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An overwhelming 83.6% of users are unwilling to pay to use Facebook’s promoted posts feature that guarantees an important post is seen by friends, according to Sterne Agee in October 2012 survey results. Another 11.5% would pay $1 or less, and only 1.2% would pay more than $5, suggesting that Facebook faces an uphill battle in getting any traction from promoted posts, and that this feature might be more of a commercial opportunity for Facebook among brands and advertisers than among users.

Facebook also appears to face an uphill climb with its new “Gift” feature (introduced in September): 55.1% of respondents said they would be not at all likely to purchase and send a physical gift item (e.g., chocolate or gift cards) using the feature. Another 45% would consider using the feature, but only 5.3% are very or highly likely to use it. The researchers view this not as a failure, but, as a fairly new and unrealized opportunity for Facebook.

6 in 10 Believe Ads No More Or Less Relevant

Fully 54.1% of Facebook users report seeing more ads on the social network than they did 6 months ago, including 15.1% who have noticed much more ads. Still, about 4 in 10 report seeing the same amount of ads, while just 4.2% report seeing fewer ads on Facebook.

How relevant are those ads? Only 1 out of every 6 Facebook users surveyed believes the relevance of ads shown has increased over the last six months. While the majority of those respondents claim the ads are only slightly more relevant, an opposing 14.8% believe that the ads are less relevant, and 60.7% are neutral. Interestingly, 77% of mobile Facebook users in the survey indicate that they have not noticed ads. Because on mobile, Sponsored Stories (a recent addition) is Facebook’s primary advertising vehicle, this suggests that mobile users do not consider Sponsored Stories to be ads.

Half Interested in Facebook Search Engine

Some 47% of respondents say they would be at least slightly likely to use a Facebook search engine, instead of their current preferred search engine, indicating that Facebook has a strong opportunity to capture part of the search market by combining search with social. Even so, interest in a Facebook search engine is less pronounced among 18-29-year-old users (34%).

Despite these fairly low percentages, engagement on Facebook is considerable, with 63% of respondents accessing the site once daily, and 43% doing so more than once a day.

About The Data: Sterne Agee conducted a week-long survey of more than 750 Facebook users in the US across various age groups/income levels and a near-equal ratio of men (54%) and women (46%). The data for this survey was collected using SurveyMonkey Audience.

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