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Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 710e718

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Computers in Human Behavior

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/comphumbeh

Full length article

Predicting user response to sponsored advertising on social media via

the technology acceptance model
Carolyn A. Lin*, Tonghoon Kim
Department of Communication, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-1295, United States

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Sponsored advertising has generated strong advertising revenues for Facebook in recent years. As
Received 8 November 2015 sponsored ads are built on an interactive platform that could be seen as invasive to user privacy, the
Received in revised form growth of this advertising platform has important implications for consumers, and advertisers alike. As
26 June 2016
little research is available on consumer response to sponsored advertising as an interactive technology
Accepted 22 July 2016
Available online 3 August 2016
innovation, the current study assesses the effects of user perceptions of privacy risk, intrusiveness
concerns and utilities of sponsored advertising on consumer attitudes and purchase intent. Testing a
model derived form the technology acceptance model (TAM), the study found that privacy and intru-
Consumer attitude
siveness concerns are both valid antecedent variables to perceived usefulness but not perceived ease of
Facebook sponsor advertising use of sponsored advertising. While both antecedent variables also influence consumer attitudes toward
Intrusiveness concerns sponsored advertising, only privacy concerns have an impact product purchase intentions. The hy-
Privacy concerns pothesized relations between perceived usefulness, ease of use, attitudes and purchase intentions were
Purchase intent also validated.
Technology acceptance model © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Online social networks are one of the most promising tools in banner advertisements (Barreto, 2013). Specifically, Facebook fea-
the digital advertising environment (Brettel et al., 2015; Carlson & tures tailored advertisements via a dedicated sponsored adver-
Christopher Lee, 2015). Preliminary research indicates that Face- tising section or sponsored stories that are integrated into a user's
book is an effective advertising venue capable of competing with story line (Cox, 2011; Villiard, & Moreno, 2012). A sponsor could
traditional advertising channels such as television and radio frame an advertisement as a friend's story in a newsfeed by
(Nelson-Field, Riebe, & Sharp, 2013). According to the most recent uploading the person's real time experience with a product, which
Pew data, 65% of American adults are users of social network sites could then enable social network service (SNS) followers to be
(Perrin, 2015). As Facebook claimed to have over one billion users in involved in more intensive brand experiences, including repeat
a single day, this translates to one in seven people in the world story-telling and additional information sharing and exchanges
using Facebook for connecting with others daily. It is thus not about the product (Dyrud, 2011).
surprising that Facebook advertising revenue has been steadily Early research suggests that Facebook users’ concerns about
rising, surpassing an estimated 9 billion dollars in 2015 (Duffett, privacy have a negative effect on user attitudes toward Facebook
2015). advertising (Taylor et al., 2011); the same is true with perceived
In particular, the sponsored advertising section on Facebook has intrusiveness of Facebook advertising. As sponsored advertise-
provided an important pathway for marketing message dissemi- ments on Facebook are growing in both volume and frequency on
nation through setting up direct connections among advertising Facebook, potential consumer privacy or intrusiveness concerns
consumers, producers and brands (Dehghani & Tumer, 2015). could also increase. However, existing research on consumer pri-
Sponsored advertising that appears on such social network sites as vacy and intrusiveness concerns and how such concerns may in-
Facebook can be customized based on a user's web search history fluence their beliefs and attitudes toward Facebook advertising e
and hence are more reliable at consumer targeting, relative to and product purchase intentions e is limited. Likewise, theory-
based research on consumer response to Facebook advertising is
still needed.
* Corresponding author. The current study explores consumer evaluations of Facebook
E-mail addresses: carolyn.lin@uconn.edu (C.A. Lin), tonghoon.kim@uconn.edu
sponsor advertising, both as a new technology innovation and an
(T. Kim).

0747-5632/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
C.A. Lin, T. Kim / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 710e718 711

