Can social networks make consumers spend more money or eat more food? Some believe using Facebook promotes higher self-esteem. When we feel better ourselves, do we follow fewer restrictions? One marketing professor at the Columbia Business School, and another from the University of Pittsburgh conducted research that they say shows how the use of social networks can influence behavior by reducing self-control, concluding that sites like Facebook have a significant influence on judgment.
The theory, supported by five studies analyzing self-esteem and self-control, suggests that social networks promote high self-esteem, and that "enhanced self-esteem from browsing a social network will momentarily lower self-control, leading people to display less self-control after browsing a social network compared to those that did not browse a social network."
Intent will play a bigger role, as Facebook begins to use other verbs like "love" and "want." Along with the speculation that Facebook will build out a hybrid display network to support the ability to serve up ads across the Web and on publisher sites could shed a little light on its initial multibillion-dollar stock valuation from investors.
Skip to part four in the study. It aims to demonstrate using Facebook can lead people to become more indulgent or impulsive. In theory, social networks decrease self-control by enhancing self-esteem for those focused on strong ties while browsing the network.
Study five analyzes the relationship between Facebook use and behaviors associated with poor self-control in health and personal finances. If just five minutes of Facebook usage lowers self-control, then we would expect to be able to detect a positive relationship between the amount of time a person spends using Facebook and behaviors associated with poor self-control.
The research does not analyze the influence search has on search queries, but that's a topic marketers will discuss in December at the Search Insider Summit in Park City, Utah. How much of that judgment transfers into searches on engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, and then conversions on merchant and retail sites?
So what would happen if Facebook built out a hybrid ad network, a combination of AdWords and the Google Display Network, to serve up and share content across the Web? A hybrid Facebook ad network would generate higher revenue by supporting some of the company's most effective ads like Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories on publisher sites, or other social networks. The model could also support search ads with images, similar to Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on some of the smaller search engines that today rely on Google or Bing.
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