Friends Fans Followers Essay

5667 Words May 25th, 2012 23 Pages
Friends, Fans, and Followers:
Do ads Work on Social Networks?
How Gender and age Shape Receptivity
DaVID G. TaYLoR sacred Heart university taylord44@sacredheart. edu
JEFFREY E. LEWIN

social-networking sites (sNs) such as Facebook and Twitter are growing in both popularity and number of users. For advertisers and the sites themselves, it is crucial that users accept advertising as a component of the sNs. Anecdotal evidence indicates that social-networking advertising (sNA) can be effective when users accept

university of North Texas

it, but the perception of excessive commercialization may lead to user abandonment.

jeffrey.lewin@unt.edu

Empirical support for these propositions, however, is lacking. Based on media
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Some 1,500 customers—each

that the propensity of unwanted and unsolicited

with an average of 150 friends—agreed to post

advertising messages contributed significantly to

recommendations, which the company estimates

MySpace’s woes (Vara, 2006).

resulted in approximately 225,000 positive adver-

These concerns suggest a delicate balancing act

tising impressions (York, 2009). Faced with declin-

for social-networking advertising (SNA). On one

ing sales in the wake of safety recalls, Toyota used

hand, advertising provides revenue that enables

a combination of YouTube videos and Facebook

sites to survive (or, in some instances, to thrive).

pages to promote its Sienna minivan. Creating a

On the other hand, overt and/or excessive com-

fictional couple who “believe they are cool despite

mercialization in the form of advertising can dilute

all evidence to the contrary” (Elliott, 2010), the

the appeal of SNSs. Thus, the key to successfully

automobile manufacturer broadcast a series of vid-

integrating advertising into SNSs is consumer

eos through the YouTube site, then solicited Face-

acceptance (i.e., positive attitudes toward SNA).

book fans, combining both forms of social media.

Consumers appear to be willing to accept SNA, but

Within a few weeks, each of the YouTube videos

sites that do not manage advertising carefully may

had been sought out and viewed an estimated

be

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