In a recent poll from Reuters/Ipsos, 80% of Facebook users report that they've never interacted with an ad on the social networking site.
I'm not surprised.
And here's why I won't be surprised if Facebook – even with nearly a billion users – never lives up to its promise of becoming a magical place where brands and consumers can form a more perfect union.
People don't come to Facebook to interact with brands. They come to interact with their friends and family.
I can hear you saying, "They don't come to TV for the ads either," and you'd be right. But there are a couple of key differences.
First, people accept ads on television because they pay for the content. Their expectations on the internet are different as every publisher and content provider has discovered.
Second, you don't interact with television. You sit back and let the content waft over you. Sure, you may flip between channels or fast forward through the spots on your DVR. But for the most part, ads are a part of the content not a little bar off to the side.
When I'm on Facebook, I'm looking at my newsfeed. I'm reading posts. I'm commenting on photos. I'm ignoring Socialcam and all those other insidious apps.
What I'm not doing is looking at the ads.
The answer may be to create promoted posts as Twitter does, but I'm skeptical of that. Having your brand's message show up uninvited on a timeline would be akin to walking up to people engaged in a conversation, interrupting them and trying to sell them something. It's the wrong place and time even if they happen to be talking about you.
The opportunity for brands on Facebook is just as it is for any other word of mouth communication; do something interesting, do something remarkable, solve a real problem for people and maybe they'll talk about you.
Elbowing your way into the conversation won't endear your brand to anyone.