Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watch Your Eyes - Does Social Media Lower Our Guard Against Ad Overexposure?

Excerpted from 7/16/2009 MediaPost article"Eye Tracking Study Reveals Search Going Social"

Marketers face the constant challenge of keeping up with and understanding consumer search behavior. An eye tracking study conducted by Oneupweb on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by a digital marketing company reveals trends about the way people interact with paid ads in social media sites.

Oneupweb found that not only do people spend time viewing paid ads on social networks, but they often looked at the ads more quickly once they landed on the search results page. For example:
- 65% of participants engage with sponsored ads within the first 10 seconds of their search.
- survey participants revealed they log into Facebook
  • 29% several times daily
  • 39% every day
  • 17% weekly
  • 17% less than 3 times per month.

Contrary to expected behavior, the participants viewed the sponsored ads prior to viewing the second and third results. The Oneupweb study indicates similar behavior was observed throughout the YouTube search.

The study conducted with 25 survey participants was done from late June through early July.

My Take

Users of social media sites exhibit more interest in ads on social sites than non-social sites. Sponsored ads are viewed at a higher than expected rate, demonstrating that social media users are more open to being influenced by advertising they know is paid for.

Although paid-for advertising does not take full advantage of the crowd-wisdom potential of social media, this study indicates that social media users are more ready to be influenced, perhaps as a result of their elevated trust levels for social media content.

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