Why Does Social Media Advertising Fall Flat? A Professor Explains!

Why Does Social Media Advertising Fall Flat? A Professor Explains!
SHARE
THIS



Social media is often lauded as a must-have for marketers and brands, and yet sometimes advertising on social media isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. John D Morris, a professor of advertising at the University of Florida, explains the phenomenon in this article, which originally appeared on The Conversation.

Jon D Morris, University of Florida

Social media use has exploded over the past five years, with nearly three-quarters of all online adults using some social media network. Leading social media platform Facebook claims that more than one billion people use its website.

Based on these numbers, advertisers and marketers have used communication philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s aphorism “The Medium is the Message” when approaching this opportunity. McLuhan was talking about television, but social media sites have well outpaced television’s access to the buying public.

Advertisers and marketers are attracted to social media because they have a huge reach, and it’s relatively cheap to place ads on them.

In addition to these benefits, a 2014 study commissioned by Facebook stated that there is “experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks” – meaning users can pass on positive or negative emotions to others through the network.

The study goes on to point out that not only can these reactions be manipulated, but they can also be transferred to a friend subconsciously.

So it makes sense that advertisers would want to exploit these networks to sell their products. But the best advertisements are compelling and engaging; are those used on sites like Twitter and Facebook connecting with users?

In short: no. In the second of two studies conducted at the University of Florida, we found that most Facebook ads are seen as unappealing and not engaging.

Diminishing appeal

Our study measured reactions to the idea of advertising and marketing communications on Facebook, without measuring reaction to specific ads.

Using AdSAM® – the Attitude Self-Assessment Manikin – we were able to measure reactions to five key Facebook marketing vehicles: Banner Ads, Suggested Posts (sometimes referred to as “promoted posts”), two types of newsfeed re-posts – referred to as either “I liked” or “my friends liked” – and Business Pages.

Respondents were then asked to evaluate their impressions of these ads, which appear regularly – in the forms outlined above – on their newsfeeds.

In addition to gathering key emotional response indicators (Appeal, Engagement and Empowerment) to the ads, this study also measured Credibility, Personal Relevance and Intrusiveness to determine the drivers of the emotions among the respondents.

Two hundred twenty-eight undergraduate students – a prime target of advertisers – participated in the online survey.

Although there are significant differences in the Appeal, Engagement and Empowerment results, none of the responses was high or promising. Overall, on a nine-point high scale, the average Appeal was 4.5. Engagement was 4.2, while Empowerment was 5.1. Previous AdSAM studies have shown that television advertising frequently has much higher scores on these dimensions of emotion..

The results of the survey (click to zoom).
Author provided

Facebook users do, however, have significantly more positive emotional responses when exposed to ad and marketing messages re-posted by users (“I Liked,” “My Friends Liked” and the “Business Pages”) than ads originating directly from marketers (“Banner Ads” and “Suggested Posts”).

The more positive reactions to the user re-posts (versus the direct advertiser posts) seem to be related to the third dimension of emotion: empowerment. When users feel like they have control, they respond better to the idea of these ads. In addition, ads placed directly by advertisers are seen as less credible, less personally relevant and more intrusive than those re-posted by Facebook users.

Overall, the emotional response to Facebook ads is below the midpoint on appeal and engagement. The only ad format reported to be slightly more positive is the Business Page. This may be due to the fact that this vehicle is more directly beneficial to users, because it comes to users through re-posts and promotions, and seems like it’s less blatantly trying to “sell” users products.

As previously mentioned, this study is a follow-up to a study conducted in 2011. Unfortunately for advertisers, the appeal, engagement and empowerment of these ads have actually fallen since the first study.

Why is this the case?

Social media marketing messages clearly have a different effect on user response than more traditional advertising. In some cases, social media users view sites like Facebook and Twitter as their personal space. Advertising into this space, then, can be perceived as an intrusion. This does not seem to be true for television, newspapers, magazines or radio.

One recommendation from our study is that marketers and advertisers focus more on advertisements that are designed for this medium – ads that actively promote re-posting. Another is to make marketing communications more entertaining and interactive. In other words, advertisers should direct more effort toward the developing engaging content.

Selling products with a content marketing approach is nothing new. Infomercials, native advertising, special advertising sections in news magazines and product-based TV shows have been around since before the middle of last century. John Deere even published an advertising/content-based magazine in 1895. Food products have created and distributed cookbooks for their products for years. And, of course, there’s there Ronco Vegamatic.

To that end, General Electric recently announced that it was hiring film director Ron Howard to develop new content marketing for the National Geographic channel.

And this approach is now making its way into social media. Some companies are providing guidance on how to enhance social media ads with engaging content.

However, in the realm of social media, content-based marketing is a risky venture. The audience is more resistant to sponsored content; if the efforts backfire, users could transfer these negative reactions to the products themselves. On the other hand, if advertisers can make the content seem more personally relevant, the feelings for intrusion may subside and the emotional reaction to the brand become more appealing, engaging and empowering.

Companies considering advertising on Facebook and other social media networks will be most effective if they direct their effort to making an emotional connection with their audience. Building brands is more than presenting facts about a product or conducting giveaways. It means making the benefits come alive for the consumer.

Employing creative strategies that are more entertaining or truly informative may be one method for making these ads appear less intrusive. Ron Howard and other well-known directors may be part of the solution, but they should remember that in the world of social media, they don’t have the luxury of a 90-minute presentation.

