Members had a clicked-through rate of 57 percent as compared to 79 percent of all web users, according to the IDC. In addition, the online ads on social networks pulled in only 11 percent of users for purchases as opposed to 23 percent for the web overall.
It’s not all bad news. Users who use social networks, in response to peer pressure, for entertainment and for work-related purposes, also tend to visit often and spend a lot of time per visit. More than 75 percent visit at least once a week, and no less than 57 percent at least once a day. During sessions, 61 percent of users stay at least 30 minutes or stay logged in permanently, and 38 percent spend at least one full hour per session or stay logged in.
“The thinking has been that the popularity of SNS will attract a big audience and generate a lot of traffic, which in turn will produce enormous amounts of user-generated content (UGC) and therefore advertising inventory – without any expenses for editorial staff or content distribution deals,” said Karsten Weide, program director, Digital Marketplace: Media and Advertising. “All of the above has proven true – except that almost invariably, SNS have had a hard time selling this inventory.”
Ad ineffectiveness on social networks will contribute to the slowing down of ad sales until publishers can prompt users to do more than communicate, IDC said.