Opt-in Ads might be the answer for social networks

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china_socialnetworking_small.jpgADOTAS — Users are conflicted about advertising on their social network sites, but carefully crafted messages still have an opportunity.

Users identified MySpace, Facebook and Classmates as the networks with the most obvious advertising, according to InsightExpress, while LinkedIn has the least number of individuals who think the advertising is obvious. When those same people are asked how willing they are to see advertising on their social network, not surprisingly, they are less willing to view marketing messages on sites where it is currently most obvious..

“Recognizing the rapid growth of social networks and social networking audiences, advertisers have focused on creative engagement and how to apply their brands within a new environment,” said Drew Lipner, VP, Group Director of the Digital Media Measurement team at InsightExpress. “The broad and exciting acceptance of social networking also reinforces the distinct need to develop targeted and relevant campaigns for this channel with the help of advanced measurement tools.”

InsightExpress found that 43 percent of the online population reports using a social networking site. Of those individuals who participate in a social networking site, 71 percent have profiles on two or more different properties, with 26 percent having established four or more profiles.

Opt-in ads seem to be the best route, with 40 percent of social networkers condoning this practice, while behavior-based campaigns are far less acceptable with only 20 percent of respondents giving them the green light. Response to the concept of randomly generated ads depended on the site. Only approximately 23 percent of LinkedIn, Facebook, Classmates, MySpace, and Reunion profilers say this approach is acceptable; meanwhile, about 43 percent of Cafemom, Twitter, and Flickr users find it acceptable.

The research was conducted by InsightExpress between December 15, 2008 and January 12. A total of 1,593 respondents completed the survey, and the results were weighted to reflect the online population.

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