interactive advertising venue. Specifically, this study applies the Related research on online advertising reveals that intention to
technology acceptance model to examine consumer belief, attitude purchase products through an online shopping mall is determined
and intention toward adopting Facebook advertising as an inter- by attitude toward online shopping malls, which is predicted by
active technology innovation, with perceived privacy and intru- perceived ease of use and usefulness of these virtual venues (Ahn,
siveness of Facebook advertising as the external factor that may Ryu, & Han, 2004). Similarly, the online customer review system
influence consumer acceptance of this interactive advertising e which can play a critical role in influencing consumer referrals for
venue. The objective of this research is to help advance a better online shopping malls e is also valued more highly by users who
understanding of 1) digital advertising innovation adoption, 2) have perceived the review system to be more useful and easier to
consumer acceptance of customized advertising, and 3) the influ- use (Rese, Schreiber, & Baier, 2014). Likewise, bank customers who
ence of customized advertising on product purchase intent via an perceive greater utility from an online banking system e and
online social network. greater ease of use via the online transaction system e are also
more willing to utilize online baking for financial transactions
1. TAM and innovation adoption (Vatnani & Verma, 2014).
Based on the ability of TAM to explain adoption and uses of
Based on the Theory of Reasoned Action, the Technology various digital technology innovations, including a wide variety of
Acceptance Model or TAM was developed to include critical online media services and SNS, we propose that the TAM will be a
technology-related factors to explain an individuals' decision- valid typology to explain the decision-making process of adopting a
making process to accept new information system technologies in social media advertising innovation. In particular, TAM's key com-
an organizational setting (Davis 1989). The model's thesis states ponents e perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use e should
that: 1) external variables will influence perceived ease of use and be positively related to Facebook-ads related attitudes and pur-
usefulness of a technology; 2) perceived ease of use of a technology chase intentions. The following hypotheses are posited to test this
will have a direct effect on its perceived usefulness; 3) perceived proposition.
usefulness and ease of use will impact attitude toward the tech-
H1a. Perceived ease of use will be positively related to perceived
nology; 4) perceived usefulness and attitude toward the technology
usefulness of Facebook ads.
is expected to influence its use intention; and 5) technology use
intention, along with perceived technology usefulness, can lead to H1b. Perceived ease of use will be positively related to attitudes
its use. toward Facebook advertising.
TAM has been utilized to study a wide variety of consumer
H2a. Perceived usefulness of Facebook ads will be positively
technology adoption research. For instance, studies have found that
related to attitudes toward Facebook advertising.
the audience is more likely to adopt mobile phone technology
(Schejter, 2006; Shin, 2011), Wi-Fi networks (Wei, 2006) or a sat- H2b. Perceived usefulness of Facebook ads will be positively
ellite radio system (Lin, 2010), when those technologies and the related to product purchase intentions.
services they provide are perceived as useful, easy to use and fluid
H3. Attitudes toward Facebook advertising will be positively
in their functions. Additional research has indicated that a greater
