Survey Assignment: Facebook Ads

As a professional in the marketing field and a graduate student studying social media, I have chosen to examine Facebook users’ opinions about Facebook advertisements.

Facebook advertising has allowed marketers to target individuals using demographics as well as personal preferences (“likes”). Although Google may have a larger audience to market to, Facebook may be able to target individuals more accurately.

Although Facebook advertising may seem like a great tool for marketers, how do Facebook users feel about this tactic? As you may have noticed, Facebook not only shows advertisements on the right side of your screen, as shown here (Hootsuite & Bounty), but it also shows sponsored advertisements within your news feed.

Facebook ad - Right

Sample of Facebook ad as shown outside of news feed, on right side of screen

Facebook ad in feed

Sample of Facebook ad shown within news feed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While these advertisements may seem annoying to Facebook users, Facebook also gives us the option to hide ads from a specific company and even take a survey to make your News Feed “better.” Whether the ads are annoying or not may be irrelevant to marketers if they produce a return on investment.

Although I was personally annoyed by some of these ads initially, in particular those that appeared in my feed as opposed to the right hand side of the screen, I also grew to appreciate their surprising level of accuracy in regards to my interests.  From a user experience perspective I can see how these advertisements can be annoying; however, from a marketing perspective I can also see how extremely powerful they can be. Being torn between these two opinions, I find myself wondering what other users think and whether or not having a marketing background affects their opinion.

The following are the instructions for our Research Methods in Mass Communication surveys assignment: Identify one service, register for the free trial and explore how you might use one of these programs to answer a research question you may be considering. Create a short survey and distribute to your friends on social media. Explain the purpose of the survey and what you hope to better understand.

I have chosen to use Survey Monkey, a free online survey software & questionnaire tool, to further investigate Facebook users opinions pertaining to Facebook advertisements. While I don’t believe a “short” survey will provide conclusive evidence regarding this matter, I do hope to achieve a better understanding of users opinions by collecting evidence from a larger sample size than just myself.

While I will be administering the survey formally on Facebook, it can also be found here.

NOTE: Initially this survey was designed to have a “weed-out” question asking individuals if they have a Facebook account and if they did not the survey would end. However, this feature is only available through the paid version of Survey Monkey. For this reason, I have included the question; however, it is the only required question. In the event the individual does not have a Facebook account, they are instructed to answer just the first question and select “Done” to complete the survey. Additionally, the unpaid version of Survey Monkey limits surveys to 10 questions.

Results will be provided publicly the week following the administration of the survey.

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6 thoughts on “Survey Assignment: Facebook Ads

  1. I have mixed feeling about Facebook ads too. I have purchased things from the ads and been exposed to companies I had not heard of before. I discovered I can hide some ads which helps.

    Lately I have tried not hitting the “like” button but making comments on photos and statuses from friends. Other friends have tried this for 2 weeks and discovered less ads in their newsfeeds. I have noticed a slight decline in ads over the week so maybe there is something to it.

  2. Hi Kaitlin!
    Facebook is changing. I can remember when it was only about what your friends where posting. Then, it was all about suggesting friends and building your network. Ads were around but mostly on the outside of news feeds and that didn’t really effect the mobile app user. Now, they place them right in your news feed. I agree with you, at first I was annoyed, but then I noticed that they do tend to tailor ads to my interest. How helpful! I am a shopaholic and now they are tempting me like cigarettes tempt a past smoker. It makes it hard not to shop…
    I understand the value for marketers, and that’s what most of us are in this program, but sometimes I just want to see my friends posts and learn what my friends are up to. There are a lot of Facebook “haters” out there, saying that they don’t understand why people spend so much time on the media. I tend to explain/describe it as a magazine, but most of the articles are about people you actually know or have a connection with. It’s a truer statement now more than ever. You have cover stories, top stories, ads, trends, quotes, pinterest pins, recipes, and an occasionally post from a friend. It’s an online magazine, tailored to you. You can see what you want to see…unfriend, block, or hide what you don’t.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more and I believe my feelings about how Facebook has changed over time are very similar to those that you have shared. It does make me wonder if we will have two feeds at some point – one for companies, businesses, corporations, news, etc. for when we want to shop, look for deals, articles, etc. and another for our friends and family. Most simply stated, a “likes” feed and a friends feed. I would imagine there would be some overlap form individuals sharing and liking content; however, it would be a way to kind of fast froward through commercials, as we are now able to do with television/DVR.

  3. Hi Kaitlin: I had a similar reaction to you when Facebook ads began appearing in my feed. Like all Facebook changes, we get used to them after a while and their are options to adjust them. I recall Dr. Mahone mentioning that she uses a tool to remove them entirely. I too find it fascinating how well they match up to my interests. That said, my organization uses Facebook ads heavily. The ads have helps boost our fan numbers by more than 30%. It’s incredible. We went from an average of 300 likes a month to about 300 a week. We are moving more money into digital because of this. I monitor our ads closely. We create a monthly ATB and change the messaging around, highlights different programs for our school. For the most part, they are well received and those “like” numbers from the ad posts bring joy to my heart – especially when compared to our organic posts. I’m looking forward to exploring your results and hoping folks won’t be too hard on the ads because although most people will likely see them negatively, they are working. The numbers just don’t lie.
    See you next week for the results.

  4. Hi Kaitlin! Great survey topic and blog post. I definitely have mixed emotions about Facebook ads. I want ads that are geared to products and services that I would like. I normally ignore ads but every once in awhile, one catches my eye and I click on it. I’m such a sucker!! Yet, the other part of me thinks they are almost stalkerish. I am currently planning a wedding and right now, my entire Facebook newsfeed has wedding ads on it. Wedding Paper Divas, Sandals Resort, Style Me Pretty, and The Knot. It is a little scary to know that Facebook knows what websites I am visiting and what I am searching on Google and Yahoo. Facebook has changed so much since it first started and it took me awhile to get used to having ads on Facebook and even the “share” button. I think it is great that they are keeping up with trends and what their users want to utilize on social media.

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