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Understanding Facebook to Instagram migration: a push-pull migration model perspective

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Emerging social networking sites (SNSs) are less advantageous than leading SNSs in attracting users. They might stand a better chance if they know what users want. The purpose of this paper is to study factors that urge Facebook users to switch to Instagram to reveal how latecomers in the SNSs circuit can win the hearts of users.


This study proposes an SNS switching framework that is adapted from the demographic Push-Pull (PP) migration model to investigate users’ switching intention. Structural equation modeling was applied to analyze the data collected from 260 Instagrammers who all had experience using Facebook before moving on Instagram.


Results show that socializing and system quality of the SNS negatively affect users’ switching intention, while attractiveness of the alternative, peer influence and critical mass do the opposite. Surprisingly, enjoyment is not associated with switching intention.

Research limitations/implications

SNSs switching may not mean a complete abandonment of previous SNSs. In many occasions, users simply become less active in one SNS and more active in other SNSs. The PP migration model provides a useful tool to understand the patterns as well as competing forces that influence the migration of SNS users, pushing them away or pulling them to new alternative sites. Specifically, pulling demonstrates to be a stronger influence than pushing.

Practical implications

This study suggests that SNS operators should satisfy users’ needs for socializing, maintain high system quality, provide peer influence tools and create their own attractive features, in order to retain existing customers or induce new users to switch.


This is one of the earlier empirical studies to investigate users’ switching intention from Facebook to Instagram with a valid sample. In addition, the present study approaches pull and push effects by multiple constructs, providing a clearer picture of what constitutes the pull and push forces.
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Keywords: Facebook; Instagram; Push-Pull migration model; Social networking sites; Switching intention

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Marketing and Distribution Management, Oriental Institute of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Department of Business Administration, Zhejiang University of Technology, Zhejiang, China

Publication date: April 8, 2019

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