related to product purchase intentions.
perception of usefulness and ease of use associated with web ser-
A majority of the studies that applied the TAM literature failed to
vices, such as online travel sites (Munoz-Leiva, Hernandez-Mendez,
include the “external variables” component of the model, which is
& Sanchez-Fernandez, 2012) and online radio service (Lin, 2009), is
the antecedent variable to the variables of perceived ease and use
also related to web-service adoption levels.
and usefulness. A recent meta-analysis reported that only 60% of
the 22 articles in the sample (selected from six major journals)
2. SNS and online advertising
investigated external variables and no clear set of external variables
were tested (Legris, Ingham, & Collerette, 2003). External variables
Early research examined the effectiveness of Facebook adver-
could include a variety of factors e such as demographic and
tising by considering the interaction between SNS users who
system-use experience (e.g., Burton-Jones & Hubona, 2006) as well
shared information about brands/products or ‘word of mouth’
as perceived risk and necessary trust associated with system use
advertising (e.g., Yang, 2012). Other work has also investigated the
(e.g., Gefen, Karahanna, & Straub, 2003a) e that could influence
effects of fan-based advertising methods such as the number of
individual beliefs about adopting a technology system. Another
‘Like’ of Facebook ads and the size of the ‘followership’ on Twitter e
meta-analysis of 88 TAM studies (King & He, 2006) summarized
on brand image (e.g., Rohm, Kaltcheva, & Milne, 2013; Vukasovic &
and affirmed the empirical evolution of the TAM and its integration
Strasek, 2014; Xie & Lee, 2015). Research on consumer response to
with other theories, including theoretical constructs such as risk
sponsored advertising on social media, an emerging interactive
and trust factors.
advertising platform, remains scarce.
Even though research integrating privacy risk with the TAM is
Scholars have begun to apply the TAM to explain the factors
limited, available empirical findings generally support the influence
influencing SNS adoption and uses. For instance, past research in-
of privacy risk on perceptions about a technology's attributes and
dicates that SNS user's perceived usefulness of SNS is influenced by
an individual's adoption intention (e.g., Gefen, Karahanna, & Straub,
their perceived ease of SNS use, as perceived ease of SNS use has a
2003b). For instance, privacy risk was found to be strongly related
direct impact on attitudes toward SNS use (Shipps & Phillips, 2013).
to ease of use, perceived usefulness and adoption intention of an e-
One of the most popular functions on SNSs is the posting and
commerce transaction system; next to financial risk, privacy was
sharing of photos with others on one's social media networks. A
also the most important risk factor relative to other risk factors
study testing the TAM via photo-messaging adoption and use re-
including performance, psychological and social risk (Featherman
ported that social network activity is a positive predictor of
& Pavlou, 2003). Moreover, intrusiveness is considered an aspect
perceived ease of use, usefulness and use intention of photo-
of privacy in e-commerce, including email advertising, which is
sharing services; as perceived ease of use and usefulness signifi-
often considered as “spam” and an irritant by consumers
cantly influenced photo-messaging intention, the latter is also a
(Morimoto & Macias, 2009).
positive predictor of photo-messaging use frequency (Hunt, Lin, &
The current study intends to test the TAM by integrating
Atkin, 2014).
712 C.A. Lin, T. Kim / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 710e718

