by Amanda Howard
Where would we be without social media? More importantly, where would advertising be without social media? The textbook definition of social media is “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking” We understand this more simply as the Big 4: Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So, let’s talk about social media and how advertising connects to it.
A recent trend seen on the social environment in the last few years is a distancing of 18 to 22 year old’s from Snapchat, as they move towards the ever expanding Instagram. Multiple celebrities have also moved to become more heavily involved on this platform, as well as various groups of parents, such as ‘Mommy Bloggers’ or family-involved YouTubers. Although Snapchat is still popular with those younger aged generation Z individuals and some specific groups of millennials, one cannot deny that the facts and figures show a slow, but steady drift away from the once rampantly popular picture sharing app. In terms of advertising, it all boils down to demographics. Essentially, this then means that those companies advertising on Snapchat, are aiming towards the younger teenager audience. The ads and filters created for those viewers, are put there due to the interest of the individual.
Facebook is still here. It’s essentially the MySpace of young adults, those individuals who once got the thrill of creating their first Facebook account, but now merely open it sporadically to stalk their old middle school boyfriend, or check what college that one girl they met in Algebra class freshman year of high school is going to. Facebook has become the hub of the older generation, grandparents posting pictures of their grandchildren, re-posting false and slightly racist political rants, commenting on various posts of their family, while forgetting that everyone can view said comment. Facebook’s history is riddled with various information leaks, Mark Zuckerberg becoming somewhat of a meme himself and its troubling interaction with our most recent presidential race. Through it all though, the *almost* OG social media site is still there, and she still proves a force to be *sometimes* reckoned with. Due to this slow decline in relevancy and popularity, advertisements on Facebook now cater to an older audience of sorts, with a mixture of ads aimed at the actual users of the site, which has drifted in the recent years.
Although mentioned earlier, Instagram is a powerhouse. It’s essentially the mitochondria of all social media. There are actual people who can make a living off of posting on the site, not that it isn’t an actual job, just that Instagram has created a career that didn’t exist previous to *maybe* five years ago. The likes one gains on Instagram equals the popularity of the individual, and your number of followers can equal to the price companies are willing to pay for a sponsored post. It’s a little insane when looking at the ad world and seeing how it has evolved to make room for these new modes of revenue, for these modern aged influencer creations. Due to this, a lot of the ads that are on Instagram, are generally from influencers themselves. Ads are seen in sponsored posts and, due to regulations recently put in place over the past few years, now have to be labelled with either hashtags “#ad or #sponsored’.
Last, but never least, Twitter. Our friend, our activist, our supplier of news, of memes, of the latest trends and oldest anniversaries. In our political landscape today, Twitter has become a huge player in spreading news rapidly, working to gain momentum for various issues and separate parties. We can always count on Twitter to make jokes of our everyday lives, the best tool to find humor in times of darkest, and waste minutes when the clock is ticking too slowly. Twitter has become a crutch for some when struggling to deal with idle hands or awkward situations, and a tool for others to spread messages of hope or praise when very much needed. It seems as though Twitter will always be here, silently in the background, or loudly on the front lines of action. In bringing this ideal back to advertising, due to the site’s huge presence, ads are pretty frequent on the site, almost every six or seven posts. Ads are aimed at the users themselves, based on previous internet history and the specific people individuals follow on their accounts.
All in all, social media is an amazing source for advertisers to use to reach their specific target audience. Outside of the mere fact that this generation is on their phone for almost ninety hours per month gives advertisers and brands direct connection to their demographic almost 24/7. Social media is an incredible resource, one that continually evolves and grows with every coming year and new update.