Targeting college students on Facebook? How to stop wasting your money

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While Facebook usage has seen explosive growth, scant research has explored returns on advertising dollars marketers invest in this emerging medium. Our two-stage study of 18- to 25-year-old college students suggests that many of the advertising dollars consumer goods firms spend on Facebook are likely wasted. This study highlights that, in addition to staying in touch with friends and relatives, Facebook users are primarily motivated by three desires: (1) to voyeuristically peer into others’ lives, (2) to create a distinctive identity for themselves, and (3) to act on their inner narcissistic tendencies. These motivations also make them poor prospects for advertisers, as users seem disinterested in Facebook ads and disengaged from marketers’ attempts to build brands. Herein, we discuss challenges for marketers, as well as opportunities for building brands and driving sales via Facebook.




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