Marketing Hw Please provide two reflections total in 2 page . Focus your reflections on the following readings: • “Neuromarketing: What You Need to Know.”

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Please provide two reflections total in 2 page . Focus your reflections on the following readings:

• “Neuromarketing: What You Need to Know.” Do you think you are likely to use neuromarketing techniques? (in Harvard Course Reader)

• “What’s the Value of a Like?” Leslie K. John, Daniel Mochon, Oliver Emrich, Janet Schwartz (in Harvard Course Reader).

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PUBLISHED IN HBR
MARCH–APRIL 2017

ARTICLE
MARKETING
What’s the Value
of a Like?
Social media endorsements don’t work the way you might think.
by Leslie K. John, Daniel Mochon, Oliver Emrich, and Janet Schwartz

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

WHAT’S
THE
VALUE
OF A
LIKE?
SOCIAL MEDIA
ENDORSEMENTS
DON’T WORK
THE WAY YOU
MIGHT THINK.

Brands spend billions of dollars
a year on elaborate efforts

to establish and maintain a
social media presence. Think
of the live-streamed video of
a man setting a world record

by skydiving from 128,000
feet (Red Bull) and the strange
tweets sent from a supposedly

hacked Twitter account that
in fact originated with the
company itself (Chipotle). HOL

LO
W

AY
/G

ET
TY

IM
A

G
ES

BY LESLIE K. JOHN,
DANIEL MOCHON,

OLIVER EMRICH,
AND JANET SCHWARTZ

FEATURE WHAT’S THE VALUE OF A LIKE?

2 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW MARCH–APRIL 2017

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

FOR ARTICLE REPRINTS CALL 800-988-0886 OR 617-783-7500, OR VISIT HBR.ORG

MARCH–APRIL 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 3

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

Facebook is the preferred platform: 80% of Fortune
500 companies have active Facebook pages. Each day
enormous amounts of brand-generated content—arti-
cles, photos, videos, and so on—appear on those pages
and on other social media platforms, all designed to
entice people to follow, engage with, and buy from
brands. Even the U.S. State Department seems enam-
ored of acquiring followers, having spent $630,000
from 2011 to 2013 to garner Facebook likes.

Marketers often justify these invest-
ments by arguing that attracting social me-
dia followers and increasing their exposure
to a brand will ultimately increase sales.
According to this logic, recruits who socially
endorse a brand by, for example, liking it on
Facebook will spend more money than they
otherwise would, and their endorsements
will c ause their friends (and friends of
friends) to shop—creating a cascade of new
business. At first glance the evidence seems
to support this rationale: Many brands have
discovered that customers who interact
with them on social media do spend more
money than other customers. A recent in-
fluential study by comScore and Facebook
found that compared with the general
population, people who liked Starbucks’s
Facebook page or who had a Facebook
friend who liked the page spent 8% more
and transacted 11% more frequently over
the course of a month.

But that study and others like it contain
a fatal logical flaw: They confuse cause
and consequence. It’s possible that getting
people to follow a brand on social media
makes them buy more. But it’s also possible that
those who already have positive feelings toward a
brand are more likely to follow it in the first place,
and that’s why they spend more than nonfollowers.
In 23 experiments conducted over the past four years
and involving more than 18,000 people, we used an
A/B testing method to explore a crucial counterfac-
tual: what followers would have done had they not
followed a brand. Given the millions of dollars in
marketing budgets that flow to social media at many
companies, the distinction is not trivial. It has enor-
mous implications for marketers’ resource alloca-
tions and for how they manage their brands’ social
media presence.

In our experiments, we gradually added com-
plexity to test four increasingly interactive ways in
which Facebook might affect customers’ behavior.

First, we tested whether liking a brand—that is,
passively following it—makes people more likely
to purchase it. Second, we examined whether peo-
ple’s likes affect their friends’ purchasing. Third, we
examined whether liking affects things other than
purchasing—for example, whether it can persuade
people to engage in healthful behaviors. Finally, we
tested whether boosting likes by paying Facebook
to display branded content in followers’ news feeds

inc reases the chances of meaningful behav ior
change. We chose to use Facebook in our experi-
ments because it is the dominant social network, but
we believe that our findings apply to other popular
platforms as well.

The results were clear: Social media doesn’t work
the way many marketers think it does. The mere act
of endorsing a brand does not affect a customer’s
behavior or lead to increased purchasing, nor does
it spur purchasing by friends. Supporting endorse-
ments with branded content, however, can have sig-
nificant results. And given that social media pages
are gathering places for loyal customers, they can
offer brands a unique source of customer intelligence
and feedback from a crucial cohort. Armed with this
knowledge, marketers can build new, more success-
ful social media strategies.

