I wasn’t in the session at Ad:Tech in Chicago where these data were presented, but they’re fascinating and reveal the challenge that social networks face as advertising and marketing platforms. Q Interactive (which owns/operates CoolSavings) conducted a study with 1,000 US women (across groups/categories) about their social networking behavior and their attitudes toward brand marketing on social nets.
Here are the top-level findings:
- 75 percent of women are “more active” in social networking than last year
- More than half (54 percent) visit social networking sites at least once per day
- Yet, 75 percent share that social networking sites “not really” or “not at all” influence what they buy
- 52 percent of women surveyed have “befriended” or “become a fan of” at least one brand
- 83 percent feel “neutral” or “negative” when they see a brand on a social networking site
- 10 percent of women engage in product / brand-related activities (“get product information, including coupons and savings” and “writing reviews about products”) most on social networking sites – above common activities like “send private messages to friends” and “share photos”
So there’s a relatively small group actively interacting with brands on social networks (although the 52% fan/friend number is interesting). But most people on social networks are indifferent or repelled by efforts to market to them on social networks.
How do social networks and marketers engage with users in ways that are effective? Offering deals, discounts and alerts is going to be an effective way. In addition, brand pages that offer valuable information that goes beyond self-promotion are going to be more effective than pure self-promotional activity.