In the current big data era, companies and data brokers collect a massive amount of personal data from Internet users through all kinds of implicit and explicit online interactions (including individuals’ online self-disclosure behavior). Within this broad and rapidly evolving domain, we are investigating how individuals process and react to personalized forms of online advertising, their level of advertising literacy and the interactions with their privacy concerns.

Another research theme involves integrated forms of online advertising, in which commercial content is blended with entertainment (i.e., advergames and in-game advertising) or editorial (newspapers) content (i.e., native advertising). Recently, we are also investigating native advertising in online news media, a PhD project in collaboration with the research group MPC. Since traditional banner advertising is under pressure due to low effectiveness and the adoption of ad-blocking software, online news media are seeking new ways to generate revenues. Native advertising is particularly interesting from a communication science perspective because it challenges both the democratic function of news media and the ethics of advertising. In one research project, we are looking at the interplay between critical processing of native advertising content and journalistic quality and reputation.

As a last topic, we also investigate how food is advertised online, both via traditional marketing and newer media. Think of FoodTube, Tasty, Food bloggers, Food gurus, and all other food pictures and information that circulate online.



  • Prof. dr. Karolien Poels: advertising, advertising processing, personalisation, native advertising, advertising effects
  • Prof. dr. Charlotte De Backer: social food studies, social talk, celebrities, dating behaviour, interpersonal relations
  • Prof dr. Michel Walrave: online privacy, sexting, sharenting, cyberbullying, cyber dating abuse, online marketing
  • Prof. dr. Koen Ponnet: media psychology, social psychology, online and offline risk behavior, adolescents, structural equation modeling
  • Dr. Ini Vanwesenbeeck: online marketing, advertising literacy, parental mediation
  • Dr. Brahim Zarouali: consumer behavior, advertising, adolescents, social media
  • Yandisa Ngqangashe: food related media, food literacy on adolescents, adolescents, health communication
  • Simone Krouwer: native advertising
  • Katrien Maldoy: food advertising
  • Dorien Luyckx: native advertising and sustainable business models for online media
  • Evert Van den Broeck: online marketing communication, social media, personalized advertising, privacy
  • Konrad Rudnicki: biomarkers, oxytocin, biopsychology, psychophysiology, psychoneuroendocrinology