Advertising Content and Consumer Engagement on Social Media: Evidence from Facebook
Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business
University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department
Stanford University - Graduate School of Business
July 1, 2016
We describe the effects of social media advertising content on customer engagement using Facebook data. We content-code more than 100,000 messages across 800 companies using a combination of Amazon Mechanical Turk and state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing and machine learning algorithms. We use this large-scale dataset of content attributes to describe the association of various kinds of social media marketing content with user engagement - defined as Likes, comments, shares, and click-throughs - with the messages. We find that inclusion of widely used content related to brand-personality - like humor, emotion and brand’s philanthropic positioning - is associated with higher levels of consumer engagement (like, comment, share) with a message. We find that directly informative content - like mentions of prices and availability - is associated with lower levels of engagement when included in messages in isolation, but higher engagement levels when provided in combination with brand-personality content. We also find certain directly informative content such as the mention of deals and promotions drive consumers’ path-to-conversion (click-throughs). These results hold after correcting for the non-random targeting of Facebook’s EdgeRank (News Feed) algorithm, so reflect more closely user reaction to content, rather than Facebook’s behavioral targeting. Our results suggest therefore that there may be substantial gains from content engineering by combining informative characteristics associated with immediate leads (via improved click-throughs) with brand-personality related content that help maintain future reach and branding on the social media site (via improved engagement). These results inform content design strategies in social media. Separately, the methodology we apply to content-code large-scale textual data provides a framework for future studies on unstructured data such as advertising content or product reviews.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 59
Keywords: consumer engagement, social media, advertising content, marketing communication, large-scale data, natural language processing, machine learning, selection, Facebook, EdgeRank, content engineering.
JEL Classification: M3
Date posted: September 26, 2013 ; Last revised: August 9, 2016