Marketing to Women: Falling Out of Love with Facebook?

June 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Do you feel you are spending as much time on Facebook as you have in the past?  Has the desire to share and read about the details of friends and acquaintances waned?  If the bloom is off your Facebook rose, then you are not alone.  According to a recent poll conducted among 1,032 Americans by Reuters and research firm Ipsos, 35% of Facebook users said they are less engaged on Facebook than they have been in the recent past. Conversely, only 20% of users say they are spending more time on the site.

The reasons given for the drop in engagement are finding the site boring, not relevant or not useful (27%), a lack of time (25%), and concerns about privacy (24%).  Those who are the most positive towards Facebook are those aged 18-34. Two-thirds say they have either a very or somewhat favorable opinion of the social network, compared to 48% of 35-54-year-olds and just 31% of those over 55.

Even more troubling for Facebook is the finding that four out of five Facebook members have never been influenced by ads run on the site. Since the social network’s IPO, this new finding underscores the need for Facebook to turn the 900 million customer base into a more receptive advertising audience.  This research comes on the heels of AP-CNBC survey results released in May which found that 83% of users rarely if ever click on ads or sponsored content on the site.  Of course, Facebook did generate $3.7 billion in sales last year, mostly from its online ads. But sales growth has been slowing, according to Reuters.

On a more positive note, 18-34-year-olds are 40% more likely than the average to have been influenced by a Facebook impression to make a purchase. Data from a new Inside Network Research report indicates that this demographic makes up 44% of Facebook’s US audience.

This rising concern about advertising effectiveness was highlighted last month when General Motors announced they would halt their Facebook advertising.  Advertisers must think about the type of Facebook engagement that binds the social network and how their product/service fits into the lifestyle represented on Facebook.  I am not thinking about a car purchase when I am on Facebook sharing family photos, events or ideas.  Certainly, food products, restaurants, clothing and passion type activities seem to match up better with the Facebook audience.

Some analysts are predicting that Facebook might go the way of My Space or AOL.  But maybe it’s just a plateau.  Only time will tell. Neil Sedaka certainly expressed it best:  “Come on baby, let’s start anew, cause breaking up is hard to do!”

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