The Conversation

Jon D Morris is Professor of Advertising at University of Florida.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Latest News

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio

M&C Saatchi Group has partnered with documentary makers, writers, producers and digital content pioneers Michael Lawrence (left in photo) and Nicholas Cook (right in photo) to launch film and television production studio THIS. Lawrence and Cook have established an enviable track record creating story-driven content and feature documentaries based on The Human Indomitable Spirit (THIS) […]

The ‘Business Of Busyness’: How Productivity Keeps Us From Preparing For The Future
  • Opinion

The ‘Business Of Busyness’: How Productivity Keeps Us From Preparing For The Future

Jeff Schwisow is a Melbourne-based strategy specialist, speaker and the author of Projectify – How to use projects to engage your people in strategy that evolves your business. In this guest post, he argues that our obsession with being busy right now is what’s holding us back from planning our futures tomorrow… To survive in today’s […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Host/Havas Creative Chief Darren Spiller To Depart
  • Advertising

Host/Havas Creative Chief Darren Spiller To Depart

Creative agency Host/Havas has announced that its chief creative officer, Darren Spiller, will be leaving the agency. Spiller joined Host as its chief creative officer in January last year and then assumed the same role when the agency merged with Havas in October 2017. Host/Havas has received of a long list of creative accolades this […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Creative Agency Launch Project Management Tool Hassl
  • Media
  • Technology

Creative Agency Launch Project Management Tool Hassl

Yesterday at TedX Melbourne the team behind award-winning Melbourne based agency Your Creative launched their new tech venture Hassl, the project management platform taking on Trello and the likes. With the belief there was a better design solution to project management, the platform has been developed over the last two years in collaboration with their […]

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly
  • Media

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly

It's one of the ABC's edgier, controversial shows, but Tom Ballard's proven too edgy and controversial for ABC chiefs.

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Media

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership

Global discovery platform Taboola has announced a strategic partnership with Wider Planet, Korea’s largest demand-side and data management platform. The partnership builds on Taboola’s programmatic efforts in Asia-Pacific, and will bring together Korea’s largest demand platform for agencies and brands to provide access to Taboola’s global audience through premium publisher placements. The partnership means advertisers […]

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients
  • Marketing

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients

The Haus announces two new client wins. Admittedly, not as good as winning three, but far better than losing four.

businessman using tablet PC and information communication technology concept. IoT(Internet of Things). GUI(graphical user interface). paperless office.
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Smartly: The Future Of Martech Is Automated

Automated ad buying platform, Smartly was at the centre of the tech innovation stage at the Online Retailer conference 2018. Smartly head of ANZ Marta Bonzanini (pictured below) discussed the integral role automation plays in the future of marketers and creatives. “If an ad is not performing as well as planned, you probably have some […]

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games
  • Technology

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games

For the moments when we can’t be together IRL, Messenger video chat helps you connect in real-time with the people you care about most. Chatting face-to-face live makes all the difference when you have exciting news to share, you need a study buddy for a big test, or you simply want to pass the time […]

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo
  • Media

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo

Sphere snares Stockdale & Leggo business, which is a real estate group & not a simmer sauce as first reported on B&T.

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation
  • Technology

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation

With Aussie farmers facing so many challenges, could the answer be Blockchain technology? Ranking top 10 at this year’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurial Conference (OTEC), pitching against 32 other start-ups from around the world, Aussie start-up Agunity are leading AgTech innovation. Having won the right to represent Australia during Investible’s nation-wide pitch competition, AgUnity took to […]

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci

Facebook's Carolyn Bollaci is the latest to sup at B&T's truth serum we prefer to call our Women in Media profiles.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency

The Fuel Agency has launched the new ‘TAFE + Jobs’ campaign, aimed to promote and drive applications and enrolments for courses starting in 2019 There’s a lot happening in Victoria, with record investment in road and rail projects, and in the health, community and disability sectors. As a result, there’s greater demand for skilled workers. […]

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO

Rakuten has a new CEO. However, judging by the tired handshake photo, B&T doesn't have any new ways of illustrating it.

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising
  • Advertising
  • Opinion

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising

Who better to explain why your ads are getting blocked than a real ad blocking expert. As B&T has done right here.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman

B&T has spared no expense with today's top Women in Media profile, save for suit hire, corsage and dry-cleaning.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner
  • Technology

Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner

The announcement designates Kantar as an approved third-party measurement provider for brands looking to verify their media spend performance on Google owned platforms. Kantar is approved globally to provide both Brand Lift Insights for evaluation of brand impact from campaigns and for independent measurement of audience reach from campaigns on Google properties. Kantar CEO Eric […]

THIS
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Final Call! B&T Late Entries Close Today!

B&T Award entries officially close at 5pm today! Good news if you've almost finished, bad news if you haven't started.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Australian Women’s 15s World Cup Bid Kicks Off
  • Campaigns

Australian Women’s 15s World Cup Bid Kicks Off

“It’s 2018”, is something you hear a lot when you talk to the players, coaching staff and fans involved in Rugby AU’s bid for the ‘Rugby World Cup Women’s 2021’ tournament. There is this sense that they are not only ready for a greater stage, but raring to go. As one player said “Ready?! We’re […]

Aussie Silk Brand Harnesses Kardashian Marketing Power
  • Marketing

Aussie Silk Brand Harnesses Kardashian Marketing Power

Shhh Silk is an Australian brand that quickly grew in popularity among celebrities like Gisele Bündchen and Kim Kardashian West. Shhh Silk has just received a $1.8 million order from a very large brand in the US, and CEO Olivia Carr’s projections is for this to be a $50 million business in five years’ time. […]

SaaS Player Taps oOh!media Chairman Tony Faure To Lead Its Board
  • Media
  • Technology

SaaS Player Taps oOh!media Chairman Tony Faure To Lead Its Board

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) company ReadyTech has announced the appointment of Tony Faure as its new chairman. Faure is the chairman of outdoor giant oOh!media and data intelligence platform PredictHQ. He is also a non-executive director of digital mortgage company Uno Homeloans, content platform Stackla and specialised media company Medical Media. Faure is regarded as being one […]