MEDIA & MARKETING | Contributed Content, Singapore

Singapore consumers want social media advert free

A majority of consumers are uncomfortable with the amount of commercial messages they see on social networks, a large global survey has found.

About 57 per cent of social network users in developed countries do not want to engage with brands via social media, according to a new study by TNS, a market research firm owned by WPP, that polled 72,000 consumers in 60 countries.

People want everything for free. They believe that they have the right to interact on a commercial platform without being bothered by how it gets paid for. They appear to be at a loss as to why these networks are not set up to be charities!

If you’re a brand spending millions on facebook though you should be worried as this survey does suggest that your money is being wasted on people who don’t want to hear from you and therefore may end up resenting your brand rather than “liking” it.

Even though 47% Social network customers discuss brands and products with their friends on social networks they show more resistance to brand-generated messaging and advertising, the study found.

While anecdotal evidence suggests that people engage less with brands, or “unlike” business pages as they become more savvy users, Facebook and other social media advertising agencies say they see millions of customers voluntarily engaging with brands but usually that is because they are being bribed to do so by free gifts or money off. How many would actually voluntarily do so without that free incentive?

Without sounding at all pompous and out of of touch with reality a facebook spokesperson actually said “People do have strong connections to their favourite grocery store and dry cleaner, and they really do want to connect with these businesses on Facebook,” Are you connected with your dry cleaner and supermarket because you love them or because they are offering you 20% if you do? That’s not having a “strong connection” with the brand. That’s pragmatic money saving. Money doesn’t buy you love…. or “like”.

Interestingly success strangles the monster as people accrue more friends and businesses in their personal networks, it becomes more difficult for brand messages to cut through.

When a business posts to its own facebook page, only 10 to 20 per cent of its fans will see the message, depending on the time of day. I would say it was even less than that who bother to read it and even less who actually do anything about it.

I do believe that sites like Linkedin, which I am a member of, would not exist or be as great with a pure (and therefore higher) subs model, it needs advertising to pay for it to run professionally and to expect otherwise is naive.

I am free of Facebook and that would be an answer to people moaning about adverts intruding, don’t use it!! The same applies though, quality has to be paid for just like quality journalism on a brand like The FT or The Economist. Nothing is ever truly free! 

Chris Reed, Regional Partnerships Director , Asia Pacific, Partnership Marketing (Asia) Pte Ltd 

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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