The ads you see every day on social media aren't going anywhere. So say the results of the CMO survey, an annual study that asks marketing leaders about industry trends, performance, and budgeting plans. Marketers in the survey said they expect spending on social media to increase by 89% by 2022, accounting for a full 18.5% of their budget.
Why the shift toward spending on social media? Is it a better way to reach customers than traditional methods? To find out, we used SurveyMonkey Audience to ask more than 1,200 people across the U.S. about their opinions and experience with social media advertising.
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Why marketers love advertising on social media
Social media is where the people are. More than half of the respondents in our survey said that each week, they log in to all of the following apps: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Some are particularly addictive. Facebook and Instagram users, for example, log in more than 6 times per day, and 25% of Snapchat users log in more than 20 times per day.
And that's just how they're being used currently. When we asked respondents, “Are you using these social media platforms more or less than you were 12 months ago?” most said they’re using the major social platforms as much, if not more, now.
Consumers’ heavy use of social media may help explain the high level of engagement with the ads. On Facebook, for example, as many as 51% of users admit to having clicked on an ad. They even influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. Nearly half of social media users (48%) have bought something after seeing an ad. A number that increases to 53% and 56% for millennials and women, respectively.
So what does all of this mean? That businesses are often experiencing a high click through rate and return on investment from their social ad spend—with many stories from prominent companies going public.
Consumers dislike the ads—for many reasons
Even though the ads often perform well, they aren't necessarily providing users with a good experience.
Users often say they're overwhelming, repetitive, and irrelevant. To give you a more detailed picture of users’ opinions, see the breakdown below:
- Nearly 3 out of every 4 users (74%) think there are too many ads. The number grows to 78% for adults 35+ years old.
- 63% of users say they only see a few things advertised, over and over again.
- 44% of users find the ads irrelevant to their wants and needs. For those 35 and older, the number balloons to 51%.
As marketers continue to invest in ads on social, is there anything they can do to boost the consumers’ experience?
How marketers can improve their social ads
Here are some things brands can do to improve their ads on social media:
1. Present ads with people of color and of different sexual orientations. For 56% of users, diversity in the ads matter.
2. Deliver honest and accurate claims. People trust TV ads more than social ads (by 17 percentage points). If a brand offers a message consistent with the users’ experience, its ads on social will stand out.
3. Take the user experience into account. As mentioned earlier, users want the frequency, relevancy, and diversity of ads on social media to improve. Improvements that account for the users’ experience are not only likely to improve the ads’ performance but also benefit the brand’s long-term reputation.
Consumers’ ever-expanding use of social media as well as the ads’ influence on purchasing behavior drive marketers’ enthusiasm for investing in social ads. So whether the ads are seen as an everyday annoyance or as a meaningful source to helping consumers find what they need, their presence is here to stay.