What Do Facebook Users Feel About Facebook Advertising?: Using an Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to Explore Their Digital Advertising Experiences

What Do Facebook Users Feel About Facebook Advertising?: Using an Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to Explore Their Digital Advertising Experiences

Yowei Kang (National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan) and Kenneth C. C. Yang (The University of Texas at El Paso, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9020-1.ch032
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Because of its popularity and rapid growth, Facebook has become a viable advertising medium for corporations to communicate with their consumers. The experiences of Facebook users are important to ensure the success of any Facebook advertising campaign. This chapter reports the findings from a qualitative study using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) after recruiting Facebook college participants in a large university in the Southwest U.S. The ESM technique is a powerful tool to collect data to demonstrate participants' actual experiences and reflections when using Facebook and Facebook advertising. The authors use a signal contingent protocol to record participants' experiences in using Facebook and Facebook advertising after prompting participants to record their using experiences randomly. The findings will help online advertising researchers to better understand the feasibility of using Facebook as a potential advertising medium through a non-survey-based method to better assess potential impacts on businesses.
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Facebook as a Social Media Platform

Globally, there are 2.94 billion monthly social media users (eMarketer.com, 2019). Among them, Facebook has the largest number of social media users (eMarketer.com, 2019). Facebook is a social networking site that was founded in 2004 by Marc Zuckerburg (Facebook, 2004) and has about 169.5 million users in the U.S. (eMarketer.com. 2018a). Facebook is conceptualized as “a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers” (Facebook, 2004, n.p.). Like other social networking sites, Facebook was originally developed to target teen and adolescent users (MacMillan, 2009). However, recent statistics have shown that less than half of the U.S. Facebook users are between 12 to 17 years old (eMarketer.com. 2018a). The number of Facebook users in the U.S. below 11 years old is expected to decline by 9.3% (eMarketer.com. 2018a). An estimate of 2 million users (below 24 years old) is expected to quit Facebook (eMarketer.com. 2018a). Presently, Facebook has 1,755.1 million users in 2019 and is expected to grow to 2,023.7 million users in 2023 (eMarketer.com. 2019; Enberg, 2019). Other social media platforms have trailed behind Facebook, with Instagram (106.7 million users), Twitter (53.2 million users), Pinterest (78.7 million users), Snapchat (77.5 million users), and Tumblr (18.8 million users) (eMarketer.com. 2019) (Refer to Figure 1 below).

Figure 1.

Social network users, by platform, in the U.S.

Source: (eMarketer.com. 2019)

According to eMarketer.com (2019), the majority of Facebook users have accessed to this social media through their mobile devices (162.2 millions) or smartphone (155.9 millions), followed by desktop/laptop (57.8 millions) and tablet (47.8 millions) (Refer to Figure 2 below). The similar heavy reliance on mobile and smartphone devices is found among Twitter users as well (eMarketer.com, 2019).

Figure 2.

Facebook Users in the U.S., by Device

Source: (eMarketer.com, 2019)

Because of its popularity and rapid growth, Facebook has now been as a viable advertising medium for corporation to communicate with consumers (Yarmis, 2009). Some industry pundits have claimed “Facebook advertising is the most powerful marketing opportunity online” (Carter, 2014, p. 137). Recent statistics in digital advertising seem to support the rosy prediction. According to eMarketer.com’s prediction (2018b), the global digital advertising is expected to grow to USD$327.8 billion in 2019, a rapid increase of 17% from 2018, Facebook is the second largest advertiser with $67.2 billion, lower than Google’s $102.4 billion, but higher than Alibaba’s $30.5 billion (eMarketer.com, 2018b). Actual statistics confirms that Facebook has generated about $63.37 billion advertising dollars in 2019 (eMarketer.com. 2019; Enberg, 2019).

Facebook advertising has played an increasingly important role in today’s multi-platform advertising ecosystem among advertisers and advertising agencies (eMarketer.com, 2016). Practitioners and researchers have attributed these dramatic changes to shifting consumer media consumption behaviors (Swant, 2016a; Yang, 2019). The popularity of multi-platform advertising is because of the evolving practices in today’s advertising landscape. According to Joe Laszlo, VP of Industry Initiatives at IAB, “[i]t's becoming less and less the case that marketers or brands are just looking to reach their chosen audience on a single device or screen at a time—they're looking to get a lot more holistic” (cited by Swant, 2016a). Given the large percent of Generation M (65.6%) as social media users, it is unavoidable that marketers and advertisers will employ social media in their multi-platform advertising campaign (eMarketer.com, 2019). As a result, ValueClick Media and Greystripe (Tode, 2013) also reports that, 75% of 201 media buyers in the survey, said they have seen increased success with multi-platform advertising campaigns. About 89% of the digital media buyers shows that it is essential to target consumers across multi-platforms (Tode, 2013) by including social media platforms such as Facebook.

As a social media platform that offers free access to its service, Facebook relies solely on advertising revenues to support its operation. In 2017, 42% of Facebook operating revenue was from its annual advertising revenue of $18.42 billion (He, 2019). The percentage has been predicted to decrease to 20.6% in 2019, to 18.2% in 2020, and 17.0% in 2021, while Facebook decides to diversity its profile to profit from its new cryptocurrency venture (He, 2019) (Refer to Figure 3 below). As a viable media platform to deliver advertising to the target audience, Facebook advertising has a competitive CPM with that of other platforms. For example Facebook has an average of $5.14 to $9.64 CPM worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2018 (Fisher, 2019b). Facebook’s News Feed ads have an average CPM of $8.35 in the fourth quarter of 2018 (Fisher, 2019b). In terms of its non-video ads, Facebook US CPMs for buy-side companies range from $2.44 to $22.87 in the fourth quarter of 2018, when compared with that of video ads, ranging from $16.27 to $24.87 in the same quarter (Fisher, 2019b).

Figure 3.

Facebook Ad Revenues (2017-2021) in the U.S.

Source: (eMarketer.com, 2019)

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