Social Network Users Seek Relevant Ads

    April 21, 2009

Close to a third (31%) of social networking users dislike constant requests to join groups and download applications, according to new research from the Internet Advertising Bureau.

However, the study of nearly 2000 Internet users found that 28 percent of people would be happy to join a group if they were offered exclusive content or something relevant and free, while 37 percent would join a group if there is a genuine interest in what is being offered.

Only three percent of users prefer to pay to be a member of a site in exchange for ad free content. Of the various forms of exposure to advertising 12 percent say they prefer banners; 11 percent free music downloads; 9 percent sponsored gifts; 8 percent prefer banners that offer something free such as video clips or exclusive news.

Amy Kean
Amy Kean

The study found that marketers need to do more to convince people to join their sponsored sites as only 7 percent of respondents have signed up to find out about brands or products, while only 5 percent join groups sponsored by a brand or product.

The majority (58%) of the UK population are members of a social network, with more than half (53%) belonging to one site, a third (33%) belonging to two networks, and 14 percent belong to three or more sites.

Updating social network sites via mobile device is increasing with 25 percent of all respondents logging on to check or up date their pages. The study also found that Facebook was the most popular site, but niche communities are growing in importance.

"Regardless of what may be the hot social media property of any particular month or year, social networking has become a core part of our daily lives," said Amy Kean, senior marketing manager at the IAB and head of the IAB social media council.

"However, despite its popularity, this study shows that respect for the user is just as important in social media – consumers will not respond to SPAM or irrelevant advertising."