perceived privacy and intrusiveness concerns associated with 2013). Previous studies addressing online marketing venues have
Facebook advertising as external variables to further validate their found that customized information on online advertising decreases
role in social media advertising adoption and uses. The following the effect of advertising (Saxena & Khanna, 2013), particularly
discussion will review the influence of consumer privacy and when users perceive the advertising practice as intrusive to their
intrusiveness concerns on social media marketing. online-use activity. Consumer perceptions of ad intrusiveness can
also cause irritation, as triggered by awareness and recognition of
advertising presence. For instance, McCoy et al. (2008) found that
3. Privacy risk perceived intrusiveness negatively influences consumer attitudes
toward websites visited; negative attitudes then produce negative
Due to the prevalence of consumer concern over online privacy, outcomes for the marketers that host these websites, including
scholars have regarded privacy concerns as a negative aspect of decreased repeat visits to the websites and referral of the websites
new media development (e.g., Lee, Im, & Taylor, 2008). For instance, to others.
although consumers could hold positive attitudes toward online Other research reveals that consumers have less negative atti-
banking technology, their concerns regarding the security of online tudes toward targeted online advertising e even though privacy is a
commerce could deter them from adopting online banking systems concern e when websites are perceived to have high utility
(Dash, Mohanty, Pattnaik, Mohapatra, & Sahoo, 2011). Research has (Schumann, von Wangenheim, & Groene, 2014). Moreover, mode of
shown that acceptance of online financial transaction systems, advertising tends to influence purchase intention, as consumers
which enable users to pay for their online purchases, is positively showed a more positive attitude toward video ads, relative to still-
predicted by perceived privacy protection and perceived security image ads (Spalding, Cole, & Fayer, 2009). Additional research
(Chang & Chang, 2013). Even so, the growth in online purchase shows that tailored advertising in an SNS environment can
transactions is expected to increase consumer trust in the security contribute to negative consumer feelings regarding the intrusive-
of online payment systems (Vantani & Verma, 2014). ness of such advertising, which in turn can decrease purchase in-
Consumers tend to express privacy concerns when they are tentions (van Doorn & Hoekstra, 2013).
searching for information through online sources in order to review Social media advertising is still in its early phase of develop-
product advertising or make a purchase of products through online ment, hence the existing literature sheds little light on how
commerce outlets (Okazaki, Li, & Hirose, 2012). The tailored ad- perceived intrusiveness may impact consumer response toward
vertisements embedded in social media pages e which could these social-media driven purchase behaviors. Yet the theoretical
mirror users' online behaviors such as product information dynamics outlined above e addressing TAM applications to other
searches or brand information sharing e are seen as impinging on interactive digital technology platforms e should help inform our
consumers’ right to privacy (Young & Quan-Haase, 2013). Social conceptualization in the SNS environment. In particular, we assume
media users are often concerned about exposing the information that intrusiveness concerns will negatively influence perceived
that they considered private to online advertising sponsors; these usefulness and perceived ease of use as well as attitudes toward
concerns include their perceived transaction risks in online pur- Facebook advertising and purchase intentions. The following hy-
chase activities (Okazaki et al., 2012). potheses are postulated to test intrusiveness as an external variable
As social media sites such as Facebook increase their display of as well as to validate the empirical relations between intrusiveness
tailored sponsored ads, consumer concerns about privacy risks and and 1) attitudes and 2) intention discussed above with the TAM
making online purchases may also rise (Young & Quan-Haase, framework.
2013). Empirical research has yet to fully establish whether con-
H5a. Intrusiveness concerns with Facebook advertising will be
sumer privacy concerns are indeed a deterrent for marketers who
negatively related to perceived usefulness of Facebook ads.
utilize social media as their advertising platform. Based on the
preliminary empirical findings, it is reasonable to assume that H5b. Intrusiveness concerns with Facebook advertising will be
privacy concerns could negatively impact Facebook user attitudes negatively related to perceived ease of use of Facebook ads.
toward sponsored advertisements and their intention to purchase
H5c. Intrusiveness concerns will be negatively related to attitudes
products featured in those ads as well as their perception of use-
toward Facebook advertising.
fulness and ease of use associated with these ads. The following
hypotheses are proposed to validate these theoretical assumptions H5d. Intrusiveness concerns will be negatively related to product
based on the TAM. purchase intentions.
By integrating the two major privacy factors that may directly
H4a. Privacy concerns will be negatively related to perceived
impact the success of social media as an advertising venue and the
usefulness of sponsored advertising.
role that other theoretical components of the TAM can play in
H4b. Privacy concerns will be negatively related to perceived ease influencing consumer acceptance of social media adverting, a
of use of sponsored advertising. conceptual model is proposed below (see Fig. 1). The interrelations
between the conceptual components show the interrelationships
H4c. Privacy concerns will be negatively related to attitudes to-
between model components as follows: 1) perceived intrusiveness
ward sponsored advertising.
and privacy risk are antecedent variables to perceived ease of use
H4d. Privacy concerns will be negatively related to product pur- and usefulness of sponsored advertising; 2) perceived intrusive-
chase intentions. ness, perceived privacy risk, ease of use and usefulness directly
influences attitudes toward sponsored adverting; 3) perceived ease
of use is an antecedent variable to perceived usefulness; and 4)
4. Intrusiveness concerns perceived intrusiveness, perceived privacy risk, perceived useful-
ness and attitudes toward sponsored advertising have a direct ef-
Intrusiveness is considered an aspect of privacy in e-commerce fect on purchase intentions for products marketed through
(Morimoto & Macias, 2009). When online advertising is tailored for sponsored advertising.
individual online users, it increases perceptions of intrusiveness
(McCoy, Everard, Polak, & Galletta, 2008; van Doorn & Hoekstra,
C.A. Lin, T. Kim / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 710e718 713

