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[New Research] Study Shows Consumers Aren't Turned Off by Social Ads in Their Feeds

Dia Vavruska

Director of Client Success, 10+ Years of Digital Marketing Strategy and Account Management

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[New Research] Study Shows Consumers Aren't Turned Off by Social Ads in Their Feeds Blog Feature

Published on April 16th, 2019

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Have you noticed an increase in the number of ads in your social media news feeds or stories?

If so, you’re not alone. And, if you’ve found yourself clicking through and making purchases from these ads, you’re also in good company!

According to a recent report published by New York-based marketing and advertising firm Blue Fountain Media, 75% of consumers surveyed say ads have taken over their social feeds.

You’d typically think this is viewed as a negative consumer experience, right?

Well, not necessarily.

Below we’ve highlighted a number of key consumer trends and takeaways from the report, as well as the implications this has for advertising and marketing professionals.

Social Advertising Consumer Trends

As mentioned above, survey findings published by Blue Fountain Media on current consumer perceptions indicate that users feel social ads have taken over their news feeds.

However, while users are aware of this influx, it isn’t necessarily creating a bad experience or aversion to making a purchase.

In fact, 65% of consumers said that they like being served social media ads of products they’re interested in and wouldn’t have found otherwise.

And an incredible 69% say they will buy from an unknown brand if they like the product.

The report and key findings were based on a recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers between the ages of 18-55 on their behaviors, experiences, and sentiments related to being served paid ads via social platforms

The goal of the report was to gauge “a better sense of consumers’ perceptions around brand authenticity as it relates to paid social, and what role organic social plays in that perception; the role that paid social plays in their purchasing cycle; and overall consumer awareness of what’s paid vs. organic content.”

Here are some of the most interesting findings.

Consumer Sentiments and Behaviors:

  • Consumers prefer ad placement in news feeds vs stories. The majority (70%) of consumers say they’re more likely to click on news feed ads vs those popping up in stories.
  • Facebook and Instagram are the preferred social ad networks. Users are most likely to click on ads on the following platforms: Facebook (38%), Instagram (37%), YouTube (14%), Twitter (5%), Pinterest (4%), and LinkedIn (2%).
  • Discounts and products are top purchasing motivators. A third (36%) of consumers say discounts are the biggest motivation, 33% say the actual product is what’s key, and 17% claim it’s how the product is marketed.
  • They don’t buy immediately through the ad. Only 10% of survey respondents said they’d click and buy directly through a social add. Why? It could be because 69% of them want to visit a company’s website before buying a product via an ad in their social feed and, 21% said they’ll never buy through a social ad.
  • Celebrities and social influencers are highly relevant. An incredible 51% of consumers said they’ll purchase from a celebrity or influencer-endorsed brand. That said, it should be noted that 37% said celebs and influencers have no impact on their purchasing decisions.
  • Authenticity doesn’t necessarily matter. Even though 56% of consumers question the authenticity of a celebrity or influencer endorsement, 43% indicated that they don’t really care.
  • Relevancy and experience are key. When ranked in order of biggest advertising turnoffs: 28% of consumers don’t like ads for products they’re not interested in, 27% are turned off by ads that use audio, and 23% indicated not liking ads that follow them once they’ve clicked on it once.

For more information, feel free to check out the entire report and highlighted trends.

What Does This Mean for Brands, Advertisers, and Marketers?

While the report findings and data are from a small sample size of approximately 1,000 consumers, the potential insight for brands, advertisers, and marketers is significant.

The biggest being:

Brands and social ads are more likely to be received positively by consumers when they’re relevant and create a positive user experience — one that isn’t continuously interruptive.

Consumers recognize when they’re being served a social ad and realize when an influencer is working with a brand or sponsored product. It doesn’t, however, necessarily seem to matter or turn them off to the purchase if it’s interesting, relevant, and non-intrusive.

We’re operating in a constantly evolving digital consumer market where buyers are more informed and savvy than ever before.

Reports like this shed additional light on consumer sentiments and the motivations behind their engagement with social ads and ultimate decision-making process. It also confirms that buyers are not as oblivious to our digital marketing practices as we may think.

Brands, advertisers, and marketers should listen and take note of reports like these.

Not only to the data sourced from your own active social ad campaigns but also what you’re seeing at large across consumer markets.

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