Investigating the Effects of Self-presentation at Online Social Network Sites and Brand Pages on Offline Purchase Behavior



The emergence and rapid growth of social media platforms in the form of brand communities have spurred significant popular interest in recent times. However, despite the growing economic importance of brand presence on social media, little is understood about whether and how user engagement with these brand communities benefits product sales in brick-and-mortar stores – the so-called online-to-offline (O2O) conversion problem. In this study, we combine a large real-world dataset from a popular social network site (SNS) with the loyalty card dataset from a brick-and-mortar Asian fashion retailer to study the offline purchase behavior of the SNS brand community members. We present evidence that individuals upon joining the retailer’s brand community reduce their offline purchase expenditure on average. However, using a combination of text mining and statistical approaches, we show that this reduction is significantly attenuated for some individuals who self-present more than others on the SNS. The findings from our study not only illuminate our understanding of the offline economic impacts of online self-presentation, but also present novel ways of performing behavioral targeting of online users.

Mr. Prasanta Bhattacharya is a Ph.D. candidate and Research Assistant with the Department of Information Systems in the School of Computing at National University of Singapore (NUS). His research interests lie broadly in the area of computational social science, where he leverages statistical and computational approaches for studying human behavior in large social networks and other online communities.
Prasanta's research is largely inter-disciplinary and has been presented at leading Computer Science, Information Systems, and Marketing conferences worldwide. He holds Masters and Undergraduate degrees in Software Systems and Computer Science respectively, and has worked with teams at the eBay Center of Excellence (India), Microsoft Research India and Rakuten Institute of Technology (Consumer Behavior Lab, Singapore). In his research, he also works extensively with industry collaborators spanning search engines, micro-lending, telecom, video streaming and aviation sectors.