Facebook usage has declined in the UK over the past year, with departing users saying they are fed up with social media advertising, according to YouGov
Facebook usage in the UK has dropped by nine percent since this time last year, due to user irritation with advertising, according to Internet market research firm YouGov.
The drop coincides with an advertising push by Facebook, which is under investor pressure following a disappointing initial public offering last year. Growth in mobile advertising, in particular, helped Facebook post its second-best fiscal quarter as a public company at the beginning of May.
The study, based on a survey of 1,995 adults in March, found a general rise in people citing marketing messages as their reason for stopping using social media sites – among those who stopped, those who cited marketing as the reason grew by 18 percent year-on-year, YouGov said.
Only one in 20 Facebook users reported clicking on an advert in the past year, while less than one in 10 social media users in general said they felt targeted advertising on social media platforms was relevant to them.
“The proportion of Facebook users who are tuning out brands’ marketing efforts clearly indicates that a savvier approach is needed,” stated YouGov SixthSense research director James McCoy.
The study also showed some positive signs for social media advertisers. For instance, men aged 25 to 39 were more likely than the overall average to say that targeted advertising was relevant to them, with 21 percent agreeing with this statement.
The study also found that nearly one-quarter of all social media users have researched a product or service as a result of reading something on social media sites, up 6 percent year-on-year, while 13 percent said they had bought something as a result of reading about it on social media sites, up 7 percent year-on-year.
Forty-five percent of social media users said they had liked or joined the page of a brand or company, compared to 22 percent who had followed a brand on Twitter.
“While there are significant challenges, this report identifies potential opportunities for marketeers to build on, such as the relatively high proportion of young men who respond positively to targeted ads on social media,” McCoy stated.
Facebook disputed YouGov’s findings, saying its own data showed the site’s UK usage continued to grow in March. The company said it had 33 million active UK users in December, up from 30 million in March 2011.
Do you know all British IT – the Thatcher years? Take our quiz.