How Consumers Use Social Networks to Connect with Food Retailers: Facebook Ads

Posted: May 7, 2012

In our previous article, we discussed how demographics affect what respondents expect from a food business on Facebook. In this installment we describe some of the highlights of the data related to how people interact with business pages by posting content and clicking on a company’s Facebook ad.

To begin, it is important to note that only 18% of the respondents with active Facebook accounts responded that they posted on a business’s page.   However, there were some important differences across demographic groups.  For example, 30% of those in the highest income category had posted on a business’s page. This compares to no more than 23% in any other income group.  Also, as you might imagine, younger respondents were more likely to post on a business’s page. At least 21% of those between the ages of 18 to 48 years old posted.  That figure falls to less 3% for those 65 and older (Table 1).

 Table 1.  Percent of survey participants in each age group that posted on a business’s Facebook page.

Age group
18 to 24
 25 to 36
 37 to 48
 49 to 64
 65 and older


To attract more Facebook users to a business’s page, a business can purchase Facebook ads.  These can be effective as demonstrated by the fact that nearly 54% of our survey participant ts reported that they had clicked an ad.  As seen in Table 2, fewer than 12% clicked an ad to make a purchase. More popular reasons to click on ads included: to visit the business’s website, to “like” the business, or to accept an invitation to an event.

Table 2.  Reasons why survey participants who clicked on Facebook ads. 

Reasons to click on a Facebook ad
Percent of respondents that reported
clicking on such ads
Visit business's website
"Like" the business
 Respond to an event invitation
 Join a group
 Play a game
 Make a purchase


As seen below, younger users were much more likely to click on a Facebook ad (Table 3).  Also, the likelihood of clicking on a Facebook ad increased with the respondent’s education level (Table 4).

Table 3.  Percent of survey participants in each age group who had clicked on a Facebook ad.

Age group
18 to 24
 25 to 36
 37 to 48
49 to 64
65 and older

Table 4.  Percent of survey participants in each education group who have clicked on a Facebook ad.

Education level
Col 2
High school graduate or less
 Some college
 B.S. degree
M.S. degree or higher


Data presented above indicates that younger participants and those with higher levels of education were more likely to click on Facebook ads.  Crafting ads that appeal to these audiences can help promote interactivity.  Once you have developed you Facebook ad, be certain to test its appeal with your target audience.  You may find that their responses alert you about issues that you might not otherwise have noticed. 

In the next article, we will present data that discusses demographic characteristics of those who shares content on Facebook and with whom they are sharing.  To view the entire YouTube series, please visit



Contact Information

Jeffrey Hyde, Ph.D.
  • Associate Director of Programs
Phone: 814-865-5666
Kathy Kelley
  • Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management
Phone: 814-863-2196
Dana Ollendyke
  • Extension Associate
Phone: 814-863-5567