Consumers are more likely to identify with brands’ ads when placed next to personal information on their Facebook pages, compared with on strangers’ pages, finds a new Journal of Consumer Research study. What’s more, the higher the Facebook user’s self-esteem, the more positive his or her attitudes are likely to be toward the brand (if, that is, the ad relates to the self).
“Consumers 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,” said study author Andrew W. Perkins, a professor of marketing at the University of Western Ontario, in a press release.
In the concept studied, known as implicit self-referencing, the positive sensations a person with high self-esteem experiences when viewing his or her Facebook page can translate into a positive experience with the brands placed near the personal information on that page, especially when brand concepts tie into consumers’ self-concepts.
“The vast majority of marketing exposures are experienced under conditions of low attention and little cognitive involvement,” said study author Mark R. Forehand, a professor of marketing at the University of Washington, Seattle, in a press release. “The current research demonstrates that brand identification can form even in these low-involvement conditions if the brand is merely presented simultaneously with self-related information.”
Among the experiments, one found that participants related more positively to brand names related to “self,” compared with those related to “other” on Facebook; another found that the higher the person’s self-esteem, the more powerful the effect. A third experiment found that the effect occurs when brands are presented near consumers’ personal content on the social-networking site.
“The brands did not benefit from Facebook directly, but rather from their proximity to the consumers’ personal content,” Forehand added.
The study, titled “Implicit Self-Referencing: The Effect of Non-Volitional Self-Association on Brand and Product Attitude.” will appear in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. It has been published online already.
Readers: Do you think you would be more likely to respond to an ad placed near your personal content on Facebook?