Social Media, Targeted Advertising, and the Impact on the Consumer and Business Owner

A Qualitative Analysis on Students’ Views

  • Lori Giampa MacEwan University


Social media has created a new way of interacting with advertisements around us. Social media advertisements are now part of a two-way form of communication instead of one-way, as found with traditional media platforms such as the television or newspaper. Two-way communication refers to the ability for the business owner and a larger audience of consumers to communicate with each other in a reciprocal manner. Business owners gain an in-depth look at the demographic of their target audience and can therefore communicate with their audience at a more personal level. Consumers can directly interact with the advertisement found on social media in real time, offering their opinions, questions, or views. For consumers, attitudinal and behavioral responses toward social media advertising vary by either producing positive or negative reactions. For businesses, social media has provided important benefits, such as tracking users’ behavioral responses, building relationships with consumers, generating exposure, and increasing traffic. The aim for this study was to examine the perspectives of the consumer and business owner on their attitudes toward social media advertisements. The study was qualitative in nature, using an explorative and open-ended approach. The researcher collected data from students at MacEwan. The findings confirmed results from previous studies and showed that when advertisements were relevant or provided value, consumers would react more positively. From the perspective of the small business owner, social media was viewed as an important tool for advertising and attracting customers.

Discipline: Sociology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kalyani Thurairajah