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Facebook advertising does not equal a social success story

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So Facebook has finally gone public (that’s old news). But now it actually has to start making money to keep its shareholders happy. That might be a little bit harder than originally anticipated as new research shows that Facebook advertising is not all that popular.

Sponsored stories and advertising are how the recently listed social media giant plans to make its money. But in a recent survey conducted in the United States by Greenlight, a search engine marketing company, this could prove to be a very difficult road for Facebook to travel successfully.

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Forty four percent of internet users worldwide said that they had never clicked on a sponsored listing or an advert in Facebook. That is a significantly large number. Add to that the 31% who said that they rarely ever clicked on either forms of advertising and you have a vast majority of Facebook users (75%) who refuse to have their social media experience monetised.

So let’s look at this from another angle. This time the survey looked at the chances of a user “liking” a brand or a company on Facebook.

This time there are 35% of respondents who said that they would do this more often than not, while 37% said that they would rarely do so and then 17% said that they categorically would not like a brand or company.

So what does this mean?

Well, it does not mean that Facebook is going to go belly up; even though its share price is not exactly soaring like everyone thought it was going to (down 26.9% from its starting price).

What it does mean is that Facebook, like every other social media site and content provider, needs to find new ways of making money — because advertising is simply not going to work anymore. Advertising has become like the ugly second cousin that you never want to hang out with.

In the same survey, users were asked what types of content they would click on more frequently and the following is what came up: interactive content.

People want to be entertained; they want to interact, they want to contribute. This is the lifeblood of a successful campaign in today’s world. Advertising is too slow and too “what my dad had”. Today we demand more and platforms are being forced to provide more on a regular basis. Facebook is not immune to this simply because they have bulk — in fact that are more susceptible to it because of its bulk.

I personally think that Facebook might have to think again about allowing companies to “freely” place this content on its site and run the risk of alienating its users. What it cannot do is rely on its advertising model for success or even worse, force its users to start paying.

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