Adverts placed on the more mainstream social networking sites are unlikely to be effective as direct marketing tools, according to a new study. The research, from affiliate network Linkshare, surveyed 2,000 consumers, and found just 5% of respondents considered adverts on professional social networks, such as LinkedIn and just 9% of adverts on personal social networking sites, such Facebook helpful in assisting their purchasing decisions on the web. Only 4% of those surveyed had previously clicked through on a banner advert displayed on a social networking site, which questions the current effectiveness and quality of adverts used by brands in this less traditional marketing space.
However, the research also revealed some good news for advertisers targeting social sites, with less than a fifth of respondents (18%) considering adverts an interference to their activity online, indicating that despite apparent low audience interaction, there is still an opportunity for brands to improve the success of their internet marketing campaigns.
Vouchers, promotions and special offers were shown to be most effective way to encourage consumers to click on content displayed in banner ads and were also considered the least invasive form of online marketing at 11%. A resounding 59% said they thought that the promotions and offers available online were useful and only 19% of people had never responded to a voucher advert online.
Looking at other online marketing tactics employed by brands to capture consumer attention, interactive ad banners such as pop-ups and roll downs were considered the most intrusive type of online marketing, with almost two thirds (62%) viewing this tactic as an interference when browsing the web. This was followed by direct mail (48%) and advertising displayed before and during video content (46%).
Liane Dietrich, UK Managing Director at LinkShare, commented on the findings: “Although our research shows that adverts on some of the mainstream social networks are not living up to the hype when it comes to click through rates, this doesn’t necessarily mean that ads on community shopping networks and forums will prove to be ineffective too. Companies need to remember that users logging on to sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are there to network and not necessarily to shop.
Dietrich continues “Brands and affiliates need to do more to ensure adverts are better targeted to the social sites which encourage consumers to click through and engage with a company and its offering. Consumers need to be targeted in a way that is specific and tailored to their individual needs. Brands need to work harder to make sure they convey information which not only captures their audience but that also goes some way to enhance their overall online shopping experience.”