Report: Facebook Mobile Sponsored Stories Are Working, But Promoted Posts Aren’t

By David Cohen 

Facebook’s goal of maintaining the integrity of its user experience while increasing advertising revenue at the same time is being achieved by its mobile sponsored stories, but the social network’s test of promoted posts is a bust, according to the results of a survey of more than 750 Facebook users in the U.S. last week by Sterne Agee, using the SurveyMonkey platform.

Sterne Agee found that 77 percent of respondents had not noticed mobile ads, meaning that Facebook’s goal of keeping its mobile sponsored stories subtle and having them blend in to the mobile news feed is being achieved.

Other findings from Sterne Agee include:

  • 54 percent of respondents have noticed more ads on Facebook when compared with six months ago, while 42 percent said the number of ads was unchanged, and 4 percent said they were seeing fewer ads.
  • 61 percent of respondents felt that the relevance of ads they were seeing on the social network was unchanged versus six months ago, while 22 percent believed relevance had decreased, and 17 percent felt that they were seeing more relevant ads.
  • Only 16 percent of respondents indicated a desire to pay to promote posts on Facebook.
  • 45 percent of respondents said they would be willing to try Facebook Gifts, with those aged 30 to 44 (52 percent) more likely to do so than those aged 18 to 29 (38 percent).
  • 47 percent of respondents said they would be willing to try using a Facebook search engine, with older users again more favorable toward the idea than younger users.
  • 63 percent of desktop and laptop users access Facebook once or more every day, with 43 percent admitting to doing so multiple times per day. In the 18-to-29 age group, 78 percent said they access the social network once or more per day, and 61 percent do so multiple times daily. And 55 percent of respondents 60 and older access Facebook once or more every day.
  • Nearly one-half of respondents said their time spent on Facebook was the same as six months ago, while 26 percent said they were spending more time on the site (7 percent answered significantly more), and 25 percent were spending less time (significantly less for 4 percent).
  • 61 percent of respondents access Facebook via mobile devices, and 64 percent of those respondents do so once or more per day, with 46 percent saying more than once daily.
  • 71 percent of women used mobile Facebook applications once or more per day, compared with 57 percent of men.
  • 77 percent of users who access Facebook via mobile devices were moderately to extremely satisfied, while 15 percent were only slightly satisfied, and 7 percent were not satisfied at all.

The conclusion by Sterne Agee:

While the near-term outlook on Facebook remains cloudy given the ongoing transition to mobile, we continue to believe the long-term opportunity is large. Our survey of more than 750 Facebook users indicate that engagement remains healthy, particularly among 18- to 29-year-olds, and user experience remains relatively unchanged versus six months ago, despite the increase in the number of ads being seen over that period.

Readers: Were there any surprises in the findings by Sterne Agee?