Do consumers prefer brands that appear on their Facebook pages?

Dec 13, 2011

You are likely to identify with a brand that advertises alongside your personal information on a Facebook page (especially if you have high self-esteem), according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The same ad will have less impact if you view it on a stranger's page.

"The vast majority of marketing exposures are experienced under conditions of low attention and little cognitive involvement," write authors Andrew W. Perkins (University of Western Ontario) and Mark R. Forehand (University of Washington, Seattle). "The current research demonstrates that identification can form even in these low-involvement conditions if the brand is merely presented simultaneously with self-related information."

This concept, called "implicit self-referencing," suggests that consumers don't need to own, choose, or endorse a brand to identify with it. The authors believe this occurs because most consumers possess high self-esteem and when brand concepts are linked to consumers' self-concepts, some of those positive feelings rub off onto the brands.

In one experiment, the authors asked participants to sort fictitious brand names with terms related to "self" or "other"; their attitudes toward the "self" brands were more positive. In another experiment, they found that the effect was stronger for individuals who had higher self-esteem. And in a third study, they demonstrated that the effect occurs when brands are simply presented near consumers' personal content on a social networking site.

Participants were instructed to compare the interfaces of two social networking sites (Facebook and hi5) while fictitious car ads rotated through banner ads. Later, participants reported that they much preferred brands that had appeared (without them being conscious of it) on their own pages. "These results show that the car brands did not benefit from Facebook directly, but rather from their proximity to the consumers' personal content."

" are increasingly comfortable posting a wealth of personal information online, and such digital extroversion certainly creates opportunities for marketers to effectively target and embed their appeals," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Precarious work schedules common among younger workers

More information: Andrew W. Perkins and Mark R. Forehand. "Implicit Self-Referencing: The Effect of Non-Volitional Self-Association on Brand and Product Attitude." Journal of Consumer Research: June 2012 (published online September 20, 2011).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

When will a message of social responsibility backfire?

Jul 14, 2011

Consumers don't react positively to all messages of corporate social responsibility, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The message needs to line up with consumers' mindsets and understanding of the ...

Recommended for you

Precarious work schedules common among younger workers

12 hours ago

One wish many workers may have this Labor Day is for more control and predictability of their work schedules. A new report finds that unpredictability is widespread in many workers' schedules—one reason ...

Girls got game

13 hours ago

Debi Taylor has worked in everything from construction development to IT, and is well and truly socialised into male-dominated workplaces. So when she found herself the only female in her game development ...

Computer games give a boost to English

Aug 28, 2014

If you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary. It has now also been scientifically proven that someone who is good at computer games has a larger ...

Saddam Hussein—a sincere dictator?

Aug 28, 2014

Are political speeches manipulative and strategic? They could be – when politicians say one thing in public, and privately believe something else, political scientists say. Saddam Hussein's legacy of recording private discussions ...

User comments : 0