IN BRIEF

THE QUESTION
Brands spend billions of
dollars each year on lavish
social media campaigns.
But do those campaigns
increase revenue?

THE PROBLEM
Marketers often confuse
cause and consequence.
It’s possible that getting
people to follow a brand
on social media makes
them buy more—but it’s
also possible that those
who already have positive
feelings toward a brand are
more likely to follow it in
the first place, and that’s
why they buy more.

THE OPPORTUNITY
To get the most out of social
media efforts, companies
must combine “push”
and “pull” marketing,
supporting likes with
branded content.

THE MERE ACT OF
LIKING A BRAND
ON FACEBOOK DOES NOT
AFFECT A CUSTOMER’S
BEHAVIOR OR
INCREASE PURCHASING,
NOR DOES IT SPUR
PURCHASING BY FRIENDS.

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.

4 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW MARCH–APRIL 2017

FEATURE WHAT’S THE VALUE OF A LIKE?

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

FOR ARTICLE REPRINTS CALL 800-988-0886 OR 617-783-7500, OR VISIT HBR.ORG

MARCH–APRIL 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 5

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

6 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW MARCH–APRIL 2017

FEATURE WHAT’S THE VALUE OF A LIKE?

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

TESTING THE EFFECTS OF LIKES
Basic psychological principles give reason to suspect
that liking a Facebook page could indeed change be-
havior and increase sales. Research has shown that
people experience “cognitive dissonance” when their
actions don’t reflect their beliefs, so it would stand to
reason that a social media user who endorses a brand
on Facebook would be more likely to buy it. Yet that’s
not what we found.

In one of our first studies, conducted by two of
us (Leslie John and Oliver Emrich) and our Harvard
Business School colleagues Michael Norton and Sunil
Gupta, half the participants were invited to like a new
cosmetics brand on Facebook; most accepted. The
other half did not receive this invitation. All partic-
ipants were then given coupons for a free sample—
redemption would serve as a proxy for purchasing.
Members of the two groups were equally likely to re-
deem the coupon; it didn’t matter whether they had
been invited to like the Facebook page or not. This
finding held in subsequent studies, in which we in-
creased the length of time between proffering the
invitation to like and extending the coupon offer; it
also held when we ran the experiment with a variety of
new and existing brands. Across 16 studies, we found
no evidence that following a brand on social media
changes people’s purchasing behavior.

In our second set of experiments, we sought to
determine whether liking a page influences the be-
havior of online friends. When people like a brand on
Facebook, their endorsement is typically broadcast to
a subset of their network. Any subsequent engagement
with the brand—likes, posts, comments, and shares—
also appears in some of their friends’ news feeds. In
classic marketing, word-of-mouth endorsements by
peers have been shown to increase sales. But the value
of endorsements may be lower on social media, for a
couple of reasons. First, on many platforms, including
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, following does not
guarantee brand exposure for either endorsers or their
friends. Facebook’s algorithms determine what con-
tent appears in a user’s news feed, and a user’s liking of
a brand is broadcast to only a very few friends (without
this intervention, users would be exposed to an aver-
age of 1,500 posts daily). Second, some Facebook users
appear to like brands indiscriminately or for various
one-off reasons—to get a discount, say.

To test the effects of social media endorsements,
we asked 728 people who had recently liked a brand
for the e-mail addresses of three friends. We sent each
friend a coupon for one of the brand’s products, varying
the information provided about the referral. In each

group, one person was told that his or her friend liked
the brand in the conventional, offline sense and had
sent the coupon. The second person was told that his
or her friend liked the brand on Facebook and had sent
the coupon. The third person was told only that his or
her friend had sent the coupon; people in this category
made up the control group.

We then compared coupon redemption rates among
the three categories. We found that 6% of those told
about an offline endorsement redeemed the coupon,
whereas just 4% of those told about a Facebook like did

YOU’LL NEED:
A METRIC. What is your goal in acquiring likes? Is it to increase sales, change
offline behavior, or accomplish something else? Your metric should reflect behavior
that is measurable. For some metrics, such as sales, measurement is pretty
straightforward; for others, such as brand attitudes, you may need to do extra
work, such as administer a survey.

AN INVITATION METHOD. You need to invite people to like your page. One simple
way is to obtain e-mail addresses of people in your target market.

THEN FOLLOW THESE STEPS:
ACQUIRE LIKES. Invite half your sample to like your page; this is your “treatment
group.” The other customers form your control group. Record the group to which
each customer is assigned.

CONFIRM YOUR ASSUMPTIONS. Check to see whether the liking induction
worked—you need to make sure that a good chunk of people took you up on the
invitation. You can approximate the number by looking at the increase in your
Facebook followers at the time you issued the invitation.

