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Are Ads on Social Media Becoming Invasive?


Ads on social media are becoming more and more prevalent on our favorite apps and websites.
Targeted ads in particular have made their way onto our screens becoming more advanced and relevant to what you, the user wants to see. They're the sometimes creepy reminder that your internet activity, especially internet shopping habits, are tracked. As someone who much prefers internet shopping over the hassle of finding the product you want in-store, targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram always catch my eye. But are social media ads, targeted or not, starting to become intrusive and ruin the social media experience?

When Facebook started using targeted ads in February of 2015, it took many by surprise when that t-shirt they were looking at on Asos was now plastered over their Facebook feed, along with about six other recommended products.Although helpful in reminding you of things you were looking at, it seems quite invasive in that things you're looking at online are being tracked and remembered. If you're easily tempted by internet shopping like me, you'll probably click on those ads and continue your browsing and end up wanting to purchase everything. So evidently, with the most clicked call-to-action (CTA) button on Facebook being 'Shop Now' at 74%, for online retailers and companies in general, it's a very good marketing strategy.

Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012 for $1 billion, soon got on board with targeted ads in the form of clickable Instagram posts within users' feeds. As an app based almost entirely on visuals, the ads were bound to be successful and draw customers in. According to Facebook, more than 2.5 billion products have been uploaded for use in dynamic ads and it's said that Instagram's global ad revenue will reach $2.81 billion this year. And with these statistics, it's no wonder that of the top 100 world brands, 90% have Instagram.

As a keen internet-shopper I find Facebook and Instagram ads more useful than invasive, even if it seems slightly creepy, it's mostly a positive thing. Plus with the option to hide ads you don't find relevant, it helps the companies maintain app popularity: as displayed on the 'About Instagram Adverts' section on the app, they work to 'stay true to the spirit of the Instagram community'.

Last year, Snapchat, a rival company to Facebook, went further with their marketing techniques by introducing ads which interrupt your viewing of your friend's stories. This goes beyond the optional ads and stories on the 'Discover' section of the app, which, if you're just there to send funny selfies to your mates, you can ignore at your heart's content. However with these ads popping up in-between your friend's Snapchat stories, its less optional. Yes, easily skip-able with a quick tap, but arguably more invasive as it flashes up on your screen, with sound if yours is turned on.

However, Snapchat have been cautious in staggering these ads, not placing ads between every story, and from Snapchat's statement on the launch of the feature last year: 'we’ll run only top-notch creative, and we’ll be careful about how many ads Snapchatters see'. So with that in mind, while it's unavoidable to see an ad pop up in between your friend's stories, it could be worse.

Plus, with 10 billion video views per day and counting, it clearly hasn't deterred users.It brings revenue for Snapchat and it's advertisers, with the option to swipe up on the ads, leading to a video, website or app. Despite all this, you can't help but look back to the simplicity of Snapchat before Stories, Discover or between-story ads, but hey, money's got to be made and Snapchat as a business has grown incredibly, despite the competition from Facebook and Instagram.

Regardless of the increasing advertising techniques social media companies use, while some techniques won't be everyone's cup of tea, mostly, they're doing it right.



An aspiring journalist, Laura is our Content Writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow. Find her daily musings on twitter @Songbird_Lauras


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Are Ads on Social Media Becoming Invasive? Reviewed by Laura Sewell on Friday, February 03, 2017 Rating: 5

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