Does Facebook Have a Future Yes or No?

Report: Facebook Users ‘Bored,’ Ads Not Effective

David Cohenon June 5, 2012 12:00 PM

A new poll shed more doubt on the value of Facebook’s 900 million-plus users to advertisers and marketers, uncovering negative results in terms of advertising and time spent on the site.

The online survey, from Reuters/Ipsos, which drew more than 1,000 respondents, brought some alarming results, including:

  • Four out of five respondents have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network.
  • 34 percent of Facebook users are spending less time on the social network compared with six months ago, while only 20 percent are spending more time on it. The rest (46 percent) said their time spent on Facebook had not changed.
  • Of the 34 percent who said they were spending less time on Facebook, the reason cited most often was that the site is “boring,” “not relevant,” or “not useful.”
  • 44 percent said Facebook’s troubled initial public offering left them with a less favorable opinion of the company, and 46 percent said the Facebook IPO made them more wary of investing in the stock market in general.
  • Nearly 40 percent said they use Facebook every day.
  • 21 percent did not have Facebook accounts.

eMarketer found in a February study of its own that email marketing and direct-mail marketing influenced consumer decisions more than Facebook advertising, and Analyst Debra Williamson told Reuters:

It shows that Facebook has work to do in terms of making its advertising more effective and more relevant to people.

On the flip side, looking at the recent decision by General Motors to pull $10 million worth of advertising off the social network, Nielsen President of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions Steve Hasker cautioned that the success rate of a campaign was dependent upon the product or service it is promoting, telling Reuters:

If you are advertising Porsche motor cars and you can get 20 percent of people to make a purchase, that’s an astonishingly high conversion rate. If you are selling instant noodles, maybe it’s not.

As far as the issue of boredom, Gartner Analyst Ray Valdes pointed to the constant cycle of change at Facebook, including the introduction of timeline and its $1 billion acquisition of photo-sharing application Instagram, telling Reuters:

Facebook continuously has the challenge of Facebook fatigue, of the novelty factor wearing off, and therefore, they have to introduce new kinds of interaction.

Readers: Do you think the flurry of changes Facebook has been making of late will be able to stem the tide and reverse some of the negative trends found in the results of this poll?


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