Researchers say paying to boost content is a more viable business strategy.

In an article written by Christopher Maynard in Consumer Affairs according to researchers from Tulane University, “When we think of Facebook, we think of it as a very social platform. Most companies think that those social interactions will lead to more customer loyalty and more profitable customers,” said lead author Daniel Mochon. “That’s not necessarily the case. Customers rarely post on a brand’s page on their own and typically only see a fraction of a brand’s Facebook content unless they are targeted with paid advertising”

“Likes” do not guarantee engagement

The researchers tested their assertions by measuring consumers’ engagement with a wellness program called Discovery Vitality. Participants were able to earn program points by taking part in healthful behaviors like exercising. With this model, the researchers set out to see if people would try to earn more points if they liked the program’s Facebook page.

Invites to like the page and take a survey were sent out to one group, while those who were not invited acted as the control group. After four months, the researchers found no difference between the amount of reward points each group earned, suggesting that simply “liking” the page didn’t make much of a difference.

However, in phase two of the experiment, Vitality paid Facebook to display two of its posts to members who liked the page per week. After two months, those who liked the page earned 8% more reward points than the control group.

Boosting content appears to be more effective.

The researchers think the ads were effective because it boosted Vitality’s reach, ensuring that its content would reach participants’ timelines. They say […]