Consumers want to be entertained and are turning away from business-sponsored content, according to a new report from Sprout Social. Its latest social advertising report shows consumer's opinion of social media advertising is falling.
It commissioned a study from Survata, which interviewed 1,004 online respondents between March 5, 2018 and March 6, 2018.
The study found that 27 percent of consumers said their opinion of social media advertising has declined in the past year. The current climate seems to be a factor in this response, with 39 percent saying recent political events have decreased their trust in social ads.
This result shows that across social platforms, the majority of consumers scroll past brands' ads. The top reason for the drop cited by 58 percent of respondents was that they saw too many social ads overall. Other complaints were about uninteresting content (31 percent) and irrelevance (26 percent).
So, what type of content do consumers actually want?
The survey showed that 41 percent of respondents report that entertaining content makes them more likely to engage with a social ad.
Video is one of the main formats people want to see from brands (83 percent). GIFs also tend to perform well with over half (58 percent) of people enjoying them. Amongst millennials, this figure rises to 70 percent.
It is not all bad news for brands, though. There are still tricks to use to engage users. Across generations, 37 percent of people are more likely to engage with social ads that save them money.
However, Baby Boomers say discounts are their top motivator, and younger social users do not want their first impression of a brand to urge them to buy immediately
It found that a third of people are more likely to engage with social ads that teach them something, and two thirds (65 percent) of consumers will click through to learn more.
This indicates that consumers want ads that promise further education about the product, subject matter, or an related topic.
Most consumers do not log on to social channels to shop. They log on to seek a social experience with their connections.
Brands who want to tap into this social interactions should look to useful how-to videos that incorporate education and learning into the social experience, enable their customers to learn more, and keep the brand top-of-mind.
Regaining trust -- especially in this era awash with fake news -- is hard.
Brands should focus on never losing their customer trust instead of fighting to get it back.
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