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Turns out GM might have been on to something. New research from marketing agency Greenlight shows 44 percent of Facebook’s users say that they will “never” click on sponsored posts or display ads on Facebook.

UPDATE: Facebook sets $38 share price for largest tech IPO in U.S. history.

General Motors caused a stir on Tuesday when it leaked that the company would stop running ads on Facebook due to them not being effective. GM will drop $10 million worth of ads, but it still plans to spend $30 million on marketing through Facebook. That story was poor timing for Facebook, which will have its record-breaking IPO this Friday.


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For its 2011-2012 Search & Social Survey, Greenlight surveyed 500 people, including students, medical staff, accountants, lawyers, and others, to gain insight about their behavior on Facebook and their sentiments toward the company. On top of finding out 44 percent would never click on display ads, 31 percent of respondents said they “rarely” click display ads, 13 percent said they don’t use Facebook, 10 percent said they “often” clicked ads, and 3 percent said they “regularly” clicked Facebook’s sponsored posts.

Also notable is that 30 percent of those surveyed said they “strongly distrust” Facebook with their personal data, which somewhat lines up with the CNBC polling earlier this week, in which 59 percent of people said they distrust Facebook on user data.

“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.”

One plus side to Greenlight’s report is that the users who did click on Facebook ads found “the targeting effective and engaging,” Kimuyu noted. Perhaps that’s a sign that people will be less wary of Facebook ads over time.

Photo illustration: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat

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