As more marketers take social media route for advertising, many Facebook users view this as a violation of their personal space.
Social media use has exploded over the past five years, with nearly three-quarters of all online adults using some social media network. Leading social media platform Facebook claims that more than one billion people use its website.
Based on these numbers, advertisers and marketers have used communication philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s aphorism “The Medium is the Message” when approaching this opportunity. McLuhan was talking about television, but social media sites have well outpaced television’saccess to the buying public.
Advertisers and marketers are attracted to social media because they have a huge reach, and it’s relatively cheap to place ads on them.
In addition to these benefits, a 2014 study commissioned by Facebook stated that there is “experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks” – meaning users can pass on positive or negative emotions to others through the network.
The study goes on to point out that not only can these reactions be manipulated, but they can also be transferred to a friend subconsciously. So it makes sense that advertisers would want to exploit these networks to sell their products. But the best advertisements are compelling and engaging; are those used on sites like Twitter and Facebook connecting with users?
In short: no. In the second of two studies conducted at the University of Florida, we found that most Facebook ads are seen as unappealing and not engaging.
Our study measured reactions to the idea of advertising and marketing communications on Facebook, without measuring reaction to specific ads.
Using AdSAM® – the Attitude Self-Assessment Manikin – we were able to measure reactions to five key Facebook marketing vehicles: Banner Ads, Suggested Posts (sometimes referred to as “promoted posts”), two types of newsfeed re-posts – referred to as either “I liked” or “my friends liked” – and Business Pages.
Respondents were then asked to evaluate their impressions of these ads, which appear regularly – in the forms outlined above – on their newsfeeds.
In addition to gathering key emotional response indicators (Appeal, Engagement and Empowerment) to the ads, this study also measured Credibility, Personal Relevance and Intrusiveness to determine the drivers of the emotions among the respondents.
Two hundred twenty-eight undergraduate students – a prime target of advertisers – participated in the online survey.
Although there are significant differences in the Appeal, Engagement and Empowerment results, none of the responses was high or promising. Overall, on a nine-point high scale, the average Appeal was 4.5. Engagement was 4.2, while Empowerment was 5.1. Previous AdSAM studies have shown that television advertising frequently has much higher scores on these dimensions of emotion.
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