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Facebook users ignore ads and spend less time on site, poll says

June 06, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

The vast majority of Facebook users say they ignore ads on the social network, according to a survey whose findings are expected to add to questions about the company's revenue prospects.

Four out of five Facebook users said neither advertisements nor comments on the social network have ever led them to buy a product or service, according to the poll by Reuters/Ipsos.

The poll comes as Facebook Inc. faces increasing investor scrutiny over its main revenue source —advertising — and whether it can wring more ad revenue from its more than 900 million users.

Before its initial public offering last month, the Menlo Park, Calif., company announced that it has yet to figure out effective ways to generate revenue from a growing trend in which users access the social network from their mobile devices. That disclosure, which was revealed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, set off red flags for would-be investors and may have led to the stock's lackluster debut.

Adding to those investor worries was a move by General Motors Co. to stop advertising on Facebook because it did not find them effective in selling more cars.

The poll, which surveyed 1,032 Facebook users in late May and early June, also found that more than one-third said they are spending less time on the social network than they were six months ago, attributing the decrease to Facebook becoming "boring," "not relevant" or "not useful." But 20% of those polled said they are spending more time on the social network.

Forty percent of Facebook members said they log on every day; 60% of users in the 18-to-34 age group say they use the site daily.

As far as their view of the company, 44% said Facebook's IPO has made them feel less favorable toward the social network. Wall Street got some flak for the IPO too, however, as 46% said they now saw the stock market less favorably as well.

Facebook shares have fallen more than 30% since its IPO last month.

salvador.rodriguez@latimes.com

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