Fig. 1. Proposed conceptual model.

5. Methods services; and 6) finding product prices. These items were combined
into a composite variable with a high reliability level (alpha ¼ 0.92).
Study participants were recruited from the undergraduate stu-
dent body of a large northeastern university. College-aged social 5.1.2. Perceived ease of use
media users were said to be more heavily influenced by Facebook This concept was reflected by five original measurement items,
advertising than other age groups, as they tended to be heavy users assessed on the same 4-point scale mentioned above. These items
of social media (e.g., Taylor et al., 2011). These “digital natives” also were constructed to specifically capture the accessibility of the
display certain privacy orientations that can influence their use of display ad elements embedded in the Facebook system, instead of
social media (e.g., Buzzi & Rossi, 2012; Kurkovsky & Syta, 2010). As adopting the common approach that evaluates the general use of
college students are also the user group that regularly shares retail websites (e.g., Al-Gahtani, 2011) or the Facebook platform
product information through online social networks (e.g., Okazaki, (e.g., Rauniar, Rawski, Yang, & Johnson, 2014). Participants reported
2009), they are a well-suited purposive sample for this study. their degree of agreement or disagreement with the level of ease
Prior to initiating the study procedure, approval for the research associated with accessing Facebook ads that contain the following
protocol was obtained from the IRB. Students enrolled in a large layout components: 1) headlines, 2) colors, 3) images, 4) copy
general education course were offered extra course credit to fonts; and 5) the ad content. By merging the five items together, a
volunteer as participants of the study. After receiving a study single variable was formed with a Cronbach's reliability coefficient
announcement, reviewing the consent form and providing at 0.92.
informed consent, students who wished to participate in the study
were asked to click on a hyperlink that linked them to respond to 5.1.3. Attitudes
the survey questionnaire online. Overall, 536 participants provided This construct was described by seven items that were adapted
valid responses. from past work (Taylor et al., 2011); these seven items were
The demographic profile of the sample indicates that roughly measured with the same 4-point scale mentioned above. The seven
half (50.4%) of the study participants were females and 64.4% measurement items prompt the participants to indicate their de-
indicated their annual household income at $75,000 or above. With gree of agreement/disagreement with whether they like the
regard to ethnicity, 74.8% of the sample were Caucasian, 6% African- following Facebook advertising features: 1) the sponsored adver-
American, 17% Hispanic, 2.1% Asian/Pacific American and 0.2% tisement section on one's Facebook page; 2) ads created by a
Native American. sponsoring company on one's Facebook storyline; 3) YouTube
videos uploaded by ad sponsors; 4) YouTube videos uploaded by ad
5.1. Measurement sponsors on one's Facebook storyline; 5) pictures uploaded by ad
sponsors on one's Facebook page; 6) ads uploaded by ad sponsors
5.1.1. Perceived usefulness on one's Facebook storyline; and 7) the style of Facebook ads. These
The scale for perceived usefulness of online advertising, devel- seven items were collapsed to create a composite variable with a
oped by Ducoffe (1996) and widely adopted by others (e.g., Cheng, Cronbach's reliability coefficient of 0.94.
Blankson, Wang, & Chen, 2009) was adapted here; this scale con-
tains six items that are measured on a 4-point scale, ranging from 5.1.4. Product purchase intentions
strongly disagree to strongly agree. These measurement items ask This concept was assessed with four original measurement
participants how strongly they agree or disagree with whether items, gauged with the same 4-point scale items. These items were
Facebook ads are a valuable source of information for 1) finding developed to specifically describe consumer willingness to pur-
different products and services, 2) learning which brands have the chase basic and premium products promoted via two types of
features that they're looking for; 3) keeping up to date with new customized advertising on Facebook, instead of indicating general
products/services available in the marketplace; 4) staying informed use intentions commonly adopted in the relevant literature (e.g.,
about products/services; 5) saving time in searching for products/ Al-Gahtani, 2011; Rauniar et al., 2014). Participants responded to
714 C.A. Lin, T. Kim / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 710e718

