Adding Personality Type as a Factor in Social Ad Targetting

School of Journalism
Edson Tandoc Jr.
From Missouri School
of Journalism
Heather Shoenberger
Edson Tandoc Jr., a Filipino and former reporter along with Heather Shoenberger recently published a study in the International Communication Association Conference in Arizona detailing their discovery regarding the online habits of social media users and its ties to personality types

Entitled Self Presentation in Social Networking Sites, the study details how certain personalities could be identified and categorized by how much and what they post on their social networking profiles.

The study has been billed to have to the potential to further improve social media ad targeting by identifying personality types based on a scale that the team has come up with.


Interestingly, both "reserved" and "aggressive/appetitive" social media users tend to use social media frequently despite the differences in the precise way they use it. As noted in the Inquirer article, reserved users tend to scroll along their feeds while aggressive users actively visit and participate in online activities that are considered as high risk.

See: Missouri School of Journalism Article

Practical Uses
In relation to this, in an online conversation I had with online entrepreneur RJ David the founder of Filipino online ad giant, I was quite surprised to learn that in their recent campaign which consisted of television ads, billboard placements, Google adwords and Facebook ads - the ones that gave them the most results were still from their television advertisement spot - quite surprising since the bulk of their target market conducts business online. 

Now I don't have access to the precise numbers, but offhand, I see this in the purview of a general Filipino population that's still very much hooked on free television. 

Now in relation to this, one of the possibilities that could be gleaned from the study is mentioned by Ms. Shoenberger herself when she said that, "Identifying these individuals using the motivation activation measure can give advertisers an advantage over their competitors and bring some order to online advertising."

What is the motivation activation measure

It's the scale that the team has come up with to find the trends in social media behavior. 

To me, it introduces a whole new demographic or category on how we see social media users together.

For instance, if you want to advertise on Facebook, you have to take into account the following factors:

  • Geography
    • Country 
    • Town
    • Postal Code
  • Age Bracket
  • Gender
  • Precise Interests
  • General Interests 
  • Social Connections
  • Sexual preferences (Interested in)
  • Relationship Status
  • Language
  • Education 
  • Workplace

With this study, the possibility of "personality type" being added into the fray actually makes a lot of sense. Without having to go through Psychology 101, it's a worthy thought to pursue given that even if you are able to target an extremely specific market and try to sell them, it's entirely possible that the ad that you're crafting may be too aggressive or too bland for them to notice.

Ad targeting that takes into consideration personality as a factor could further improve the efficiency of many, many social campaigns.