Social Network Users Ignore Most Ads

    November 26, 2008

While social networking continues to remain popular and grow, advertisers looking to grab users attention are seeing low click-through rates according to a new survey from IDC.

There are four major reasons why people use social networks: to connect and communicate; in response to peer-pressure; for entertainment; and for work-related purposes.

Social Network Users Ignore Most Ads

Advertising does not play a role in peoples motivation to use social networks. Ads on social networks have lower click-through rates than traditional online ads (on the Web at large, 79% of all users clicked on at least one ad in the past year, whereas only 57% of social network users did), and they also lead to fewer purchases (Web: 23%; social networks 11%).

"The thinking has been that the popularity of social networking services (SNS) will attract a big audience and generate a lot of traffic, which in turn will produce enormous amounts of user-generated content (UGC) and therefore advertising inventory – without any expenses for editorial staff or content distribution deals," said Karsten Weide, program director, Digital Marketplace: Media and Advertising.

"All of the above has proven true – except that almost invariably, SNS have had a hard time selling this inventory."

IDC predicts that lower-than-average ad effectiveness on social networks will continue to contribute to slow ad sales unless publishers get users to go beyond just communicating with others.