these items by indicating their degree of agreement or disagree- low and falls within the range of “strongly disagree” and “disagree,”
ment with whether they intend to purchase products advertised illustrating that on average, consumers are unlikely to make
through the following venues in the future: 1) miscellaneous product purchase via interacting with the Facebook ads that appear
products shown on Facebook's sponsored advertising section; 2) on their “personal” Facebook page.
miscellaneous products shown on one's Facebook storyline; 3) Zero-order correlations between all key variables are also
pricey products shown on Facebook's sponsored advertising sec- shown in Table 1 below. Specifically, all key variables e perceived
tion; and 4) pricey products shown on one's Facebook's storyline. usefulness, perceived ease of use, privacy concerns, intrusiveness
These four items were grouped into a single variable, which ach- concerns, attitudes and purchase intentions e are significantly
ieved a Cronbach's reliability coefficient of 0.97. correlated with each other, except for the lack of correlation be-
tween intrusiveness concerns and perceived ease of use. This sug-
5.1.5. Privacy concerns gests that Facebook users don't evaluate the technical and
This construct was measured by five items adapted from mechanical aspects of Facebook ads e in conjunction with whether
Wolfinbarger and Gilly (2003), on a 4-point scale ranging from they feel that these ads have created disruption or distraction e to
‘hardly ever’ to ‘very often.’ These items inquire whether partici- their normal interface with Facebook pages. Furthermore, none of
pants feel secure about 1) providing sensitive information to the the significant correlations between any two variables are high
Facebook site; 2) keeping personal details private on one's Face- enough to cause a multicollinearity concern for any subsequent
book pages; 3) posting personal information on one's Facebook analyses.
pages; 4) posting personal information on friends' Facebook pages; To confirm the intercorrelations and the factor structure be-
5) texting personal information via Facebook Message service. By tween the key variables, a confirmatory factor analysis was con-
combining these five items, a composite variable was established ducted. Results show a relatively good model fit for the analysis
with a Cronbach's reliability coefficient of 0.88. associated with the sizable sample of the current study (CMIN/
DF ¼ 1.86, CFI ¼ 0.98, RMSEA ¼ 0.04, c2 ¼ 756.98, p < 0.001). A path
5.1.6. Intrusiveness concerns model was then constructed to test all the research hypotheses; the
The concept of intrusiveness was illustrated by five items modeling results did not show a good model fit (c2 ¼ 86.05,
adapted from past research (Li, Edwards, & Lee, 2002) and p ¼ 0.001, CMIN/DF ¼ 28.84, CFI ¼ 0.86, NFI ¼ 0.86, RMSEA ¼ 0.23).
measured with a 4-point scale which ranges from “hardly ever” to In particular, two hypothesized paths in the model e linking
“very often.” participants responded to these items by indicating intrusiveness concerns to perceived ease of use and purchase intent
whether they find advertisements on Facebook to be 1) distracting; e did not reach statistical significance. These two paths were
2) intrusive; 3) irritating; 4) invasive; and 5) interfering. These five subsequently removed and a revised path model was tested. This
items were merged to form a composite variable (alpha ¼ 0.92). revised model generated an improved and good model fit, as
indicated by the model fit index (c2 ¼ 2.43, p ¼ 0.296, CMIN/
DF ¼ 1.22, CFI ¼ 0.99, NFI ¼ 0.99, RMSEA ¼ 0.02).
6. Results
As each of the paths in the revised model attained a statistically
significant standardized beta weight, the research hypothesis
The descriptive statistics reported in Table 1 show that
affiliated with each of these model paths was also confirmed. These
perceived usefulness (M ¼ 2.06, SD ¼ 0.63) and perceived ease of
significant paths hence provide support for H1a-b, H2a-b, H3, H4a,
use (M ¼ 2.43, SD ¼ 0.65) each has a mid-level mean value,
H4a-d, H5a and H5c (see Fig. 2).
reflecting an above-average perception of usefulness and ease of
According to Fig. 2, results show that perceived ease of use of
use associated with Facebook ads. Consumer privacy concern or
Facebook ads is a significant and positive predictor of perceive
feelings of security with Facebook advertising (M ¼ 3.24, SD ¼ 0.65)
usefulness of (b ¼ 0.38, p < 0.001) and attitudes towards those ads
achieves a mean that falls between “hardly ever” or “sometimes,”
(b ¼ 0.12, p ¼ 0.002); these findings supported H1a and H1b,
indicating that consumers not feeling very secure with their privacy
respectively. Similarly, perceived usefulness of Facebook ads was
as Facebook users.
found to positively predict attitude toward Facebook advertising
By comparison, intrusiveness concern with Facebook adver-
(b ¼ 0.37, p < 0.001) and product purchase intention (b ¼ 0.15,
tising (M ¼ 2.58, SD ¼ 0.82) reaches a mean value that falls between
p < 0.001); these results validated H2a and H2b, in that order. H3
“sometimes” and “often,” demonstrating that consumers “some-
was also confirmed by the finding that shows a more positive
time” or “often” feel that Facebook advertising is intrusive in their
attitude toward Facebook advertising is a significant predictor of
“personal space” on Facebook. In terms of consumer attitudes to-
stronger product purchase intention (b ¼ 0.38, p < 0.001).
ward Facebook advertising, the mean value (M ¼ 1.78, SD ¼ 0.62) is
Greater consumer privacy concerns was found to be a significant
low and falls between “strongly disagree” and “disagree,” sug-
but negative predictor of perceived usefulness of Facebook ads
gesting that consumers dislike Facebook advertising. Similarly, the
(b ¼ 0.10, p ¼ 0.017), perceived ease of use (b ¼ 0.23, p < 0.001),
mean value for future purchase intent (M ¼ 1.28, SD ¼ 0.55) is also

