Network failure: digital technology in sponsored search advertising

Bavdaž, Aleksandra (2022) Network failure: digital technology in sponsored search advertising. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The current study advances understanding of sponsored search advertising (SSA) by exploring failures in networks of SSA tools and human actors. SSA represents a novel form of information technology-bound marketing practice that has rapidly proliferated marketing over the last 25 years. The confluence of search technology and advertising has redefined how contemporary marketing is practiced, causing significant redistribution in marketing spent, advertising activity and the emergence of new actors. These shifts have attracted significant interest with rapidly growing number of studies addressing matters around SSA strategy, including various SSA features and functions.

In radical departure from mainstream SSA literature, the current study adopts a practice-based view to provide a more nuanced understanding of how the networks of human and technological actors emerge, are stabilised and fail in SSA. By casting SSA as networked practice, the study highlights social construction and the dynamic, multiple and fluid nature of SSA. Actor network theory (ANT) theoretically frames failure in SSA and the networked nature of human and nonhuman actors that contribute to it.

The study adopts a qualitative research design, where the data was collected through a 7-month ethnography and the data set includes semi-structured and insitu interviews, day-to day (participant) observations, images, field notes, secondary data and a detailed research diary. The data is anchored on events made up of relations – the principal units of analysis.

The findings are presented as a set of ethnographic stories from problematised events. They show how SSA dynamism, fluidity and multiplicity can only be acknowledged accurately enough if human and nonhuman actors in networks are followed in their attempts to build heterogeneous relations. This enables enactment of several new actors, intentions and roles from the Google advertising practice in a specialised SSA agency. The findings provide novel insights that address several gaps in the marketing literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Morgan-Thomas, Professor Anna and Duffy, Dr. Katherine
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82944
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 13:29
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 13:32
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82944

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