Multivariate Testing Confirms the Effect of Age and Gender Congruence on Click-Through Rates from Online Social Network Digital Advertisements

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A key benefit of web-based technology is the enhanced computational ability to tailor and personalise content using explicit online user profiles. While some degree of customisation has long been regarded as positive, too much personalisation to the point of perceived privacy intrusion can be detrimental. This study uses multivariate testing of an advertisement campaign on the online social network Facebook to investigate the extent to which digital advertising, personalised to specific age and gender groups demographics (age and gender congruent) influences user engagement and increases click through rates. The study achieved a total of 659,522 impressions (i.e. number of users who were exposed to the personalised advertisements and had the opportunity to engage). Moreover, a total of 1,733 unique clicks were recorded. Using N-1 Chi-square testing, this study found that a combined age and gender congruency yielded statistically significantly greater click-through ratios in comparison to non-congruent (non-personalised) online advertisements (p<0.05). As an example, the click through rates by younger male users increased by over threefold when a young-male model appeared in the imagery. The implication is that online content that is personalised to the user’s age and gender demographic increases active user engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-654
Number of pages9
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2018



  • Congruence
  • Personalisation
  • Online advertisements
  • Online social network
  • Facebook
  • Digital advertising

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