I have just read an interesting paper on social advertising called “Do ads work on social networks” by David Strutton of the University of North Texas. I found it particularly interesting because I have always been keen to see how the likes of Facebook, with its astronomical market value, would monetize its service.
He proposed that the success of social network advertising (SNA) depended on consumers’ acceptance. This acceptance is formed on the basis of a cost/ benefit analysis in the consumers mind. If the perceived benefit of the advertising was thought to be greater than the perceived cost, well then happy days, the consumer had no problem with the ads. On the other hand if they felt that the cost was greater than the benefit well then you have a problem.
MySpace’s dramatic plummet from the heights of social media stardom has been put down to multiple things. A focus too firmly on entertainment. Or simply people wanting to move onto the “next big thing”. But some people state that the amount of unwanted and irrelevant advertisements certainly contributed somewhat to its fall.
The paper suggests that previous studies have attributed the reasons people go online to include
- Structural reasons (simply passing time)
- Content reasons (looking for information or entertainment)
- Social reasons (wanting to connect with others)
- Can they help pass the time?
- Can they provide either relevant information or entertainment?
- Can they help us socialise by portraying the images of ourselves that we want to be put out there?
- Privacy – The apprehension people have about the loss of their privacy. Very targeted advertisements can sometimes shock social network users as they illustrate how much information that can be gathered on them
- Invasiveness – How much an ad effects your experience by being a distraction or irritation.