By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Facebook brings in most of its money from advertising. Last year, the social media site made $40 billion, mostly from ads tailored specifically to users.

But, with all the ads out there, do the ads cut through the noise? How persuasive is advertising? Good Question.

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Ask most people on the street and they’ll tell – ads don’t affect them at all.

“Advertising can’t make you want something you didn’t already want,” says Julianna Simon, Director of Strategic Planning at advertising firm, Fallon. “You’ll take in messages even if you don’t know you’re looking at something, but it depends on your openness at the beginning.”

According to market research firm Yankelovich, Americans are exposed to 5,000 brand messages a day. That can range from an ad to seeing a brand logo on the street.

“It’s very rare you watch and ad and you go out and buy the product or service right away,” says Caguin. “It happens over time.”

Caguin says advertising provides a short cut to all of the decisions people make as consumers each day.  It makes people more familiar with a brand, which can create a likability factor.

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Advertisers also play off people’s basic emotions by trying to demonstrate the brand values what the consumer values.

“When you back up and talk to people about why they made a decision in like, there’s usually a underscoring emotion that has driven them to that,” says Caguin.

According to Steven Wehrenberg, former CEO of advertising agency Campbell Mithun, advertising also works by asking people to take part in an identity that they may aspire to.  For example, he uses Harley Davidson as an effective example of marketing to middle-aged people.

“You can own a Harley and feel like bad-ass, the brand makes you feel that way,” Wehrenberg says. “It gets you to believe something you subconsciously feel.”

How many times a person needs to be exposed to an ad before it resonates is up for debate, but most experts say it should be multiple times.

“Repetition is important, but it really is more about quality of message and relevance of message than it is about quantity today,” says Caguin.

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He also points out brands are getting better at measuring the impacts of advertising, especially on social media. Brands can now look directly to a consumer’s online behavior to know if that person clicked on a website, how long that person stayed and if they ultimately hit purchase.

Heather Brown