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Consumer Attitudes

Find the latest and most impactful research on consumer attitudes and behavior, including drivers and trends, here. All the research listed comes from the ARF or one of its subsidiaries: The Journal of Advertising Research (JAR), the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) or the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM). Feel free to bookmark this page, as it will be updated periodically.

Social Media Has the Potential to Influence Undecided Voters

  • JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

How do information sources shape voters’ political views in our increasingly polarized society? New research compares the effects of mainstream media and social media on U.S. consumers who vote Democrat, Republican or identify as undecided. The findings point to the powerful potential influences of social media, especially on undecided voters, such as in determining the outcome of presidential elections. The study also suggests political marketing strategies to influence potential voters.

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A Blueprint for Managing Transparency Messages in Influencer Marketing

  • JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

With influencer marketing a fixture in many brands’ communications strategies, managing disclosures about these relationships gets tricky. A new study offers insights into conditions for transparency that can affect an influencer’s authenticity and engagement, depending on that person’s community size and the source of disclosure—whether the influencer, the platform or a lack of a message or no source.

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Emphasizing the Negative Builds Trust in CSR Environmental Messaging

  • JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

As counterintuitive as it sounds, this study shows that companies in environmentally unfriendly industries are perceived as more trustworthy when they use negatively framed messaging focused on reducing the damaging impact of their production processes, rather than on positively framed messages that tout benefits. Building such trust, in turn, elicits favorable consumer intentions and behaviors.

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Will Pandemic-Diven Consumer Habits Persist?

  • MSI

While many businesses were disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic, there were some others who discovered new opportunities. The pandemic also made available new methods of study to assess the changes which occurred in consumer behavior due to Covid. Today, there are questions as to what pandemic-induced behaviors will hang on for the long haul and which will fall away as the pandemic recedes. For instance, will the success of food service delivery continue?

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Does Alexa Make Humans More Humane?

  • MSI

Do digital voice assistants make website navigation easier? Not necessarily, according to this MSI working paper. Researchers found that a sense of “social presence” created by such assistants can evoke social norms. And so, these devices can in fact predispose consumers to more prosocial behavior, such as donating to important causes and tipping.

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  • Article

MSI: How Bad Is a Bad Product Review?

Ever wonder what the impact of one negative review is on a product? Researchers in this MSI award-winning working paper were able to quantify this recently, from a retailer’s “newest first” review display policy. In technology and home and garden products, a single critical opinion had a detrimental impact that was two-fold, the study found. It increased the probability of continuing to search and to competitors while decreasing the purchase probability. Read the article.

What’s Behind Consumer Recall of Brands Co-Appearing in TV Programs?

  • JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

Consumers’ short- and long-term memory and recognition of brands that co-appear in television programs is affected differently when the juxtaposed products are either in the same or different categories, and when the brands are either familiar or unfamiliar, new research shows. The findings are intended to help strengthen product placement strategies and decisions around choosing the right co-appearing partners.

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The ARF's 4th Annual Privacy Study

  • ADVERTISING RESEARCH FOUNDATION

One of the ARF’s most anticipated reports, the 2021 Privacy Study surveyed 1,280 American consumers from May 14 to the 26, 2021, via a Qualtrics online sample and platform. This report contains perennial questions regarding mobile and PC usage, willingness to share digital data, trust and how well privacy terms are understood. In the latest report, as in the 2020 version, we added questions about the acceptability of using personal data under various circumstances and for various purposes.

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  • Article

MSI: Peers vs. Fears: How Ambivalence and Norms Shape Consumer Decisions

How does ambivalence affect consumer choice, when it comes to deciding whether to consume alcohol, recreational drugs or certain foods or beverages—like energy drinks. This ambivalence creates arousal, which causes the consumer to focus attention on the immediate, positive outcomes of such a choice. However, it also engages a moderating effect, their awareness of their peers’ behavior when faced with such decisions.  Read the article.