How Young Adults Respond to Personalized Ads on Facebook
Personalized advertising on social network sites, like Facebook, has a positive effect on young adults’ consumer responses, a study in the Journal of Interactive Advertising shows. When young adults perceive ads on Facebook as personalized, they feel the ad is more relevant. As a result, they are more positive about the advertised brand and more likely to click on the ad. Young adults’ attitude toward Facebook also plays a role in how they respond to ads on Facebook, but only for low-involvement products (goods that are purchased after minimal effort and consideration).
- When young adults actually perceive personalized ads on Facebook as personalized, they feel the ad is more relevant. As a result, they are more positive about the advertised brand and more likely to click on the ad.
- An effective personalization strategy is to personalize Facebook ads based on gender, for example directing a perfume ad solely to women or solely to men.
- Young adults’ attitude toward Facebook also plays a role in their willingness to click on personalized Facebook ads, however, only when the product advertised for is a low-involvement product (good that is purchased after minimal effort and consideration).
- For advertisers and marketers targeting young adults it’s interesting to know that personalized advertising on social network sites can result in more positive consumer responses. However, this is only the case when young adults perceive the ads as personalized. Additionally, they should be aware that when low-involvement products (e.g., vacuum cleaners) are promoted, it is important to take the target groups' attitude toward the social network site into account.
Do personalized ads on Facebook influence young adults’ intention to click on the ad and their attitude toward the advertised brand?
Study 1: 155 undergraduate and graduate students from a Belgium university (mean age: 21 years old; 30% were men)
Study 2: 153 undergraduate and graduate students from a Belgium university (mean age: 21 years old; 26% were men)
Study 1: The young adults were shown either a personalized perfume advertisement on Facebook based on gender (for men with the text “For men with confidence” and for women with the text “For women with confidence”) or a generic perfume ad (with only the name of the fictitious perfume brand “Confiance” in it). The ad was shown on the right-hand side of the screen next to user’s newsfeed. The young adults were asked to provide their own name and the names of five friends beforehand, in order to personalize the Facebook pages that were shown to them individually. Afterwards, the young adults were asked to indicate how personalized they perceived the Facebook ad, and how relevant the information in the ad was to them. Intention to click on the ad, attitude toward the advertised brand, and attitude toward Facebook were obtained as well.
Study 2: The same procedure as in study 1 was followed, however in this study young adults were shown a Facebook ad for a vacuum cleaner. They either saw a personalized Facebook ad based on gender (for men with the text “Because men know what is important” and for women with the text “Because women know what is important) or a generic Facebook ad (with only the name of the fictitious vacuum cleaner brand “Dust Devil” on it).
Facts and findings
- Young adults who perceived the perfume ad as personalized rated the ad as more relevant, which in turn resulted in a more positive attitude toward the perfume brand and a higher intention to click on the ad, as compared to young adults who did not perceive the ad as personalized.
- Attitude toward Facebook played no role in how young adults responded to the Facebook ad for perfume.
- According to the researchers, an explanation could be that perfume is a high-involvement product (good that is purchased only after long and careful consideration), which made young adults more willing and motivated to process the ad, regardless of their attitude toward Facebook. Therefore, in study 2, it is tested whether a low-involvement product (a vacuum cleaner) result in different findings.
- Comparable to study 1, the results showed that young adults who perceived the vacuum cleaner ad as personalized, rated it as more relevant, which in turn resulted in a more positive attitude toward the advertised brand and a higher click intention. However, contrary to study 1, young adults’ attitude toward Facebook did play a role in their responses to the ad: those who perceived the vacuum cleaner ad as personalized, had a higher intention to click on the ad when their attitude toward Facebook was more positive.
- This implies that especially for low-involvement products (e.g., vacuum cleaners) it is important that consumers like the social network site the ad is placed on. For high-involvement products (e.g., perfume) this is less important.