Can Facebook Continue to Attract Advertising?

May 21, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Facebook co-founder Mark Zukerberg is seen on a screen getting ready to ring the Nasdaq stock exchange opening bell in Times Square in New York. Facebook's floatation on May 18 valued the company at $104 billion (£66 billion). (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook co-founder Mark Zukerberg is seen on a screen getting ready to ring the Nasdaq stock exchange opening bell in Times Square in New York. Facebook's floatation on May 18 valued the company at $104 billion (£66 billion). (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook Inc’s floatation on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Friday, May 18, valued the company at $104 billion (£66 billion). But a 2011-2012 global survey has found that 30 per cent of users do not trust Facebook with their personal information, and 44 per cent never click on sponsored ads.

Digital marketing agency Greenlight surveyed a cross section of 500 people on how they used social networks and search engines, and what their reactions were to online advertising.

The research indicated that Facebook was the most widely used website after Google and YouTube, and was the second most popular site accessed on mobile devices—about 30 per cent of survey respondents said they used it on their mobile phones or tablets.

Fifty per cent surveyed said they use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends and that it was good for sharing photos.

Hannah Kimuyu, director of paid media at Greenlight, said in a statement: “Facebook’s popularity doesn’t come as a surprise. However, with over 30 per cent of respondents saying they ‘strongly distrust’ Facebook with their personal data, Facebook’s advertising programme has an upward struggle.”

Advertising on Facebook allows companies to reach more than 800 million potential customers by targeting their personal data, Kimuyu said.

However, according to the survey, 44 per cent said they never clicked on ads. In contrast, only 3 per cent said they regularly clicked on ads, and 10 per cent said they often did.

Commenting on the results, Kimuyu said: “Although 44 per cent say they would ‘never’ click on advertisements or sponsored listings in Facebook, it is interesting to see that those who do find the targeting effective and engaging.

“Moreover, given the positive growth figures, we at Greenlight predict that more of us will be advertising and hopefully ‘clicking’ on an advertisement or a sponsored listing on Facebook this year.”

Last week, car giant General Motors added to doubts about the effectiveness of Facebook ads by saying that it would no longer pay to advertise on the site.

Online strategy consultant Atul Chitnis told the BBC last week that the question was whether Facebook had a strategy to bring advertisers in.

“My belief is that Facebook does have a strategy, they are ready with something they have not yet talked about. How effective it is we will have to watch and see.”

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