Social network web sties give us places to connect with people with whom we share common interests. The fun, interactive environments in which we talk to friends and make new ones started out as commercial-free zones. However, as the popularity of social network sites grew, marketers could not resist the urge to reach us, and social network hosts could not pass up the revenues ads can create.
While social network ads have the potential to turn off the very people they are intended to reach, it appears that most visitors to social network sites are OK with the presence of ads. A study conducted by Razorfish found that 76% of social network site visitors do not mind the presence of ads. Further, 40% of those people surveyed said they had made a purchase following ad exposure on a social networking site.
Before advertisers begin lining up to create clutter on our social networks, a word of caution. Social networks provide an ideal platform for audience engagement through brand fan pages, games, or other interactive experiences. The real promise of social networks as a communication vehicle is this relationship building capability they possess. Ads are OK, but marketers should be more creative in using social networks for deepening consumers’ relationships with their brands.