The Impact of Facebook Fan Page Participation on Customer Behavior: An Empirical Investigation

37 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2015

See all articles by Sharad Borle

Sharad Borle

Rice University

Utpal M. Dholakia

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Siddharth S. Singh

Rice University - Jones Graduate School of Management

Emily Durham

Independent

Date Written: October 22, 2013

Abstract

We report the results of a longitudinal field study, conducted in cooperation with two restaurants, to examine the degree to which participating on a Facebook fan page affects customer behaviors. We assessed customers’ baseline levels of visit frequency and spending. The restaurants then set up Facebook fan pages, maintaining them with regular updates of interesting marketing content. The same customer pools were invited to participate on the restaurants’ respective Facebook fan pages, and five months later, were re-surveyed to reassess their behaviors. Relatively small percentages of invited customers (approximately 2%) became the restaurants’ Facebook fans. Contrary to conventional wisdom, becoming a Facebook fan led to decreased spending per visit, whereas the visit frequency remained unchanged. We also found selective mere measurement effects of survey participation. Customers participating in the first survey visited the restaurant more frequently. The study’s findings raise doubts about the effectiveness of Facebook fan pages in providing direct benefits to firms from the fans in terms of their spending and visit frequency. However, there is some evidence of indirect benefits (e.g. new customer acquisition) that firms can gain from their Facebook fans.

Keywords: Facebook, social networks, social media marketing, online community, mere measurement effect, restaurants

Suggested Citation

Borle, Sharad and Dholakia, Utpal M. and Singh, Siddharth S. and Durham, Emily, The Impact of Facebook Fan Page Participation on Customer Behavior: An Empirical Investigation (October 22, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2555994 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2555994

Sharad Borle

Rice University ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Utpal M. Dholakia (Contact Author)

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Siddharth S. Singh

Rice University - Jones Graduate School of Management ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Emily Durham

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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