Brand engagement patterns of South African facebook users.
The evolution of the internet from Web1.0 to Web2.0 ushered in social sharing, and led to the advent of hundreds of social networking tools being used by millions of individuals online. This is the technology on which social networking sites like YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook are based, and is one of the fastest growing segments of the web. These platforms enable both businesses and individuals to connect with each other with the most popular platform being, Facebook; but is this an effective platform to create brand equity? The focus of this study was to examine the behaviour of South African Facebook users, in order to better understand their interactions with brands and companies on this platform. At the time of this study the only research available was the TNS Digital Life Study which was expensive. No other freely available research regarding how South African Facebook users engaged on this platform was available; this presented a gap in the market which heightened the need for the study. Flowing from the aim, thestudy objectives and research instrument was constructed. The sample comprised 532 respondents of which 408 were valid responses; all respondents were South African Facebook users. An electronic questionnaire was created and hosted online at QuestionPro.com and data analysis was completed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The preferred sampling technique utilised was non-probability convenience sampling. The study researched, amongst other objectives, Facebook user interaction across traditional media platforms. It also investigated television advertisement viewing behaviour the findings of which revealed that only 7 percent of respondents ‘Always’ watched television advertisements. The objectives of the study were all met and investigated South African users in terms of their frequency of Facebook access, the duration of time spent on this platform, the technology used to access Facebook, whether users would ‘Like’ a brand and the extent of engagement with brands. Based on the findings it is recommended that Facebook is an effective platform for brands and individuals to interact, and this interaction has an impact on the return on investment for business, and this platform would not replace but enhance traditional marketing tools.