Consumers dislike ads on social networks

A majority of consumers are unhappy with the amount of commercial messages they see on social networks, a global survey has found, even as Facebook and Google+ introduce more brand advertising to their online communities.

About 57 per cent of social network users in developed countries – and more than 60 per cent in the US and UK, which are among the world’s largest advertising markets – do not want to engage with brands via social media, according to a study by TNS, a market research firm owned by WPP, that polled 72,000 consumers in 60 countries.

“Misguided digital strategies are generating mountains of digital waste, from friendless Facebook accounts to blogs no one reads,” TNS said.

Even though many online veterans discuss brands and products with their friends on social networks – about 47 per cent – they show more resistance to brand-generated messaging and advertising, the study found.

Users in emerging markets, however, are more open to brand messages, with only 33 per cent of Columbians and 37 per cent of Mexicans saying they do not want to be bothered by them.

While anecdotal evidence suggests that people engage less with brands, or “unlike” business pages as they become more savvy users, Facebook and other social media advertising agencies say they see millions of customers voluntarily engaging with brands.

“People do have strong connections to their favourite grocery store and dry cleaner, and they really do want to connect with these businesses on Facebook,” Facebook said.

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