Social Media Networks: Can They Make You Spend More Money?

According to researchers, the answer to the question is a yes. Further, the user’s social media platform preference indicates how much he/she will spend.

Last year, two social scientists from Facebook said in a blog that content available on the platform has an effect on the mental health and mood of users, even if they consume in a passive manner. According to the blog post authors David Ginsberg, director of research, and Moira Burke, a research scientist, the recent studies that blame the social media for the increase in depression, alienation, and anxiety are very convincing. They cite various findings that indicate direct relationships between clicking links and “likes” and a reduced feeling of mental health.

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It Has Everything to Do With Emotions

Research has also shown that spending a lot of time on social networks makes you feel either better or worse. However, new studies reveal information on spending caused by the unregulated use of social media. A study carried out recently by two researchers from business schools reveals that social media can make you spend money without ant control.

Keith Wilcox, a researcher at Columbia University, and Andrew T. Stephen, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, were trying to find out the negative effects caused by social media following reports that these networks helped people feel associated, contributed to improving their pride, and made them happy. The researchers were aware that in addition to feeling good about them, happy people allow themselves to be less guarded. This means that the emotions reduce self-control.

The study, which involved approximately 1,000 U.S. users of Facebook, found out that people with strong social media network presence who spent more hours on Facebook had inferior scores of credit as well as more debt of credit card when compared with those that had a weaker network and were less active on social media. The study also noted that heavy users of social media network were less persistent when it came to completing tasks after their time on social media.

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Stephen refers to an experiment wherein people were asked to use Facebook for short period of time and then directed to an auction site that is similar to eBay-type. They were asked to bid for an iPad. It was observed that those that had stronger social media networks bid for up to 30 percent more compared to the same device at brick and mortar store.

In addition, the study pointed out a relationship between overeating and social media usage. The Body-Mass Guide or BMI score of people with stronger social networks was higher compared to that of the rest. According to Stephen, self-control should be thought of as a power that can get tired. He says when people are happy and have good feelings about their friends, they let their guard down. They do not focus on their lasting health. They are focused on the present.

Each Social Platform Has Its Own Effects

Facebook makes you spend a great deal of money. However, reports indicate that Pinterest, among all social networks, makes you spend the maximum amount of money. Researchers that analysed nearly 700 million shopping transactions carried out online found that Pinterest users spent approximately 70 percent more on each order than those that used Twitter or Facebook. While Facebook users spent about $95 during each session, the users of Pinterest spent as much as $170. Users of Twitter spent about $70 during each session.

You may that things are under control, but Julie Bornstein, head of digital media at Sephora, warns that you are likely to spend money in some way. She told VentureBeat that people are actually tempted to acquire items when they are in the Pinterest mindset. People do not go to their Facebook account for this purpose. Facebook is a great tool for customer interaction. It enables businesses to have dialogues with customers in real-time. It is actually a big customer-service venue. Sephora has more than 17 million Facebook fans at the time of writing this article.


Posting Under Peer Pressure

Reports show that booze pictures are posted more than food pictures on Instagram. Users want to make their friends know about their unconventional tastes. A recent Evolve Media commissioned report from Havas Media Group showed that among millennials the knowledge related to spirits is assuming a great deal of social currency. They tend to order brands for the purpose of impressing their peers.

The study revealed that the millennials bought alcohol brand depending on what they did, where they are doing, and who they are doing with.


It is the peer pressure that is driving the spending habits of millennials. Among millennials, 62 percent identify themselves as savers. Approximately 80 percent say they have a budget. However, a survey carried out by TD Ameritrade points out that they are 64 percent more likely to compare themselves with peers because of social media. While the boomers are just 29 percent more likely in comparing themselves with their peers, nearly 25 percent of the millennials feel pressured in keeping up with the spending habits of their friends. About 15 percent admit to spending money for making a better impression.

What Can Be Done

So, the question is what can you do about it? How can you prevent Facebook from making you spend more or Pinterest from pressurising you into starting a project that you don’t need? Here is what researchers suggest:

You don’t have to give up social media
Talking about it makes you more aware. It has a psychological effect.
Have concrete saving goals so that you are in a better position to resist the spending urge better.
Instead of viewing your social media account for two minutes in 15-minute intervals, it is a good idea to spend 15 minutes three times in a day. Over time, the time you spent on social media would reduce.


Studies on the effects caused by social media use show that they can drive you to spend more money. It is the emotions that make you spend more. You may be thinking that people spend to feel better, but research suggests people spend money because of good feeling about themselves.

If social media does not make you feel depressed, it is making you very happy and you start forgetting about your budgets. So, the key aspect is controlled usage of social media.