Study: Facebook Users Who Feel Good About Themselves Feel Good About Ads

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 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?