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Seeking to grab the attention of Gen Y's on social networks? Better put away the old tried-and-true online display ads. A new study by the Participatory Marketing Network and Pace University shows that, to young adults aged 18-24, online ads in traditional formats are so yesterday.

These researchers asked a group of Gen Y's if they notice ads at all when navigating through a social community, and if they approve of them. While 84% said they notice ads on social networks, only 19% said they find them "relevant." Ouch.

According to Internet Retailer, the researchers also found that 74% of the young consumers polled click on social network ads "infrequently," and 36% don't click on the ads at all. Yikes.


So, what's a Gen Y marketer to do in social media? Well, there were a few signs of hope in the results, too. For instance, 62% of the respondents said they have "visited a brand or fan page on a social network." And 48% said they have "become a fan or friend of the company or organization" showcased on a brand or fan page.

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