Table 1
Zero-order correlations, means and standard deviations for key variables.

Perceived usefulness Ease of use Attitudes Purchase intent Privacy concern Intrusiveness concern

r r r r r r

Ease of use 0.41**

Attitudes 0.50** 0.34**
Purchase intent 0.37** 0.20** 0.53**
Privacy concern 0.19** 0.23** 0.38** 0.38**
Intrusiveness concern 0.18** 0.05 0.27** 0.13** 0.02
M 2.06 2.43 1.78 1.28 3.24 2.58
SD 0.63 0.65 0.62 0.55 0.65 0.82

** p < 0.01 (two-tailed).

C.A. Lin, T. Kim / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 710e718 715

Fig. 2. Revised integrated conceptual model.

attitudes towards Facebook advertising (b ¼ 0.28, p < 0.001), and 2003).

product purchase intentions (b ¼ 0.21, p < 0.001), lending support Descriptive statistics show that consumers have a moderately
to H4a, H4b, H4c and H4d, respectively. Results also show that positive perception of the usefulness and ease of use associated
stronger intrusiveness concerns is a significant but negative pre- with Facebook advertising. While their attitudes toward Facebook
dictor of perceived usefulness of (b ¼ 0.15, p < 0.001) and attitude advertising are moderately negative, the same is true with their
toward (b ¼ 0.19, p < 0.001) Facebook advertising; these findings privacy concerns associated with Facebook use and the intrusive
supported H5a and H5c, in that order. However, intrusiveness nature of Facebook advertising. Consumer intent to purchase
concerns was not relevant to either perceived ease of use of Face- products advertised on a Facebook page is relatively low. This
book advertising or purchase intention, failing to validate H5b and suggests that consumers don't necessarily embrace Facebook
H5d. advertising with any enthusiasm. Even so, these findings don't
In addition, privacy concerns with Facebook use explained 5.4% deviate significantly from how consumer attitudes towards other
of the variance in perceived ease of use of Facebook ads. Privacy forms of advertising (Cheng et al., 2009; Nelson-Field et al., 2013).
concerns with Facebook use, intrusiveness concerns with Facebook All of the hypothesized paths in the original conceptual model
ads and perceived ease of use of Facebook ads combined accounted were supported, except for the paths between intrusiveness con-
for 20% of the variance in perceived usefulness of Facebook ads. The cerns and 1) perceived ease of Facebook-ad use and 2) purchase
same three predictors, along with intrusiveness concerns with intent. These findings show that privacy concerns are a valid
Facebook ads, also explained 37% of the variance in attitudes to- antecedent variable that prompt consumers to consider the Face-
ward Facebook ads. Lastly, perceived usefulness of and attitudes book advertising platform “difficult” to use, as sharing of personal
toward Facebook ads accounted for 33% of the variance in product information is often connected to additional clicks or a click-
purchase intentions. through of sponsored ads. Intrusiveness concerns, which reflect a
“disruption or irritation” to one's Facebook use, did not trigger
7. Discussion consumer perceptions of “difficulty” in accessing Facebook ads.
Instead, they resulted in a “not useful” evaluation of those ads,
This study is among the first to apply TAM in explaining con- which is also a response from those with greater privacy concerns.
sumer response to social media as an advertising platform. Spe- The paths between the rest of the TAM components, including
cifically, the proposed conceptual framework examined 1) whether perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, attitudes and purchase
perceived attributes of social media advertising as a technology- intentions, are all statistically significant as hypothesized and
driven innovation would influence consumer attitudes and pur- proposed by the TAM. These findings thus confirm the results
chase intentions; and 2) whether two external variables e privacy associated with the limited existing research that has examined the
and intrusiveness concerns e would impact perceived attributes of TAM framework in the context of photo-messaging adoption (Hunt
social media advertising. Study results fully validated the TAM et al., 2014), general social network services (Braun, 2013) and
model and the model was able to explain the adoption process satisfaction with social network service use (Shipps & Phillips,
factors related to social media advertising. Specifically, intrusive- 2013). Hence, the TAM appears to be a valid theoretical model for
ness concerns negatively impact perceived usefulness of as well as explaining how consumers consider the Facebook ads e provided
attitude toward social media advertising, confirming past research via an innovative technology platform unique to social media e as
which explored other online marketing contexts such as banking well as process and respond to the advertising stimuli displayed on
and online shopping (e.g., Dash et al., 2011; Khare & Sadachar, their social virtual space.
2014). Privacy concerns have a negative influence on consumers’ Significant paths that were tested for the first time in a modeling
perceived usefulness and ease of use of Facebook advertising analysis e and were statistically validated e include the following.
technology as well as attitude and purchase intentions toward First, negative paths connect intrusiveness concerns to perceived
products advertised on their social media pages, consistent with usefulness and attitudes. Second, negative paths also link privacy
past work addressing e-commerce (e.g., Featherman & Pavlou, concerns to perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, attitudes
716 C.A. Lin, T. Kim / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 710e718

