An eye-tracking study of 25 people said to represent the average social-networking site users found that a majority of them approved of seeing advertisements and even engaged with ads while searching for products and reviews on their favorite social portals, according a report released this week.
The study, titled "Seeing Search Go Social," by search marketing agency Oneupweb, finds that 65 percent of that small sample that used sites such as Facebook and Twitter to find out about products ended up "engaged with sponsored ads within the first 10 seconds of their search. "
The study tracked eye movements of participants faced with such social networking portals. The idea is to gauge whether such sites can be as useful in the future as Google has been in pairing customers with goods being sought.
"We wanted to know if people actually look at ads when they are on social sites like Facebook, YouTube," states Oneupweb CEO and Founder Lisa Wehr. "Or, in the case of Twitter, where will they likely look for those ads when they do begin to appear? We found that not only do users spend time viewing paid ads on social networking sites, they often look at these ads before actual search results."
Additionally, according to a statement based on the study's results, "50% of participants were satisfied with their brand search on Twitter. Many liked that they could find the most current opinions about a product."
See the full study here.