Blog 2: Great Research Experience: Progress

Since the beginning of the year, we have started to finalize the project work because of the fact that we applied for the International Communication Association (ICA)conference. Intensified progress generated some problems associated with cleaning up the dataset, establishing new coding manual methodology, and therefore, appropriate coding which I found challenging and time-consuming.

First of all, me and my professor had to clean up the data set to prepare a fundamental database determining the quality of the subsequent coding. It was done by verifying each website’s advertising appeal in order to keep a consistency in the methodology of collecting the data set. For example, Badoo for Argentina has its Argentinian subdomain (Badoo.com/Argentina) but in Google search results, after typing “online dating in Argentina”, there was a link Badoo’s main website (Badoo.com). We decided to collect the adverting appeals from both sources. It is because of the fact that the subdomain targets specifically an Argentinian audience (therefore, the advertising message is adjusted to appeal to this nation). Moreover, we kept an advertising appeal from the main website, to be consistent with our rule of collecting what shows up in the Google search results (which is described in detail in the previous blogs). After we went through this long process of improving the data set, we started to do the same thing with the coding process.

Even though the coding methods (of the online dating services’ advertising appeals) were prepared few months before I started the actual coding while applying the concepts into practice, me and my professor, found out that we have some disagreements in how we understand the coding instructions. We determined the disagreements in the following way. We both coded the same sample data—consisting of 106 cleaned-up websites— on our own in order to compare the work by matching our coding. When we found any differences (in how we coded a website), we thoroughly discussed our reasoning and logic behind the way we coded it. Sometimes, it required us to change the coding specifications since they were too general or not applicable in practice.

Subsequently, when we clarified any disagreements, my professor let me code all the dataset. This part is still in progress. However, I already know that it is a very responsible assignment since my coding will be directly used for the analysis. Not only it requires me to work on it for not too long (to prevent myself from making mistakes) but also, I have to be very precise, consistent with the established methodology, and objective. It challenges me, but after putting much efforts into this work, I will be proud of the quality and reliability of our research findings. That is why I am even more motivated to act!

The work let me and my Professor ask the following questions:

  • Which motivation is the most frequently occurring across all websites?
  • Which motivation is the least frequently occurring across all websites?
  • Which motivation occurs more in Europe vs South America vs  North America?

The most popular motivation refers to the M7 (Motivation 7) which stands for the design of the website since most of the dating services talk about the fact that it is for free. The least frequently occurring one is M2 which stands for sex. It is astonishing for me because I thought that this category would be more commonly applied as a part of the online dating websites’ marketing.  However, I have noticed that in the South American countries the visual and text appeals tend to be more sexually suggestive, whereas in the European countries the messages appeal by talking about family, love, or happiness. The US has the most hook up dating services but this number is still not as high as I expected it to be. Therefore, I am more and more excited about the ending results of the research since the analysis can reveal very astonishing information

Persuade to Date: A meta-analyses of advertising appeals of online dating applications from American, European, and Asian countries.

The title of the research is: Persuade to Date: A meta-analyses of advertising appeals of online dating applications from American, European, and Asian countries. The study will examine the advertising appeals and messages used by the online dating services. We will discover persuasiveness of the core messages used by the most popular dating websites and applications within the European, American (Northern and Southern), and Asian countries.  What is more, we will do a cross-national and cross-continental analysis which will explore any potential differences—between the types of the advertising appeals—which may exist.  If the differences will be discovered, we will consider cultural, economic, and social factors.

To find the most popular dating websites and applications for each country from given continents, 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 outcomes (websites and applications) that showed up, were one of the most popular for a certain nation. What is more, I was also using the ratings of the most successful services if they popped out in the Google search results. It was even more helpful in determining which online dating services are popular in a certain society. Subsequently, I collected their advertising appeals and 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.

Furthermore, I determined the most essential and significant parts of these marketing messages based one the following criteria: emotional, wealth, religion, social influence (other do, so do I) etc. 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- Aditi Paul prepared a sheet 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-Indetity; Try new identities, escape from who you are, live out a non-sexual fantasy etc.

