Investigating the Effects of Personalization on Brand Love: A Study of Facebook

Trang P. Tran, East Carolina University

Trang P. Tran (PhD, University of North Texas) is Assistant Professor of Marketing at East Carolina University. His research interests are in brand management, social media marketing, and service marketing. His research has been accepted or published in several journals such as the Journal of Macromarketing, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Computers in Human Behavior, International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, among others.


This paper investigates how personalized advertising affects customer brand relationship in social media. In particular, this paper develops and tests a conceptual model that captures the impact of perceived personalization on customer brand relationship through an online survey where respondents are free to describe a personalized ad they see on their Facebook.

Eight hypotheses are developed and tested using PLS-SEM. The results show that all hypotheses are accepted except for Hypothesis 7 (the effect of self-expressive brands on brand love). More specifically, the findings confirm that personalized advertising has an impact on consumer perceptions of a brand. Stated differently, as long as customers perceive an advertising to be personalized, their perceptions about the brands being advertised generally become more positive. Additionally, the levels of consumer brand engagement, brand self-expressiveness and consumer brand connection are enhanced by perceived personalization and brand love can be improved by consumer brand engagement and consumer brand connection. However, brand love is not affected by brand self-expressiveness.

This study is developed after cooperation between IBM and Facebook with its purpose to provide a better advertising solution for marketers. The findings from this research show that this type advertising could change customer perspectives of the brands advertised and ultimately improves customer passion of and emotion about the brand (or brand love). This study also provides empirical results to strengthen the belief that social commerce companies could now apply a unique marketing tool – personalized advertising – to accomplish their marketing goals.

The research sheds light into advertising literature investigating the effects of personalization in traditional media (Baek & Morimoto, 2012; Pavlou & Stewart, 2000; Tam & Ho, 2005) and into understanding the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). This research helps better understand key factors affecting brand love through a study of personalized ads in social media.