The Nielsen 2012 State of Social Media report was released earlier last week. I previously went over the report’s findings about the largest social networks of 2012. The report also contains some interesting information about advertising on social media and what it means for consumers.
Consumer Sentiment towards Social Media Advertising
Nielsen found a surprising statistic about consumer sentiment towards social media advertising. Nearly one-third of users believe that ads on social media sites are more annoying than other ads online. Social media isn’t supposed to be annoying. It’s supposed to be meaningful.
There are a few things this statistic tells me. Number one is social integration. In an attempt to make advertising more social, many social networking sites “hide” advertising within other content. An example of this is promoted trends on Twitter. These ad units are tied into other trends and tweets on Twitter. To some consumers, this might appear to be deceptive. The result is an annoyance and distrust of the brand advertising, when it should in fact be upon the social network.
This number also tells me some businesses aren’t using social media advertising correctly. Many social media platforms offer robust targeting options to their advertising. The goal is to display the right ads to the right people. Many businesses fail at this, and the result is irrelevant and sometimes irritating ads. It becomes frustrating when you see an ad in a language you don’t speak, an area you don’t live in (I’ve had ads for NYC bars in Facebook), and when the ads surely shouldn’t be targeting someone your age. Businesses can avoid this frustration by developing targeting strategies that make sense.
Finally, there is the aspect of spam and quality businesses advertising. For example, I have noticed a big drop in quality brands advertising on Facebook. The more lesser quality businesses advertising on a site, the less likely consumers will find these ads trustworthy and relate able. The result is a drop in engagement and an increase in frustration. It’s up to social media sites to develop ways to increase the quality of ads being served on their own sites.
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