ADVERTISE. Run some advertising on Facebook to expose your new recruits to
your marketing messages. You can do this by paying to promote posts.

CHECK YOUR RESPONSE. Measure the behavior you defined up front. Say it’s
sales: If the average spend of those in the treatment group is higher than the spend
of those in the control group, the difference is the value of a like. Of course, your
results will contain some “noise”; for example, you might miss the purchases of
people who check out using an e-mail address that’s different from the one you
have on file. To increase accuracy, aim for a large sample size and make sure that
your e-mail list is as current as possible.

Marketers often find it hard to prove the ROI of social media
investments. Here’s an easy way to quantify the value of recruiting
people to like your Facebook page.

MEASURING THE RETURN ON FACEBOOK LIKES

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This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

so. And the redemption rate among the control group
was 5%; that is, liking a brand on Facebook had no
enhancing effect on the purchasing habits of friends.

THE DIVIDE BETWEEN DIGITAL
AND REAL-WORLD BEHAVIOR
In our final set of experiments, two of us (Daniel
Mochon and Janet Schwartz) and Duke University’s
Dan Ariely partnered with Karen Johnson, an exec-
utive at Discovery Vitality. An insurance
company based in South Africa, Vitality of-
fers its customers a comprehensive wellness
program. People earn points for engaging in
healthful behaviors, such as exercising, buy-
ing nutritious groceries, going for routine
physicals, and getting vaccines; the points
can be redeemed for rewards. The company
wanted to know whether getting custom-
ers to like its Facebook page would affect
those behaviors. To find out, we invited all
new Vitality customers to participate in an
online survey about Vitality and Facebook,
during the course of which a randomly se-
lected group was invited to like Vitality on
Facebook, with the others forming a control
group. We monitored the points accumu-
lated by customers in both groups over the
next four months.

By virtue of having liked Vitality, the cus-
tomers in the first group could engage with
the company on its Facebook page—a space
in which it invests heavily. The page has in-
novative branded content, including an app that lets
people share their health success stories, ask ques-
tions of health experts, and participate in polls about
upcoming fitness activities. But unless customers
intentionally visit the page, this content is unlikely
to appear in their news feeds, even if they have liked
the company; Facebook’s algorithms will probably
filter it out. Therefore, we suspected that Vitality’s in-
vestment in branded content on its page might be for
naught. Indeed, when we compared the two groups
of participants, we found no difference in behavior;
those who had been invited to like the Facebook page
accumulated no more points than the others. Once
again, merely liking a page did not change behavior.
Put another way, liking a company that offers flu shots
does not translate into getting a flu shot.

UNLOCKING THE POWER OF LIKES
The good news is that there is a way to convert likes
into meaningful behavior, and it’s straight out of the
20th-century marketing playbook: advertising. Each

year Facebook collects more than $22 billion in ad
revenue. Most of that comes from brands seeking
to circumvent the platform’s algorithms by paying
to guarantee that their content will be prominently
displayed to large numbers of users.

A follow-up experiment with Vitality, using the
liking and control groups from the first experiment,
proved that this approach can be effective. Over a two-
month period, Vitality paid Facebook to display two
posts a week to members of the liking group. This made

a difference: Participants in this group now earned 8%
more points, on average, than people in the control
group. Considering how challenging it can be to get
people to go to the gym, buy healthful food, and under-
take other wellness measures, that’s a profound result.

What does all this mean for marketers? As social
media swelled in popularity over the past 10 years,
many predicted a revolution in marketing strategy.
It wasn’t uncommon to hear about the end of “push
marketing” (in which brands promote and advertise
their goods and services) and the rise of “pull mar-
keting” (efforts to draw customers in through social
media and other channels). “More judo, less karate”
became a popular aphorism. But our research sug-
gests that marketing on social media will be inef-
fective if it uses only pull tactics. The modern social
media marketing playbook should combine new and
traditional approaches.

Make likes work for you. Facebook does not cur-
rently give companies the option of paying it to high-
light the posts of engaged customers, something our
research suggests could provide significant value by

THERE IS A WAY TO
CONVERT LIKES INTO
MEANINGFUL BEHAVIOR,
AND IT’S STRAIGHT OUT
OF THE 20TH-CENTURY
MARKETING PLAYBOOK:
ADVERTISING.

8 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW MARCH–APRIL 2017

FEATURE WHAT’S THE VALUE OF A LIKE?

