Marketers on social networks should worry more about ads that are mobile rather than behaviorally-targeted.
ABI Research said this week that in its recent survey of social network users, 46 percent said they visited their site of choice using a mobile phone. The two largest networks clearly dominated these users, with 70 percent going to MySpace and 67 percent visiting Facebook. More than half said they use their mobile login to check messages and comments, and 45 percent said they update their status using their phones.
While mobile social networking is on the rise, behavior-based ads on social networks are heading downhill. This week’s apparent shutdown of Adzilla, a Canadian ad targeting services company, comes soon after NebuAd decided to delay more roll-outs of its ad targeting platform. Meanwhile the U.S. Congress continues to study the controversy surrounding these kinds of ads, which has consumer advocates worried about privacy issues. And at the moment, even marketers don’t agree about what should be considered best practices in this space.
Behavior-based ads and social networks were once seen by marketers to be as ideal a pairing as cake and ice cream. Not only are social networks the place where consumers spend much of their online time; users’ profiles and information pages could be used to finely-target ads as well.
But BT ads remain uncertain, as the fortunes of companies in the space have shown. Mobile, on the other hand, has proved to be a natural fit with social networks, which themselves remain a crucial front for digital marketers.
“The social network is increasingly becoming a central hub for communication across online and mobile domains for many consumers,” said Michael Wolf, research director at ABI. “We believe this centralization of a consumer’s digital lifestyle through social networks will only increase adoption of mobile social networking in coming years.”