I have read some interesting research taken from Upstream’s 2012 Digital Advertising Attitudes Report on the fact that more than a quarter of British Facebook users will ditch the social network if they are subjected to more intrusive advertising. OK, so there is the main PR headline that they were looking for. In my view people say they will leave the social network but you and I both know that isn’t true. They will complain, they will rant and rave but then they will continue logging in to see what their friends are getting up too.

The news release states:

Nearly two thirds (66 per cent each) of British and American online consumers already claim they feel subjected to excessive digital advertising and promotions. The report reveals that while 20 per cent of US consumers would stop using a company’s products or services entirely as a result of receiving too many advertising messages, over a quarter (28 per cent) would be less likely to respond positively to that company in the future. Furthermore 14 per cent of US 18-24 year olds would publicly complain about that company to their friends on Twitter or Facebook.

Now the final point is more like it. I can imagine users complaining on their social profiles about seeing too much advertising in their streams as it can get annoying. At Prohibition, we get involved in a lot of social media management and we get to see a lot of people commenting about various things they want from brands or companies for free. I can even remember way back when Twitter first trialled its in-stream advertising and the chatter that arose from that. In fact, I even got involved in the debate on a number of occasions. However, most people have now good used to promoted tweets and seem to understand that the network needs to make its money somehow.

Other interesting facts from the report include:

More than two in every three (69 per cent) US adults are happy in principle, to receive marketing and advertising on their PC, mobile, tablet or MP3 player.

The advertising must be tailored to the consumer’s personal interests (26 per cent), contextually relevant to what they are doing (21 per cent) and specific to their location (19 per cent).

I think most people don’t mind seeing a bit of advertising on social media but its all down to how targeted it is and whether it is relevant. The more targeted the better and more value the advertising, pardon the pun, adds the better. We only have to look at pay per click advertising in Google to see that it works and can be used to support campaigns rather than hinder them. Many Facebook competitions are now seeded with targeted Facebook advertising.

Facebook advertising has to happen as the company has to make the money to keep the whole online network going. It’s their game and they run it; and no matter how many people pro-castigate or, moan and complain that they are going to leave – I simply can’t see it. In fact, I remember an article on Mashable that discussed the new timeline feature recently and highlighted the fact that people were saying they would leave – so I think Christina Warren put it best when she said:

Quitting Facebook in 2011 is like quitting MySpace in 2008. It’s the cool thing to do. The difference, however, is that you aren’t going to quit Facebook.

What you think?

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.