The tile of the research I have been working on for the past 2018 summer time vacation is “Persuade to Date: A meta-analyses of advertising appeals of online dating applications from American, European, and Asian countries.” The investigation is still in progress, therefore, I will describe the goals, methodology, and what I have learnt from this experience.
We—My Professor, Aditi Paul and me—were working together on discovering persuasiveness of the core messages used by the most popular dating websites within the European, American (Northern and Southern) countries. It will be done by doing a cross-national and cross-continental analysis in order to explore the differences of the advertising appeals. If the differences will be discovered, we will consider among others, cultural, economic, and social factors.
The first thing I had to take care of, was collecting a data set consisting of all the most popular services in a certain country from previously given continents. To find it, I used the Google search where I was typing the following: “online dating application” or “online dating website” and the name of the country I was researching. I assumed that the search results that showed up, were one of the most popular for a certain nation. To extend my data set, I was also using the ratings of the most successful services. It was even more helpful in determining which online dating services are popular in a certain society. Subsequently, I collected their advertising appeals and next, I put all of them into the table. The table was created for each country separately. It consisted of name of the dating service, core message, and the references. On the next step, I had to create an Excel file which will be used as a material for coding. The following information was provided in a given order to each of the excel column: continent, country, advertising message, added features, the original language of the provided advertising message, determination whether the dating service automatically translated the website into English, determination whether the service is global or local, determination whether the service is an application or the website.
After collecting the data (the marketing messages/advertising appeals) from all of the dating websites I found, my Professor prepared a document with seven different motivations which make the potential customers join a certain dating service in order to do coding manual. The motivations are the following:
M1 (Motivation1)- Relationship; fall in love, build a serious relationship etc.
M2-Sex; find a sexual partner, seek someone with the same sexual interests etc.
M3-Peer pressure; because everyone is doing it, to be trendy etc.
M4-Socialize; make new friends, flirt, broaden social network etc.
M5-Entertainment; for fun, combat boredom etc.
M6-Design; ease of use, visually appealing, free of cost, geolocality etc.
M7-Identity; Try new identities, escape from who you are, live out a non-sexual fantasy etc.
The process of coding is time consuming and it requires us to be very careful, objective, and patient. All of the cases from the sample might be different, therefore it is very important to consider them separately. On our last summer meeting we have completed coding motivations for the European nations inter-coder reliability is still pending), we have also been trained on coding the primary visual element of the websites –video/photo, gender, race, and age of the subjects depicted in the primary visual element.
Throughout the research work, my Professor was always supportive, full of patience and open for any questions I had. Before taking any next steps of our study, she was always explaining to me not only the methodology, but also the goals and purposes. As a result, I could understand everything what I was doing, and moreover, this awareness let me ask the questions which were even more helpful in preventing us from being biased.
This experience showed me the importance of having an unbiased and objective approach in order to discover and understand the unknown. This little change in the way we perceive the world can extend the human abilities to get to know more.