Well here's an interesting one. And it sort of goes against the current mantra that social media is simply awesome for everything under the sun. A recent Harris Poll commissioned by Lithium Technologies found 74% of Millennials and GenZs really dislike being advertised to in social media feeds.
Among the 2,500 survey respondents, 56% claim to have reduced the amount of time they spend on social media directly because of the presence of ads in their feeds. And, really, all one has to do is read a few comments under an Instagram ad to loosely corroborate this finding.
So where do these two demographic groups turn when they seek information about products and brands? Amazon and Yelp, predominantly at 85% followed by company websites at 66%, forums at 65%, those they follow online and via social networks (57% and 53% respectively) and celebrity endorsements at 40%.
Of the seemingly misplaced attempt by brands to target Millennials and GenZs in social media feeds, 23-year-old study respondent Mallory Benham said, "I go on social media to see and know what my friends are doing. I don't want to see ads clutter my news feed. If I'm interested in a product or service, I know where to look. Social media is a place for us to connect with our friends, not be attacked by advertisements."
And that right there, my friends, is the crux of it all. They know where to look. You don't have to tell them. On the flip side, of course, is the troubling notion that if someone doesn't know there's something awesomely new on the market, they aren't going to look for it and they will have to be told about it which requires advertising in one form or another, likely inbound or content marketing.
Study sponsor, Lithium Technologies, is, no surprise, a purveyor of software that "enables brands to build and engage vibrant customer communities to drive sales, reduce service costs, accelerate innovation and grow brand advocacy." The fact that communities as a source of brand information ranks quite healthily in this study is no surprise.
Commenting on the findings and deftly promoting the notion that brands should connect with consumers rather than shout at them (presumably through social media ads), Lithium Technologies President and CEO Rob Tarkoff said, "Pushing out ads on social media is the surest way for brands to alienate consumers, especially the younger generations who make up more than 50 percent of the population. That's a lot of purchasing power, and it's only going to grow as these generations reach their prime spending years. The promise of social technologies has always been about connecting people, not shouting at them, and the brands that don't do this risk their very existence."
You hear that, brands? According to all of this, you best cancel all your social media ads and give Rob a call, right?
In defense of social media, the same result would be obtained in virtually any study dealing with broad generalities like this for TV as well and, probably for radio. The proof of the pudding is not what people say about their general attitudes regarding ads but whether or not they respond to specific ads based of what they are selling and how they try to sell it.
I've said it many times: pop-up ads on the internet are intrusive and readers are far more focused on the content they're reading, when on the internet. In print media the reader is more relaxed and ads can be viewed if the reader chooses. Nuf Ced.