An article published in MarketingVox summarized the results of a recent study by Insight Express that social networkers “are more receptive” to opt-in advertising over randomly generated ads on social networking sites. This seems patently obvious given the lackluster click-thru rates on social networking sites, which has given rise to the “dead zone” nomenclature used now to describe those places on social networking sites where ads are displayed.
It’s also not clear that “being receptive to” opt in ads means that social networkers will actually buy when presented those ads. (nor is it clear who was surveyed – the article provided scant details). But, in any case, I believe that advertisers have lost track of the idea that people are on social networking sites for “social” reasons (thus the name) and not to be sold products. It’s not that people are bothered by the ads as much as they just ignore them. They’d much rather read updates and look at photos than take notice of the ad for Oprah’s miracle diet, which seems to be a staple (geez, I hope not just on my profile page!).
In any case, pull not push is the name of the game on social networking sites. It’s more difficult, and a totally different mindset for marketers who seem to say the right things but now need to walk the talk. I worry though, whenever I see “evidence” that helps to rationalize the same old behavior.
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Filed Under: Ad-Supported, New Business Models, Social Networks, consumers, advertising