STUDY: Facebookers Like Company Pages, Dislike Ads

No one likes to look at advertisements on any medium, so the fact that people don't like ads on Facebook shouldn't surprise anyone -- but business pages are another story.

No one really likes advertisements in any medium, so the fact that people don’t like ads on Facebook shouldn’t surprise anyone — but business pages are another story.

A study of 320 graduate and undergraduate students by the University of Florida found that college-age students have “positive feelings” about business pages on Facebook but consider banner ads and sponsored posts to be intrusions.

The school’s advertising Professor Jon D. Morris pointed to the excess of $3 billion businesses are expected to spend on ads this year and remarked, “Companies are directing a lot of money to Facebook without a clue of what’s effective. People consider Facebook a private space, and they don’t like ads that feel intrusive.”

Of the three types of paid advertisements included in the study, sponsored stories — or news feed ads — seemed to bother students least. Actually, people are likelier to pay attention to them than the other types of promotions, but the viewers still don’t like them.

The study’s authors say that sponsored stories have the most potential due to their relevance to the viewer, but additional work needs to be done on the format.

Of course, we would prefer to see more diversified data, including Facebook users who aren’t only in college or graduate school, before making any solid conclusions here.

However, if further study found that people in these other, non-collegiate demographic groups also dislike all ads but like business pages, then Facebook would have “a situation” on its hands: if the site’s revenue generators incur dislikes, while the freebies don’t, some form of realignment would need doing.

But again, before we can draw any real conclusions, we need to see whether anyone can come up with a study about how people outside of college and graduate school feel about ads on Facebook.

Readers, what do you think about this particular study?