SYDNEY: Australian social media users regard the level of advertising on Facebook as having reached saturation level according to a report which also finds they are more likely to see Instagram and Pinterest as positive channels.

The soon-to-be-released Social Media & Digital Advertising – Trends, Rights and Wrongs, from consumer insights business The Korn Group, highlights a growing view that Facebook is a "negative" channel, thanks to the online behaviours of both people and brands, Campaign Brief reported.

This conclusion emerged from group discussions in locations across Sydney and Melbourne with participants reflecting a mix of backgrounds and ages between 18 and 55.

"Facebook has become synonymous with people projecting an idealised version of their life and it is leading users to question their own lives," noted founder and chief executive Neer Korn.

But given the numbers of people using it, most continue to have a presence there, despite the increased levels of abuse being reported.

"The negative comments and trolling have created the overwhelming view that the platform, while seeming necessary and even addictive, has become a negative experience for many people," Korn said.

Brand communications were also contributing to this. "A lot of the communications on social media and digital were seen as interruptive, in your face and disruptive," Korn reported.

"To me it was almost 'anti-branding' because it was the brand getting in your way," he told Ad News. "If you're a brand, you actually don't want to put off your consumer – but that's what a lot of them end up doing."

That was not the case, however, on visual sites such as Instagram and Pinterest. "These sites rely on strong, beautiful imagery and thrive on positive uplifting images that are both inspiring and aspiring for consumers," Korn explained.

"The presence of brands, particularly through postings by celebrities, only adds to this experience and people are happy to follow brands on these channels," he added.

His advice was that brands think seriously about why they are using particular social media and whether their offering is appropriate to that environment.

"There is a need to think more about how to enhance the user experience if brands are to be successful in the social media space."

Data sourced from Campaign Brief, Ad News; additional content by Warc staff