and purchase intention. Hence, intrusiveness concerns only affect shopping (Lee et al., 2008; McCoy et al., 2008). It is possible that
perceived usefulness, but privacy concerns impact both perceived mobile phone users, especially among the younger generations,
usefulness and ease of use. While privacy and intrusiveness con- have become highly accustomed to making purchases online e as
cerns have a direct effect on creating less favorable feelings about well as paying for retail purchases with the use of their mobile
Facebook advertising, intrusiveness concerns have an indirect ef- phones e as facilitated by a variety of mobile apps (Okazaki et al.,
fect and privacy concerns have a direct effect on lower intention to 2012; Shankar, Venkatesh, Hofacker, & Naik, 2010). This type of
purchase products that appear in Facebook ads. mobile shopping behavior via social media advertising highlights
Our study findings thus confirm past work addressing online how the technology modality with which social media users access
advertising and commerce, suggesting that consumer online their Facebook accounts e i.e., via a mobile phone or a tablet (or
information-use activities e such as browsing/interacting with computer) e could have a strong influence on how they perceive
advertising information and ordering products e positively predict the presence of advertising in terms of privacy and intrusiveness.
increased privacy concern among Internet users (Lee et al., 2008; These perceptions in turn could also help determine user purchase
Okazaki et al., 2012). Privacy concerns associated with Facebook intentions and their subsequent purchase actions. Research has yet
use are hence common across all online advertising/shopping to explore the relations between technology-driven social media
venues, including the social media outlets, and can have an impact use and social media advertising effectiveness.
on consumer attitudes and purchase intentions. There are several study limitations to note. First, this exploratory
Likewise, consumer concerns with privacy invasion and intru- survey study did not measure consumer response to specific
siveness of Facebook advertising was also found to have a negative product categories or brands, hence the potential variances for
impact on their perception of usefulness e and their attitudes to- purchase intentions associated with different product categories/
ward Facebook advertising e which is typically tailored based on a brands were not tapped. Second, past web-enabled purchase ex-
Facebook user's online product information search and purchase periences through e-commerce, online shopping and social media
history (Cox, 2011). This finding is consistent with past research venues could have been assessed for testing their potential
indicating that consumers' intrusiveness concern is usually pro- moderating effect on consumer attitude and purchase intention.
voked by the customization of online advertising, which is a strong Third, showing sponsored ads that represent examples of actual
predictor of negative attitudes toward online advertising (McCoy miscellaneous or pricy products to participants e for a closer
et al., 2008). evaluation of this advertising platform e could solicit a real-time
Privacy and intrusiveness concerns notwithstanding, consumers instead of a recall response to enhance measurement reliability.
seem relatively utilitarian in the way that they view Facebook
advertising. In essence, those who view Facebook ads as providing 8. Future research implications
them with easy access to useful product information that they need
e are also more welcoming of sponsored ads that appear on their The current conceptual model tested the complete technology
Facebook account e and are more willing to engage in making acceptance model e including two external variables e privacy and
product purchases via those Facebook ads. This group of “friendly” intrusiveness concerns. It is worth noting that the current study is
Facebook ad consumers might have contributed to the staying among the first to examine the TAM in the context of consumer
power of the “sponsored stories” platform on Facebook. In point of acceptance of social media advertising e as an interactive tech-
fact, Facebook announced the discontinuation of this advertising nology innovation e and a new advertising venue. The findings
platform, due to user discontent (Sullivan, 2014). But these spon- show that TAM is able to successfully explain the relations between
sored ads are still on display today and Facebook users don't seem privacy concerns, intrusiveness concerns, perceived usefulness,
to have the option of “x” out of the ads anymore. perceived ease of use, and attitude associated the interactive
Current study findings also imply that the growth and success of advertising platforms utilized by Facebook as well as their influence
Facebook advertising could be improved if the platform could on consumer purchase intentions.
enhance and align consumer trust with their perceived information Later work could continue to explore whether alternative types
and data privacy (Aguirre, Mahr, Grewal, de Ruyter, & Wetzels, of interactive advertising techniques would be seen as less invasive
2015). In a similar vein, consumers could also be primed or grad- and intrusive on privacy and hence be seen as more useful and
ually oriented to grow accustomed to the presence of Facebook ads easier to use by consumers. For instance, would a more understated
instead of treating them as an intrusive nuisance, so long as the style or “quieter” interactive advertising platform be less intrusive
number of ads come under a “tolerance threshold” (Young & Quan- but also seen as more useful by social media users? Would a small
Haase, 2013). This “low intrusion” strategy seems to have paid off advertising banner/button that enables consumers to access a set of
for Facebook, as it delivered 65% fewer ads by charging advertisers a category-specific ads be seen as less invasive by consumers? Recent
335% higher cost on average from the year before and saw its industry research indicates that interstitial ads on Facebook's mo-
revenue climb sharply to $3.85 billion in the last quarter of 2014 bile platforms have been successful in growing numerous sales (Li,
(Peterson, 2015). Lin, & Chiu, 2014; Valdez et al., 2014). Would interstitial ads that
As Facebook advertising or social media adverting by and large appear on a screen without obstructing Facebook page access be
is still in its early stage of development, borrowing lessons learned viewed as too intrusive? In addition to examining these
from other online advertising venues could be essential. For technology-driven advertising platforms, future research could also
instance, instead of randomly “prodding” its users to “like” or explore what might be the threshold for targeting users with
endorse a product, Facebook users could be incentivized to “like” or tailored ads on their social media accounts. This market knowledge
endorse a product, by receiving discounts for ordering products or would be highly valuable in helping advertisers to formulate a
services that they have endorsed. Alternatively, they could also earn social media advertising strategy that will avoid causing significant
points for redeeming free gift cards or goods by endorsing products privacy concerns to diminish the perceived utility of social media
or services. ads or negative attitudes toward the brands.
The success story of mobile advertising on Facebook is another
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