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Do Facebook ads work?

25-June-2012
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Do Facebook ads work?

A recent report released by Greenlights Search and Social Survey 2011-12, claims that 44 per cent users have never clicked on a sponsored ad on Facebook. Only three per cent respondents said that they regularly clicked on ads and only 10 per cent said they click the ads often.

The survey goes on to pose a question whether advertisers should be bothered about advertisements on Facebook. However, in terms of popularity, Facebook ranked as the third most popular website after Google and YouTube. When respondent were asked ‘How regularly do you use the following websites/services?’, Facebook ranked second. And when asked ‘Which of the following do you use on your mobile phone?’, 30 per cent users said that they use the social network on mobiles and tablets.

While the social media giant Facebook has no plans to start a search engine in near future, a sample of 500 people responded to whether Facebook should start a search engine. Facebook accounts for a very small share in global search usage. About 48 per cent of the respondents replied that they would not like this idea of Facebook starting a search engine. The survey also claims that if Facebook enters the search engine space, then it could be able to garner a decent share – close to 22 per cent of the total search engine market globally.

Globally, Google is clearly the dominant player in online search market with over 65 per cent of the share. The statistics therefore suggest that Facebook could capture around 22 per cent of the global search market by simply launching its own search engine tomorrow morning (the ‘definitely’, ‘probably’, and half of the ‘don’t know’ respondents combined). It wouldn’t need to be a spectacular engine either, just well integrated into the Facebook experience and generally competent. This 22 per cent market share would make Facebook the second-most utilised search engine in every major market except for China, Japan, and Russia, where it would occupy an uncontested third place, the report states.

It also states that Google’s social endeavour with Google+ might be more successful than most initially speculated. The survey found that 23 per cent of Google users have been +1’ing listings in Google’s search results, giving Google lots of data about what people like. If you compare this to the 35 per cent of users that were found routinely to ‘like’ a brand or company on Facebook, then that’s not significantly more than Google’s social signal collection. However, 28 per cent of respondents had no idea what ‘+1’ actually meant. The report goes on to say that Google Plus affects natural search rankings and will have an increasing impact over time across every Google products – AdWords, Price Comparison, Shopping, YouTube, etc., and Facebook could be a major search engine overnight. Hence, performances of brands on Facebook today (likes, visits, etc.) will likely have a decisive impact on exposure to social search engines.

Global search trends
The survey also reveals that while most countries operate search engines only in one language, predominantly in English, 76 per cent people search in at least two languages. For instance, Belgium has three official languages; hence search dominates in three languages. "The fact that Italy and Spain top the chart with 100 per cent of respondents claiming to search in multiple languages, despite reasonably homogenised language use, is possibly a testament to the position of English as the quasi-official language of Europe and the relative prevalence of English language web pages," said Adam Bunn, Director of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), at Greenlight. Search trends on mobile and tablet devices reveal that Google leads the space.

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