October 18, 2012
An October study by Sterne Agee found 83.6 percent of users are unwilling to pay to guarantee important posts are seen by friends.
Facebook is unlikely to make much money from the recently implemented idea: only 11.5 percent of users would pay $1 or less, 2.4 percent would shell out $2 to $4 and a tiny 2.5 percent would pay $5 or more, the poll found.
“If our survey results are any indication, it does not appear users are too keen to pay to promote posts, as only 16 percent of users indicated a desire to do so,” the report concluded. “That said, we realize this product may be more suitable for small businesses, a group that was not part of our survey.”
Facebook may also have an uphill climb with the “Gift” feature the social media site introduced in September. Less than half of users (45 percent) indicated they would consider using the service.
Of those polled, 55.1 percent of respondents said they would be not at all likely to purchase and send a gift (such as chocolate or gift cards) using the service. While 45 percent would consider using Gifts, only 5.3 percent are very or highly likely to use it. Thirteen-and-a-half percent said they would be moderately likely to use the service, while 26.1 percent said they would be slightly likely to do so.
While the numbers are not favorable as yet, Sterne concluded it could still be a money-maker for Facebook.
“We believe this is an area of tremendous opportunity for Facebook,” the report said. “This will allow Facebook to diversify its revenues away from advertising and should lessen the impact of the shift toward mobile. The mobile transition has had less of an impact on revenue for companies with transaction-based models versus those with advertising-based models. Additionally, launching Facebook Gifts could signal Facebook’s entry into the large e-commerce market.”
On the search engine front, again, just less than half (47.4 percent) of respondents said they would be at least slightly likely to use a Facebook search engine, instead of their current search engine of choice. Of that 47.4 percent, 1.3 percent were highly likely, 4.4 percent were very likely and14.4 percent moderately likely to do so.
Those in the 18- to 29-year-old demographic were the least likely to switch from their preferred search engine at 34 percent.
“While we think that attempting to compete with Google head-on in Search would prove challenging for Facebook, we think Facebook has a good opportunity to differentiate by combining Search with Social,” the report said. “Recall, Facebook currently receives 1 billion search queries per day, albeit these are mostly searches for people.”
Despite the fairly low percentages for the site’s new and proposed features, engagement on Facebook remains high with 63 percent of respondents accessing the site once daily, and 43 percent doing so more than once a day.
“Based on our survey, we believe engagement levels remain healthy across various age groups. Engagement is particularly strong within the 18-29 year olds, which makes sense given the median age of a FB user worldwide is only 22,” the report said.
Mobile is gaining in popularity with 61 percent of users having the Facebook mobile app and, of these, 64 percent access it at least once a day.
With 77 percent of these users being moderately to extremely satisfied, including 33 percent at the upper end of the spectrum, Facebook clearly needs to do better. In fact, the study concluded mobile is the most critical area for Facebook going forward.
“Since currently only one of three mobile users of Facebook in our survey indicates a high degree of satisfaction, it suggests there is considerable room for improvement for Facebook. We think the Facebook mobile app is, in fact, improving, and future users are likely to have a more favorable view. As an example, Facebook’s recently released new app with the iPhone 5 has been received well.”