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Study: Nearly half of Facebook users never click ads

It’s finally Facebook IPO day and this study couldn’t come at a more sensitive time. A survey conducted by advertising agency Greenlight found that 44 percent of Facebook users “never,” or will ever, click on ads or sponsored posts while using the social media site.

With Facebook as one of the biggest tools for brands to connect with its fans, the number is quite jarring for companies that have invested the big bucks on Facebook advertising. Perhaps that’s why General Motors pulled $10 million worth of advertising from Facebook on Tuesday, citing that the service had not delivered effective results. In the study titled “2011-2012 Search & Social Survey,” Greenlight asked respondents of all age groups and occupations, including students, lawyers, accountants, and medical staff to learn about their Facebook usage behaviors and attitudes toward the site. Despite the 44 percent that say they will never click on Facebook ads, 3 percent say they “regularly” click on ads and 10 percent admitted they “often” fall for the ads.

Since Facebook often sneak the ads in as seamlessly as possible to make the user experience less disruptive, it’s clear users aren’t exactly as inattentive as the site would like to think. If it’s anything people hate, it’s being tricked into advertising when they just want to go about using Facebook for their personal lives. About 30 percent of Facebook users “strongly distrust” Facebook with their personal data (yet somehow still remain on the site?) especially since the site does not allow users to opt for a Do Not Track function. With Twitter announcing yesterday it will allow its users to block the site from collecting personal data for this exact advertising use, things aren’t looking too great for Facebook.

“With over 30% of respondents saying they ‘strongly distrust’ Facebook with their personal data, Facebook’s advertising program has an upward struggle,” Hannah Kimuyu, director of paid media at Greenlight, said in a statement. “Facebook’s advertising program allows brands to connect with more than 800 million potential customers, through targeting their age, gender, location, and interests — in other words, personal data.”

However, Kimuyu did note that the percentage of those who don’t mind Facebook ads found them “effective and engaging” so maybe the ones who refuse to click ads should give them a shot? It’s natural for people to dislike advertising creeping into their lives, but with Facebook attempting to do it better and in a way we might actually find useful, there might just be a middle point on which both parties can compromise.

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