Study: Facebook App Users Aren’t Anti-Advertising, But Banner Ads Won’t Cut It

By David Cohen 

Facebook application users aren’t as anti-advertising as you might think, but standard online banner ads won’t cut it, as they want innovative, interactive units, according to the results of a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive for social and mobile advertising platform MediaBrix.

Harris Interactive polled 2,236 U.S. adults ages 18 and older and found that 72 percent of Facebook app users prefer to see “immersive and interactive ad units,” while just 28 percent were content with standard banner ads. The numbers for smartphone users were 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

MediaBrix CEO Ari Brandt said of the results:

Facebook and mobile developers need to be more innovative. Traditional banners and standard pre-roll just don’t work in this environment.

And Director of Marketing Communications Tiffany Sumner added:

User experience is incredibly important to everybody when it comes to this market. Standard Web-based units just don’t translate in these environments. Facebook app users overwhelmingly want to see newer ad units.

Other interesting findings from the Harris Interactive survey for MediaBrix included:

  • 33 percent of Facebook users have used an app on the social network in the past year, and 65 percent have played a game on Facebook during that time period.
  • Pre-roll ads suffered the same fate as banner ads, with only 37 percent of respondents preferring pre-roll ads, while 63 percent said they either want to initiate video ads or have them shown during a natural break in the game or app. The results were nearly identical for smartphone owners — 38 percent and 62 percent, respectively.
  • Respondents to the survey overwhelmingly preferred free, ad-supported apps to paid apps with no advertising, by a margin of 87 percent to 13 percent.
  • Of those who preferred free, ad-supported apps, 83 percent want to keep them free, with relevant advertising during natural breaks in the game or app, while 17 percent wish to do so via in-app purchases, such as virtual goods or virtual currency.
  • The gap was not as wide for smartphone owners, with 61 percent opting for free, ad-supported apps, versus 39 percent for paid apps with no advertising. Of those who chose free apps, 88 percent preferred relevant advertising during natural breaks in the game or app, and 12 percent chose in-app purchases.

Brandt said in a press release announcing the survey results:

These survey findings confirm that standard online banners and pre-roll video ads won’t cut it in today’s highly social and mobile world. If social and mobile platforms aren’t running interactive ads to achieve consumer engagement, then they are missing a huge opportunity to monetize with Fortune 500 marketing dollars.

And Brandt knows a little something about Fortune 500 marketing dollars, with MediaBrix boasting a stable of clients including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, and T-Mobile.

Brandt said MediaBrix launched in May 2011 with a goal of building an immersive brand ad platform for Facebook and mobile ads, adding that there was a “massive disconnect between ad opportunities and what brand marketers wanted.” He described the company’s offerings as follows:

SocialFlex: Large interactive units that get placed during game breaks, with very clear messaging, congratulating users for completing levels, and most containing video.

SocialViews: An opt-in exchange product whereby app users interact with brands in exchange for virtual goods.

“These units are really working,” he said, saying that MediaBrix has seen an engagement rate of more than 20 percent, with click-through rates for SocialFlex 2,000 times higher than those for Facebook sponsored stories.

Readers: Would you be more open to in-app advertising if it was “immersive and interactive,” as MediaBrix and Harris Interactive put it?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.