Next, we coded the following aspects of the appeals our team collected:

  1. whether an appeal mentions a sexual orientation (by referring to LGBTQIA),
  2. whether any of the appeals mentions a religion orientation

Subsequently, we started to code the visual aspects of the samples:

  1. a primary visual element (video, photo, no element, or other)
  2. composition of the primary visual element (single, couple, or group),
  3. apparent race of the apparent visual element,
  4. apparent age of the primary visual element
  5. social distance of the primary visual element (intimate, close personal, far personal, far social, public)
  6. coding dress (demure, suggestive, partially clad, nude, not applicable)

This experience will teach me how to collect and manage data, have an objective approach, and do coding. Moreover, I have already taken a Statistics class, so I can apply the theory—I got to know from this class—into practice. This research is one step towards knowing how to understand the world.  It is done by finding the variables whose dependence we examine and by trying to explain why there are correlated, we discover new things, become more open, and develop ourselves. This is also what I expect from this study.

Persuade to Date: A meta-analyses of advertising appeals of online dating applications from American, European, and Asian countries – Final Report

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.

PART II: Persuade to Date: A meta-analyses of advertising appeals of online dating applications from American, European, and Asian countries.

After collecting the data (the marketing messages/advertising appeals) from all of the dating websites I found, my Professor- Aditi Paul – prepared a sheet 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-Indetity; Try new identities, escape from who you are, live out a non-sexual fantasy etc.

 

However, before this step, we had to discuss some problems that arose while working on our research.  One of them was the determination of what the advertising appeal is. It is essential because, in order to compare the motivations of these marketing messages, we have to choose and know how to choose the same text-meaning our advertising appeal. Hence, I got to know that all the applied methods have to be the same for each element of the sample. Therefore, we decided that the advertising appeal is the most visible inscription which shows up after going to the website, without scrolling it down. Sometimes, when this rule cannot be applied, depending on a case, we established how to deal with it (i.e. when the advertising appeal is visible on the window tab of the web browser, we choose it as an advertising appeal even though there are some inscrolled-down inscriptions on the website). This was challenging for us because there were so many different instances to consider.

Furthermore, another problem we had was connected to the server we use. Because we work on American ones, the dating websites search results were dedicated to specific minorities who live in America and look for people from their community (i.e. dating website Expatica dedicated to French people who live in the US). Probably, some of these search results would not pop out, if we were looking for the dating services in a certain country (i.e. Expatica might not show up in France). After discussions, we got to a point that even though these search results might not occur in a specific country, the dating services are still trying to convince a certain group of people no matter whether they are in the US or in anywhere else (i.e. Expatica will still try to appeal to French people, meaning that they will consider their culture, behaviors, traditions etc. which meets our research’s target- which is to analyze different motivations which reflect among others cultural differences that make people be willing to join a certain app).

Thanks to these hardships, I know how careful you should be, to find the most objective and unbiased results of the study. I can say that it already helps me because it lets me realize that before reading an article about new discoveries, the methods used by its authors indicate the reliability of the information. Therefore, now I know that the first thing I should do before reading a paper is to look at the way someone explored something.

Currently, I am working on coding manual which is the coding of the messages according to already mentioned seven motivations.

 

Persuade to Date: A meta-analyses of advertising appeals of online dating applications from American, European, and Asian countries.

The title of the research is: Persuade to Date: A meta-analyses of advertising appeals of online dating applications from American, European, and Asian countries. The study will examine the advertising appeals and messages used by the online dating services. We will discover persuasiveness of the core messages used by the most popular dating websites and applications within the European, American (Northern and Southern), and Asian countries. What is more, we will do a cross-national and cross-continental analysis which will explore any potential differences—between the types of the advertising appeals—which may exist. If the differences will be discovered, we will consider cultural, economic, and social factors.

To find the most popular dating websites and applications for each country from given continents, 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 outcomes (websites and applications) that showed up, were one of the most popular for a certain nation. What is more, I was also using the ratings of the most successful services if they popped out in the Google search results. It was even more helpful in determining which online dating services are popular in a certain society. Subsequently, I collected their advertising appeals and I put all of them in a table. The table was created for each country separately where there were the following columns: name of a dating service, its core message, and the references. Furthermore, I determined the most essential and significant parts of these marketing messages based on different criteria: emotional, wealth, religion, social influence (other do, so do I) etc. 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 columns: 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.

This research is one step towards knowing how to understand the world. It is done by finding the variables whose dependence we examine and by trying to explain why there are correlated, we discover new things, become more open, and develop ourselves. This is also what I expect from this study. However, this experience teaches me how to collect and manage data, have an objective approach, and do coding. Moreover, I have already taken a Statistics class, so I can apply the theory—I got to know from this class—into practice.