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RESULTS: How Users Feel About Advertising in Social Apps

With mobile advertising primed to explode within the next few years, no one has more to gain than social apps.

The reason for this is simple: social apps have a veritable cornucopia of data to offer advertisers, who can then target users based on their interests, location, demographics, and browsing history.

Knowing what we do about mobile advertising’s potential to drive growth and revenue, we were thrilled when one of our pre-development clients wanted to use it as part of their social app’s monetization strategy.

But before we could begin the process of incorporating ads into their app, we first needed to collect data on how users would respond to the move.

For example, would ads dilute the brand and alienate users? Would they offer a quick fix, while causing unwanted, long-term side effects, such as reduced engagement? Or, would they appreciate and find value in seeing relevant ads?

To answer these questions and more, we conducted a survey in Santa Monica, California.

Here are the highlights of what we found:

  • Users feel negatively about advertising in social apps when the ads they see are not targeted for their interests, needs, location, and demographics
  • The majority of respondents indicated that they would engage with ads in social apps, if the ads were relevant to their interests.
  • The more relevant and useful the ads are, the more likely users are to engage.

In a nutshell, our survey found that advertising in social apps works best when it’s a win-win situation.

When advertisers and app developers focus on providing valuable, relevant, and targeted ads that their users want to see, they increase revenue, user satisfaction, and user engagement.

See? Win-win.


Social apps - market research


Want to know more? Here are the full results of our survey:

How do you feel about advertising in social applications in general?

29% I hate it

20% It depends on how they’re implemented

10% I can take it or leave it

0% I love it

Do you feel that integrated advertisements in popular social media applications are relevant to your interests?

67% No

33% Yes

How often do you engage with advertisements?

52% Sometimes

33% Never

14% I avoid them at all costs

0% Often

If ads were relevant to your interest, would you be more likely to engage?

52% It depends on how they’re integrated

31% Yes

7% No

How do you feel about banner ads?

50% I can take them or leave them

36% I hate them

12% I avoid them at all costs

2% I love them

How do you feel about interstitials?

79% I hate them

12% I avoid them at all costs

10% I can take them or leave them

0% I love them

Do you feel that promotional engagement in social apps make you feel more aware?

67% No

33% Yes

How do you feel about Facebook’s handling of ad content?

62% I don’t really pay attention to them

21% I find it intrusive

10% I find it helpful

7% It really bothers me

How do you feel about curated, careful, valuable, interest-based advertisements in a social app?

38% Yes, but it has to have value

29% No, I don’t use social apps to buy things

29% It doesn’t matter as long as the app is cool

5% I’d flee from the app at the first opportunity

Do you feel that connecting with people socially and advertising align?

43% Yes

57% No

Andrey Kudievskiy

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