27% of British consumers would stop using social media if subjected to too much advertising


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

February 27, 2012 | 3 min read

27% of British consumers and 20% of American consumers have said that they would stop using products and services, such as social media sites, if they felt like they were being subjected to too much advertising, research from Upstream has found.

With Facebook expected to launch its mobile advertising platform at the first Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) in New York on Wednesday, the 2012 Digital Advertising Attitudes Report survey results from 2,054 UK adults and 2,105 US adults found that 66% of consumers already claim they feel subjected to excessive digital advertising and promotions.

It was discovered that 32% of Brits said they would be less likely to respond positively to a company in the future if they are subjected to excessive advertising from them, with 19% of British 18-24 year olds saying they would publicly complain about that company to their friends on Twitter or Facebook.

Marco Veremis, president of Upstream, said: “The volume-based advertising era is dead on both sides of the Atlantic and companies need to put effectiveness first, reducing the frequency with which they speak to consumers, delivering only high quality, relevant and timely messages.

“Marketing and advertising has today become so pervasive across every format and channel that any company not heeding this stark consumer warning is likely to have the opposite effect they intended.

“While the specific appeal of Facebook to investors is its ability to target advertising to consumers based on interests, location and context, advertisers should be aware that the marketing technology now available allows them to cover two other equally important aspects: to make sure the frequency of advert exposure is right for the person in question, and that the phrasing of any advert is proven to be the most likely to elicit a positive response.”

The research found that 69% of British and American adults are happy in principle, to receive marketing and advertising on their PC, mobile, tablet or MP3 player, although 66% do not wish to be targeted more than once a month, while 21% of 18-24 year olds said they do not mind being targeted as frequently as once a week or more.

It was discovered that the British public are more likely to respond positively to marketing and advertising if it is tailored to their personal interests (26%), location (22%) and contextually relevant to what they are doing (21%).

In terms of mobile advertising, it was found that 11% of Brits and 15% of Americans who have surfed the internet on their mobile phone have ever clicked on a mobile banner advert and only one in every 100 Brits who surf on their mobiles and 1 in 50 Americans click on banner adverts frequently.

Veremis added: “Mobile is the next frontier in advertisers’ sights, driven by the promise of long-anticipated developments in handset technology and marketing opportunities in apps, such those rumoured for Facebook. However, marketers need to be especially mindful that the mobile will always be a deeply personal medium and to avoid a backlash, any advertising must be personal, intimate and targeted.

“Companies must avoid repeating the mistakes of the one-to-many broadcast and volume driven online advertising years and especially on mobile, they should focus on using short, text-based ad formats instead of intrusive graphical banners.”

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