) beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Self-assessed sex role inventories may be troubling as well. Ultimately, however, some measure of the level of masculinity or femininity a person possesses might prove meaningful. In final sum, as the online universe mirrors the offline universe, marketers must find ways to discern online advertising effectiveness. Given these findings it is desired this research imparts a fundamental step toward establishing Web theory and imparting theoretic confidence in adapting what is currently known about Web and gender theory.

References
Alreck, P.L., Settle, R.B. and Belch, M.A. (1982), ``Who responds to gendered ads, and how?'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 25-32. Babin, B.J. and Boles, J.S. (1998), ``Employee behavior in a service environment: a model and test of potential differences between men and women'', Journal of Marketing, Vol. 62 No. 2, pp. 77-91. Bellizzi, J.A. and Milner, L. (1991), ``Gender positioning of a traditionally male-dominant product'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 72-9. Berthon, P., Pitt, L.F. and Watson, R.T. (1996), ``The World Wide Web as an advertising medium: toward an understanding of conversion efficiency'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 43-54. Bezjian-Avery, A., Calder, B. and Iacobucci, D. (1998), ``New media interactive advertising vs traditional advertising'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 23-32. Braus, P. (1993), ``Sex and the single spender'', American Demographics, Vol. 15 No. 11, pp. 28-34.

Conclusion
The study's results are very encouraging. One of the study's strengths is that because gender is a measurable, assessable, and commonplace variable, the findings offer straightforward application. Additionally, the results indicate that the Web follows similar gendered belief and attitude patterns akin to more traditional media. Appropriately, advertising models that apply to traditional media may also apply to the Web. Additionally, males seem to exhibit more positive beliefs about Web advertising versus traditional media advertising, relative to

383

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

Briggs, R. and Hollis, N. (1997), ``Advertising on the Web: is there response before click-through?'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 33-45. Brown, S.P. and Stayman, D.M. (1992), ``Antecedents and consequences of attitude toward the ad, a metaanalysis'', Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 34-51. Bruner, G.C. II and Kumar, A. (2000), ``Web commercials and advertising hierarchy-of-effects'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 40 No. 1/2, pp. 35-42. Carsky, M.L. and Zuckerman, M.E. (1991), ``In search of gender differences in marketing communication: a historical/contemporary analysis'', in Costa, J.A. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Conference on Gender and Consumer Behavior, University of Utah Printing Press, Salt Lake City, UT, pp. 124-38. Cuneo, A. (1997), ``Advertisers target women, but market remains elusive'', Advertising Age, Vol. 68 No. 45, pp. 1, 24-5. CyberAtlas (2002), ``Men still dominate world-wide Internet use'', available at: http://cyberatlas.internet.com/ big_picture/demographics Darley, W.K. and Smith, R.E. (1995), ``Gender differences in information-processing strategies: an empirical test of the selectivity model in advertising response'', Journal of Advertising, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 41-56. Debevec, K. and Iyer, E. (1986), ``The Influence of spokespersons in altering a product's gender image: implications for advertising effectiveness'', Journal of Advertising, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 12-20. Department of Commerce (2002), ``Estimated quarterly US retail e-commerce sales'', available at: www.census.gov/mrts/www.current.html Ducoffe, R.H. (1996), ``Advertising value and advertising on the Web'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 21-35. Elliott, R., Eccles, S. and Hodgson, M. (1992), ``Gender repositioning in advertising: a semiotic analysis'', Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the European Marketing Academy, Vol. 2, pp. 1279-82. Fram, E.H. and Grady, D.B. (1997), ``Internet shoppers: is there a surfer gender gap?'', Direct Marketing, Vol. 59 No. 9, pp. 46-50. Freiden, J.B. (1984), ``Advertising spokesperson effects: an examination of endorser type and gender on two audiences'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 33-41. Gallagher, K., Foster, K.D. and Parsons, J. (2001), ``The medium is not the message: advertising effectiveness and content evaluation in print and on the Web'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 41 No. 4, pp. 57-70. Garst, J. and Bodenhausen, G.V. (1997), ``Advertising's effects on men's gender role attitudes'', Sex Roles, Vol. 36 No. 9/10, pp. 551-71. Haller, T.B. (1974), ``What students think of advertising'', Journal of Advertising, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 33-8. Hirschman, E.C. and Thompson, C.J. (1997), ``Why media matter: toward a richer understanding of consumers' relationships with advertising and mass media'', Journal of Advertising, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 43-60.

