Just as Internet advertising seems to be proliferating faster than ever, a new study reveals that ads on social media are losing favor with consumers.
According to a study by the digital consulting firm Sprout Social, 27% fewer people on social media have a favorable view of social media ads than did 12 months ago.
Although 39% of consumers attributed their declined perception of social ads to recent political events, the top reason for the drop that was cited by 58% was simply seeing too many social ads overall.
By and large, entertainment is still the single best way to stop people from scrolling past ads, Sprout Social points out. In the survey 41% of people reported that entertaining content makes them more likely to engage with a social ad.
Video is one of the main formats people want to see from brands (83%). GIFs also perform well with 58% of people saying they enjoy them. Among Millennials, this number rises to 70%.
“Brands that go beyond stylized product shots and into content that inspires emotion in prospective customers will have more success being noticed and remembered,” Sprout Social says.
The survey also found that a third of people are more likely to engage with social ads that teach them something. Where opinion of social ads is declining, it’s often because the content is seen as uninteresting (31%) and irrelevant (26%).
Creating educational content that adds value to consumers’ social experiences naturally addresses these two areas of dissatisfaction, the study says.
While entertainment may be king, 37% of people of all ages are more likely to engage with social ads that save them money, Sprout Social notes.
However, segmenting generational preferences shows a shift among Baby Boomers, who actually rank discounts as their top motivator. On the other hand, younger social users don’t want their first impression of a brand to scream “Buy Now!”