Business owners just starting their social media marketing campaigns may be confused about the best avenue to take – each network offers multiple ad options, and there’s demand for consistent organic content. A new study from Vizu, a Nielsen company, discovered that approximately 66 percent of companies integrate paid social advertisements into their online efforts. Fifty-one percent use social ads to spark offline action. But is this the most effective approach?

AYTM Facebook Ads in NewsfeedAccording to the report, business owners run paid social ads with online video content, display features and through mobile devices. These complex marketing features build promotional Pages that position products and services in front of Facebook followers. However, users don’t always appreciate these ads. In fact, data from Ask Your Target Market suggests that paid social ads may deter online connections from clicking or engaging with the publishing brand.

According to AYTM recent survey, 26 percent of Facebook users don’t even notice paid ads within their Newsfeeds on the site. Another 39 percent say they sometimes notice the posts. Overall, 44 percent of surveyed social users say they have never clicked on a Newsfeed ad – raising doubt that these efforts pay off for small businesses just getting into the world of Facebook marketing. More, 45 percent indicated that these paid ads negatively impact their experiences on the platform.

Small business owners should be wary of paid ads – they have their place, but custom social media content remains king. Instead of funneling resources toward positioned Newsfeed ads, professionals should publish content for lead generation that educates and informs readers, rather than sells to them directly. Social media works best when business owners create fluid user experiences tailored around brand building, not direct marketing and sales. With a highly active social profile aimed at nurturing relationships with new and existing customers, companies see content returns naturally.