Thumbs Up for Facebook Gifts, Down for Promoted Posts
A new survey looks at the popularity of Facebook's money-making ideas, including Facebook Gifts
Would you pay to promote one of your status updates on Facebook? How about to send a friend a real, physical teddy bear or cake? If you're an average Facebook user, your answer to both of those questions is likely to be no, according to a new survey. Nevertheless, a significant number of people are willing to pay for these novel services, including 16 percent of survey-takers who say they would pay for a status that lingers a little longer on their friends' News Feeds.
The new survey, conducted by the brokerage firm Sterne Agee, is an attempt to see how popular Facebook's money-making ideas are. It also takes a look at one ambitious goal of the social network, asking survey participants whether they would use a Facebook-based search engine, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to create.
The Alabama-based Sterne Agee sent a survey, run by SurveyMonkey, to more than 750 Facebook users, excluding small businesses. In its report, the brokerage found Facebook has long-term potential for investors, but "the near-term outlook on FB remains cloudy."
One of the social network's latest paid-service ideas is Facebook Gifts, which allows users to buy and send each other real items sold through retail partners. Not all users have access to it yet. In Sterne Agee's survey, 45 percent of people said they were at least "slightly likely" to use the service, while 55 percent said they were not at all likely to buy a Facebook gift.
That 45 percent figure it is substantial, considering Gifts is still in its testing phase, Sterne Agee said in its analysis. Gifts could also be an important move for Facebook as more and more people access the network on their smartphones and other mobile devices, Sterne Agee said. Ad revenues tend to plunge as websites move to mobile, but profits from buying and selling things aren't as affected, the brokerage's analysis said.
Facebook's promoted posts are less popular than Gifts, with 16 percent of people willing to pay for them and only 1.2 percent willing to pay more than $5. Promoted posts aren't likely to make a difference to the social networking company, Sterne Agee said.
As for a potential future Facebook search engine, 47 percent of survey-takers said they would use such a tool. Younger users, age 18 to 29, were the least likely to give up their current search engine.
The survey confirmed other trends that many Facebook users already knew. It found that the most avid adult Facebook-checkers are between 18 and 29 years old. It also found that the majority of people have noticed more ads on the site over the past six months, but it doesn't seem to affect how often they log on — on average, people spend just as much time on Facebook as they did six months ago.