May 14, 2008, 12:00 AM

Ads on social networking sites don’t speak to consumers, survey says

87% of consumers who belong to online social networks say most of the ads they see on such sites as MySpace and Facebook don’t fit their interests. The survey was conducted by consumer brand marketing firm Prospectiv.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

87% of consumers who belong to online social networks say most of the ads they see on such sites as MySpace and Facebook don’t fit their interests. The survey was conducted by consumer brand marketing firm Prospectiv.

58% say they relate to very few ads on the social networking sites they visit and 29% relate to none. The rest, 13%, said most ads on social networks pertain to their interests. Additionally, more than half (54%) of consumers say they never click on ads they see on social network sites and 39% only click on ads occasionally.

56% polled say the quality of their online experience would be improved if social networking sites posted ads and offers tailored to their interests and preferences. 62% say they would respond to coupons and discounts from the brands and products they buy, 24% would enjoy e-newsletters with coupons, discounts, news and tips about their favorite brands and 14% would accept invitations to join interactive e-mail groups, online forums and other social networks for sharing and communicating.

85% of consumers say they would rather join a free social networking site paid for by ads and offers related to their interests than a social networking site without ads that charges a fee to join.

“These poll results clarify that members of social networking sites are open to offers and promotions as long as they are targeted to their interests,” says Jere Doyle, CEO of Prospectiv. “The next step for the web publishing industry seeking to monetize their online communities is to improve ad relevance, and the best way to do this is to work with online lead generation providers and ad networks that have the brand relationships, technologies and services to ensure that the ads presented are tailored to their audience’s needs and wants.”

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