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

influencing behavior. Savvy firms could overcome
this obstacle by monitoring their social media chan-
nels for eloquent endorsements and integrating those
endorsements into their marketing messages. The
athletic apparel brand Lululemon collects favorable
customer-generated content by tracking hashtags
(such as #thesweatlife) and retweets it. The fashion
retailer Free People adds customers’ Instagram pho-
tos to its product pages. And in a holiday promotion,
Lamar Advertising’s billboards displayed photos that
people had tagged with #ThankfulThisHoliday. More
brands could also adopt the increasingly common
practice of “seeding” social endorsements by paying
influencers to try the brand and send endorsements
to their followers. This tactic has spawned several new
platforms, such as ReadyPulse, that automatically
match brands with appropriate influencers.

Make endorsements meaningful. Another rea-
son why liking a brand does not influence online
friends is that liking is a very weak endorsement; our
research shows that it doesn’t carry the same weight
as a real-world recommendation. Yet research by
MIT’s Sinan Aral and colleagues has shown that en-
dorsements, and referrals more generally, can spur
action. One experiment demonstrated that people
were more likely to download and use an app if a
friend recommended it than if they were merely told
that their friend had downloaded it. Other experi-
ments indicate that “deeper” social media endorse-
ments could close the effectiveness gap between
real- world and digital recommendations. For exam-
ple, a study found that Facebook posts indicating that
a Facebook friend is using a product—not just that he
or she likes it—increase the chances that a member
will use the product too. The effect is pronounced
when product users send their friends personal mes-
sages of recommendation. However, encouraging
this level of engagement with a brand can be difficult
and expensive.

Our research suggests that when it comes to high-
lighting customers’ engagement, brands will find
it fruitful to choose online postings and other user-
generated content that are more creative and meaning-
ful than simple likes. For example, TripAdvisor informs
users browsing a hotel which of their Facebook friends
have booked there. In the political realm, a campaign
to increase voter turnout found that telling people a
friend has voted makes them more likely to vote. A
word of caution, though: This tactic can raise privacy
issues. Facebook discontinued its social ads—ones
showing the profile pictures of friends who like the
product at hand—in part because of privacy concerns.

Use “pull” marketing to find your best custom-
ers, and listen to them. One reason Facebook adver-
tising can be effective is that a brand’s social media

page reaches a highly desirable audience; likes illu-
minate a path for targeting ads. Yet even if a brand
decides not to spend money advertising, it can use
its social media channels to gain intelligence from its
most loyal customers. This need not entail recruit-
ing new followers through flashy content and other
lures; in fact, such tactics might backfire by attracting
people who are not strongly attached to the brand.
Companies pursuing this option should favor organic
growth, letting customers seek out the brand. Almost
by definition, the people who go to the trouble of find-
ing a brand on social media will be its most devoted,
and thus most valuable, customers. As a group, these
customers are a great asset: They will enthusiastically
provide feedback to improve product development,
management, and delivery; defend the brand against
unjustified complaints; and be early adopters of and
evangelists for new offerings.

For example, Lego uses its social media channels to
gather customers’ ideas for new products and to tout
new product lines. MyMuesli, a German maker of cus-
tomizable granola, asked customers to publish images
of their own granola mixes on Instagram and subse-
quently sold some of the customer- created products
through its website. The Dutch airline KLM clearly
uses its Twitter account as a customer feedback tool;
in addition to responding to customers’ tweets,
the airline shows that it is listening by prominently
posting its estimated response time in its Twitter
header (and updating it every five minutes). Knowing
that their voices will be heard can make customers
more willing to offer information and might even
cause them to be more civil when they (inevitably)
have complaints.

AS SOCIAL MEDIA has grown as a marketing channel,
so too has enthusiasm for its potential to drive sales.
Yet a recent survey of 427 marketers at U.S. companies
showed that 80% are unable to quantify the value of
their social media efforts. And in a study of Fortune
500 companies, 87% of CMOs acknowledged that they
can’t document that social media creates new custom-
ers. Our research helps explain why marketers are frus-
trated by social media—they are using it the wrong way.
Amplifying efforts with advertising can provide higher
returns on investment while creating an opportunity
to connect with the most-loyal customers.

HBR Reprint R1702H

LESLIE K. JOHN is an associate professor of business
administration at Harvard Business School. DANIEL MOCHON

is an assistant professor of marketing at Tulane University’s
Freeman School of Business. OLIVER EMRICH is a professor of
management and social media at the Johannes Gutenberg
University of Mainz. JANET SCHWARTZ is an assistant professor
of marketing at the Freeman School of Business.

FOR ARTICLE REPRINTS CALL 800-988-0886 OR 617-783-7500, OR VISIT HBR.ORG

MARCH–APRIL 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 9

For the exclusive use of K. Tang, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Katherine Tang in MGT 247 Advertising & Promotions Winter 2021-22 taught by Margaret Campbell, University of California – Riverside from Dec
2021 to Apr 2022.

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