How can simply browsing on Facebook influence the consumer decision making process?
Insights from research at HEC Lausanne-UNIL – While we now all agree that social media play an important role in our purchasing decisions, do we really understand their true side effects, which are more subtle but equally powerful? The recent research carried out by Tobias Schlager, professor at HEC Lausanne-UNIL, and his co-author Christian Hildebrand (University of St. Gallen), sheds light on the Facebook's conventional effect on consumers’ subsequent choices.
Social media have been studied by numerous research projects. Until now, marketing specialists had tended to focus on their direct impact on consumers’ shopping pathways. Prof. Tobias Schlager at HEC Lausanne and his co-author, however, wanted to understand the extent to which consumer behaviour could be influenced more generally, notably when they simply browse the news feeds on Facebook without any particular intention of making a purchase or looking for products or services.
The Facebook's conventional effect
They were able to show that, because of the fundamental nature of Facebook, users are sensitive to other people’s opinions and therefore tend to go with the majority view to avoid criticism. Consumers who use Facebook regularly would therefore tend to make more conventional choices.
As a result, how can a business promote a product or service that it wants to position as less conventional or even extraordinary?
Find out more in the article on our research blog, which outlines the results of their work and shows how and on what basis the researchers developed their theory.
Get to know more about:
- Prof. Tobias Schlager: Tobias Schlager is Assistant Professor of Marketing at HEC Lausanne, University of Lausanne. His research interest focuses on the consumer decision making in computer-mediated environments and with a focus on the consequences of novel phenomena as gamification, social interactions, and virtual-mixed reality.
- The Department of Marketing strives to improve our knowledge and understanding of exchange processes by taking into account the objects of exchanges, market actors, and their environment, to help develop marketing strategies. The research carried out focuses in particular on the role of the consumer in an international and multicultural perspective as well as on the implementation of marketing policies that are ethical and useful to society.
par Giulia Svanascini