Antecedents of Awareness of Branded Posts on Facebook: Based on Exclusive Service Products Within the Leisure and Tourism Industry, For the German-speaking Market

Sandra Oefinger

Student thesis: Master thesis


Academic literature that provide concrete suggestions about content for advertisements, specifically on social channels, is considered to be limited. Content, that is effective in generating awareness on other channels, might not be successful on social channels, thanks to their unique characteristics. This thesis presents drivers for awareness of branded Facebook posts. The study is based on exclusive service products such as exclusive vacations, sports or restaurants, for the German-speaking market. First, with the means of secondary scientific research, a theoretical framework is established. Mixed data collection methods are used to test the theory, specifically, for its applicability to Facebook. Through qualitative data analysis, feedback on the model is obtained, deeper insights are generated, and the main concepts are identified. Based on the outcome, hypotheses are formulated, which are tested through quantitative analysis. Finally, managerial implications are provided. The participants in both the empirical methods were young or middle-aged German-speaking Facebook users, all of whom possessed a higher education or a job. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants, selected by the researcher, from April 14th to 23rd, 2016. The persons were exposed to factitious posts in an artificial Facebook mobile News Feed, which was developed for this study. The interviews have been analyzed through thematic coding. Following this, a survey was published in 15 different Facebook groups of universities across Germany, from May 19th to May 22nd, 2016, resulting in 265 answers that were usable. The respondents evaluated their level of awareness of stimuli and of responses toward posts. The survey’s results have been analyzed through Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), using the method of Partial Least Squares (PLS). It was found that the stimuli categories creative stimuli (consisting of aesthetic cues), content stimuli (consisting of unusual or novel content), and social stimuli (consisting of a Facebook friend as post-initiator) influence responses. Users respond toward the stimuli with interest, which is characterized by a curiosity about the posts, willingness to read the post, and intention to receive more insights about a topic and/or with emotion, which is predominantly characterized by joy, trust and/or surprise. The results were considered significant, based on a selected significance level of t (5000) > 1.96, p < 0.05. Furthermore, the two responses interest and emotion were found to influence each other. Compared to creative and content stimuli, the quantitative research indicated that social stimuli might influence responses to a lower extent. However, the reason for this could be that just a few branded posts are yet initiated by Facebook friends of users. The research provides no support for a particular primary response or for relationships between particular stimuli and responses. Managers might use this research as a set of guidelines for planning content, which covers the suggested stimuli categories. Additionally, by indicating the responses toward posts, this research suggests concrete variables, on which KPIs for measuring awareness can be defined.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages211