A new study in the UK shows that more than half of all consumers who use social media to engage with one another completely avoid the advertising they see there, with some reporting they would not buy anything they saw advertised on a social media network.
Makes sense, if you think about it.
How many times have you bought something that was advertised through a direct-mail marketing system? Probably not many, if ever.
But in fact, direct mail marketing has been a very effective tool for some businesses and services looking for new customers.
Once again, it is not the tool which fails, but the message.
Social media is a tool, an effective tool for many businesses looking to increase sales and revenue. It helps them reach an audience they have previously been unable to reach, in ways which are more engaging. Since the social media market is so large, however, the opportunity for failure is just as great as the one for success.
If half everyone who is on social media avoids the advertisements, that means the other half does not. They read the advertisements and buy the products.
If we are only looking at Facebook, that means advertising there would reach more than 350 million people. And those are no small potatoes.
‘Advertising on social networks is not ineffective, but…’
Cecilia Liao, senior technology analyst at Mintel, said: “Our research does not suggest that advertising on social networks is ineffective, but that social network users may not find ads on social networks particularly memorable or relevant, on a conscious level at least. This highlights the fact that companies who want to use social media as a promotional tool need to look beyond text ads or interactive banners and invest in actual engagement with the consumers. Static ads are not always the best way forward for consumer interaction, which is why it’s so important for marketers to use social networks to communicate and engage with customers through organic content, status updates and interesting creative campaigns.”
A massive 58% of consumers say they have been more diligent in researching prices since the economic downturn, fuelling the growth of group-buying discount websites and social network deals. Some 15% of social network users say they currently use social networking sites to find cheap deals on things to do, and 13% to find out about information about brands.
Privacy concerns inhibit buying through social networks
Today, one in three (32%) social network users say they talk to their friends online more than face to face – rising to 35% for those aged 16-24 and to 43% of 25-34-year-olds. Women are more likely than men to use social networking websites, with 83% of females having used any sites compared with 77% of males – but only 10% of women, compared with 18% of men, like the idea of commerce on social networks. However, over half (58%) of social network users agree they are concerned about privacy when using social networking sites. Furthermore, Mintel’s research finds that 44% of social network users do not like the idea of buying things on social networks, partly due to privacy concerns.
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