Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Consumer processing of interactive online advertisements

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posted on 2021-12-08, 11:27 authored by McLaren, Lachlan

The internet is a computer mediated environment that facilitates the interaction between firms and consumers. This inherent interactivity gives marketers the opportunity to provide consumers with more engaging advertisements. Instead of a largely passive audience characteristic of broadcast and print media, advertising on the internet involves interaction between marketer and consumer, resulting in a consumer that is more active in the communication and persuasion process. In an interactive medium, the consumer can also interact with marketing messages in real time. This was not possible with print and broadcast advertising, therefore, understanding how this interaction influences advertising persuasiveness is important. The key research question for this study is what effect does interactivity within an online advertisement have on consumers’ attention to, processing of and attitude towards the ad? This research applies established information processing theory in an online context to develop a conceptual model of the effects of interactivity on consumer processing of advertisements. Using an online experiment to collect data this study manipulates interactivity within an online banner advertisement and tests the conceptual model using structural equation modelling. The results indicate that consumers pay more attention to online advertisements that are interactive and that the increased attention leads to an increase in processing of the advertisement and a more favourable attitude towards the ad. In addition those who interacted with the advertisement had more favourable thoughts about the advertisement. Previous effects of interactivity on processing and attitude towards the advertisements were not observed. A possible explanation is the assumption of attention to the advertisement made in previous studies. Instead this study suggests that interactivity cannot influence consumer processing of advertisements without the consumer first paying attention to the advertisement. The findings of this study contribute to the domains of interactivity and information processing theory through clarifying questions about the ability of interactive advertising to engage consumers and demonstrating the effectiveness of information processing theory to explain how consumers process interactive messages. Future research directions are outlined that include investigating what interactive features in advertisements are most engaging for consumers and combining self-report measures with more objective methods to provide a more comprehensive understanding of how consumers process interactive messages.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Marketing and International Business


Thirkell, Peter; Gazley, Aaron