Jupiter Media Matrix (2002), ``Online advertising'', available at: www.jum.com/sps/research/report.jsp Kempf, D.S., Palan, K.M. and Laczniak, R.N. (1997), ``Gender differences in information-processing confidence in an advertising context: a preliminary study'', Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 24, pp. 443-9. Klassen, M.L., Jasper, C.R. and Schwartz, A.M. (1993), ``Men and women: images of their relationships in magazine advertisements'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 30-9. Knupfer, N.N. (1998), ``Gender divisions across technology advertisements and the WWW: implications for educational equity'', Theory into Practice, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 54-63. Lavidge, R.J. and Steiner, G.A. (1961), ``A model for predictive measurements of advertising effectiveness'', Journal of Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 59-62. Leong, E.K.F., Huang, X. and Stanners, P.-J. (1998), ``Comparing the effectiveness of the Web site with traditional media'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 44-51. Meyers-Levy, J. and Mahaswaran, D. (1991), ``Exploring differences in males' and females' processing strategies'', Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 63-70. Mittal, B. (1994), ``Public assessment of TV advertising: faint praise and harsh criticism'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 35-53. O'Donohoe, S. (1995), ``Attitudes to advertising: a review of British and American research'', International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 245-61. Palda, K.S. (1966), ``The hypothesis of a hierarchy of effects: a partial evaluation'', Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 3 No. 13, pp. 13-24. Pollay, R.W. and Mittal, B. (1993), ``Here's the beef: factors, determinants, and segments in consumer criticism of advertising'', Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57 No. 3, pp. 99-114. Prakash, V. (1992), ``Sex roles and advertising preferences'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 43-52. Schlosser, A.E., Shavitt, S. and Kanfer, A. (1999), ``Survey of Internet users' attitudes toward Internet advertising'', Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 34-54. Severn, J., Belch, G.E. and Belch, M.A. (1990), ``The effects of sexual and non-sexual advertising appeals and information level on cognitive processing and communication effectiveness'', Journal of Advertising, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 14-22. Sexton, D.E. and Haberman, P. (1974), ``Women in magazine advertisements'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 41-6. Shavitt, S., Lowrey, P. and Haefner, J. (1998), ``Public attitudes toward advertising: more favorable than you might think'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 7-22. Sheehan, K.B. (1999), ``An investigation of gender differences in online privacy concerns and resultant behaviors'', Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 24-38.

384

Web advertising: gender differences in beliefs, attitudes and behavior

Lori D. Wolin and Pradeep Korgaonkar

Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 13 . Number 5 . 2003 . 375-385

Tellis, G.J. (1988), ``Advertising exposure, loyalty and brand purchase: a two-stage model'', Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 134-44. Vakratsas, D. and Ambler, T. (1999), ``How advertising works: what do we really know?'', Journal of Marketing, Vol. 63 No. 1, pp. 26-43. Weiser, E.B. (2000), ``Gender differences in Internet use patterns and Internet application preferences: a two-

sample comparison'', CyberPsychology and Behavior, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 167-78. Wood, M. (1998), ``Socio-economic status, delay of gratification, and impulse buying'', Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 295-320. Wright, A.A. and Lynch, J. Jr (1995), ``Communication effects of advertising versus direct experience when both search and experience attributes are present'', Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 708-18.

385