A new survey suggests that social media users who see brand advertisement on Twitter and Facebook might actually become more negative towards those brands.

Social and mobile advertising firm MediaBrix conducted a survey of 2,516 adults in the United States, asking them about their perception of social media ads.

They found that 62 percent of those who had seen ads in-stream on Twitter (such as a Promoted Tweet) in the past 12 months had a negative or unchanged perception of the brand being advertised.

A similar number of respondents (72 percent) felt the same way towards Facebook sponsored stories, and even more (85 percent) felt this way towards sponsored video ads that appeared to be content.

42 percent of those surveyed went on to say that they found Promoted Tweets misleading, since they appeared to be regular content.

This is bad news for marketers, who have recently been turning to “native” advertising – ads that appear in Twitter timelines or on the users’ Facebook news feed – as a more engaging alternative to traditional advertising.

Twitter and Facebook both claim that the engagement rates on their ads are higher than traditional digital advertising such as banner ads, but this might not make much of a different if consumers are coming away from the ads with a negative view of the brand paying for them.

Ari Brandt, CEO for MediaBrix, explains that marketers have to tread carefully when it comes to new social media advertising formats:

“This study validates that people respond best to authenticity in advertising no matter the format. With the recent buzz around ‘native’ ad formats, I think we need to carefully consider best practices. While anyone pushing the native ad agenda or otherwise would agree that we need to provide user experiences that are not jarring or disruptive, we also need to ensure that we are direct and honest with consumers about when they are being marketed to. Some formats achieve this better than others.”

(Thumbs down image via Shutterstock)