Social Advertising Eﬀectiveness Across Products: A Large-Scale Field Experiment
Marketing Science, forthcoming
61 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2020 Last revised: 19 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 25, 2020
Most of the empirical evidence on social advertising effectiveness focuses on a single product at a time. As a result, little is known about how the effectiveness of social advertising varies across product categories or product characteristics. We therefore collaborated with a large online social network to conduct a randomized ﬁeld experiment measuring social ads effectiveness across 71 products in 25 categories among more than 37 million users. We found some product categories, like clothing, cars and food exhibited signiﬁcantly stronger social advertising effectiveness than other categories like ﬁnancial services, electrical appliances and mobile games. More generally, we found that status goods, which rely on status-driven consumption, displayed strong social advertising effectiveness. Meanwhile social ads for experience goods, which rely on informational social inﬂuence, did not perform any better or worse than their theoretical counterpart search goods. Social advertising effectiveness also signiﬁcantly varied across the relative characteristics of ad viewers and their friends shown in ads. Understanding the heterogeneous effects of social advertising across products can help marketers differentiate their social advertising strategies and lead researchers to more nuanced theories of social inﬂuence in product evaluation.
Keywords: social networks; social inﬂuence; social advertising; product; heterogeneity; ﬁeld experiments
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