The Impact of Facebook Fan Page Participation on Customer Behavior: An Empirical Investigation
37 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2015
Date Written: October 22, 2013
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
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