Editorial

by Wera Aretz

The relevance of new media for commercial and private purposes has rapidly increased in recent years. Today, more than 50 million people in Germany use the Internet; all age groups are represented – and usage is particularly strong among users […]

The relevance of new media for commercial and private purposes has rapidly increased in recent years. Today, more than 50 million people in Germany use the Internet; all age groups are represented – and usage is particularly strong among users aged 14 to over 60 (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft, 2011).

A review of current statistics on Internet usage makes clear that the Internet has become a fixed part of everyday life and is used for a wide variety of applications. Along with classic applications designed for information and contact (e.g. sending and receiving e-mails, searches using search engines, weather and news) instrumental-transaction-oriented usage components, such as online shopping and online dating, are on the rise as well:

96.9 percent of Internet users – or approx. 49 million individuals – made online purchases in 2010. This makes online shopping one of the most widespread uses on the Internet spectrum today (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft, 2011).
As for the search for partnership, there are more than 2,000 online German-language contact exchanges and partnership agencies available today. Their membership numbers totalled an estimated 54.4 million users in 2008 (Pflitsch & Wiechers, 2009).

The significance of the Internet can also be seen in a marked increase in online advertising activities in all sectors of the economy (Nielsen, 2010; Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft, 2011). Between 2009 and 2010, depending on which study one consults, growth in online advertising expenditures was put at 1.8 % (Nielsen, 2010) or 2.7 % (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft, 2011). Advertising expenditures paid out in Germany in 2010, totalling EUR 25 bn, break down in a percentage-based measure across classic media such as television (43.7 %), print media (newspapers and periodicals) (37.2 %) and the Internet (9.5 %). The Internet is thus the third-strongest advertising medium today.

Given the dominant role of the Internet in the private and business setting, applied psychology faces the task of examining individuals’ experiences and behaviour in their dealings with classic advertising and classic media, on the one hand, and with online media on the other, as a means of generating sound recommendations applicable to real-life practice.

With a total of six articles, this special issue of the Journal of Business and Media Psychology offers the latest findings from the field of advertising-impact and media research and discusses the practical implications of these findings

  1. Consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence and effectiveness of advertising. Construction of a German version of the ‘CSII’ scale and testing for the use in media and advertisement psychology [Beeinflussbarkeit und Werbewirkung Erstellung einer deutschsprachigen Version der Skala ‘CSII’ und Test für die Medien- und Werbepsychologie], by Jens Woelke & Andrea Dürager
  2. „Brighter, bigger, better…!?“ The impact of creative aspects in illuminant advertising on the visual attention and recall ability of consumers [„Heller, größer, bunter…!?“ Der Einfluss gestalterischer Aspekte der Lichtwerbung auf die visuelle Aufmerksamkeit und die Erinnerungsleistung von KonsumentInnen], by Björn Badura, Sanaz Maafi & Annette Kluge
  3. Online consumer behavior and its relationship with socio-demographics, shopping orientations, need for emotion, and fashion leadership [Das Verhalten von Online-Konsumenten und dessen Beziehung zu soziodemographischen und den Faktoren ‚shopping orientation‘, ‘need for emotion’ und ‚fashion leadership‘], by Dina Burkolter & Annette Kluge
  4. Materialism, self-esteem, satisfaction with life and media usage [Materialismus, Selbstwert, Lebenszufriedenheit und Mediennutzung], by Peter Michael Bak
  5. ‚Think it all over‘ – Why Reversible Decisions Do Not Make Us Happier [‘Du kannst es dir ja noch mal überlegen’ –Warum uns reversible Entscheidungen nicht zufriedener machen], by Georg Felser
  6. Impression formation in online-dating situations: Effects of media richness and physical attractiveness information, by Katja Mierke, Wera Aretz, Anna Nowack, Roland Wilmsen, and Tim Heinemann

Literature

Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (2011). OVK Online-Report 2011. Available at:
http://www.bvdw.org/presseserver/ovk_online_report_2011_01/ovk_online-report_2011_01.pdf
(05.12.2011).

Nielsen Company (2011). Trade – Consumers – Advertising: Germany 2010 [Handel – Verbraucher – Werbung: Deutschland 2010]. Available at: http://de.acnielsen.com/site/documents/Nielsen_D2011_internet_23.08.pdf
(05.12.2011).

Pflitsch, D. & Wiechers, H. (2009). The Online Dating Market 2008-2009 [Der Online-Dating-Markt 2008-2009]. Available at: http://www.singleboersen-vergleich.de/presse/online-dating-markt-2008-2009.pdf (5 July 2010).