This week, our guest writer is Renee Bradshaw. Renee is sixteen and will be giving us a youth perspective on marketing within social media. As marketers, we often target our ads to those in the under 18 bracket but give little thought about how these ads affect their experience. Renee weighs in…..
Like any teenager, I’m an avid social media user. Nothing says staying social and connected like the use of social networks. This isn’t true, but I like to tell myself it is. As time goes on, it’s becoming a more and more integral part of our society. As a 16-year-old, I’ve tried more sites than you can imagine, but none more engaging than these three; Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Social media sites come and go over time, however, it seems these three are here to stay.
Being the age that I am, there is no doubt that I feel the pressure to conform and so do most of my generation. That’s where social media comes into play. It’s become a part of my routine, I wake up, send my Snapchat streaks, respond to any Snap’s or messages, scroll through my feed, check any tagged posts, and then I start getting ready for school. While I eat breakfast, I respond to my messages again, and once I’ve done that, I drive to school. Once I get to school, I then kill time by hopping onto whichever app I was on last, which tends to be Snapchat. Then I do it all again in the afternoon, but for a great deal longer.
And that is me underplaying it. If I’m honest, I’ve probably picked up my phone five times while writing this. It’s a habit, I get that. As much as I hate the trend, I am apart of it, and that is why marketers utilise social media. They know who I am, they know what I want. And it’s catered for.
When using all of these media sites and apps I’m exposed to more marketing than you would think. The marketing is highly dependant on the apps and sites that we use, as well as the people that use them. Below, I’ve collated the social media I use, why, and how the ads that appear can hinder or enhance the experience.
Snapchat has become my primary mode of social media. I use it to communicate with almost everyone, even my mum. While using its features, I’m regularly presented with various forms of marketing – the most apparent being social media influencers. They review products, offer promo codes, and give shoutouts to companies. They specialise in cosmetics, clothing, technology…the list goes on. This is the most visible mode of marketing within Snapchat. However, it tends to be one of the most tolerated. Personally, I love seeing this, and If I don’t like it, then I unfollow that particular person, simple! That’s the reason it tends to be endured. I have control over whether or not I see it.
Another form of marketing that’s apparent on Snapchat is the pop-up videos that feature when you are transitioning from story to story or pages of an article. I find them incredibly annoying and disruptive, as they don’t feature at the beginning or end of whichever process is taking place, rather, they interrupt and disturb the flow. The final mode of marketing on Snapchat is the brands and companies that subtly feature within articles and videos. These brands are either starred in videos, or articles featured on the discover page on the app.
One of my favourite social media platforms is Instagram. I use it for inspiration, motivation, to share photos, watch funny videos, as well as many other things that would take me forever to mention. While doing this, I notice people finding new, subtle ways of marketing. The way that Instagram features marketing is clever – it’s disguised and doesn’t affect my use of the site. The marketing that I have noticed when using Instagram is the obvious, self-promoter, product promoter, and the sponsored ads that feature in your feed.
Social media influencers tend to promote a lot of merchandise as they earn a lot of income by doing so. However, they can only do so by already having a significant following. A lot of people promote themselves as brands on social media, but it’s most apparent on Instagram. People collaborate with others to increase the number of followers they have, whether that’s with giveaways, shoutouts and the like. All of which is fairly disguised and easy to omit, making the online experience more enjoyable and straightforward.
YouTube is a big part of my daily routine. Once I get home, I eat and watch any YouTubers that I’m subscribed to, ensuring that I’m up to date with their posts. While watching these clips, I’m exposed to what is safe to say the most irritating marketing possible! As many of you will know, YouTube features video adverts at the start of and sometimes during a lot of videos. I find these to be disruptive and annoying.
The great thing about it is that YouTube tends to tailor adverts to the viewer. The only time these videos are tolerable is when they are relatable, other than that I find them to be annoying, especially when you can’t skip them. Another type of marketing that’s noticeable when watching YouTube is the banner ads that sit above or around the video thumbnails. These don’t annoy me as much as they tend to be relatable, and if they’re not that doesn’t bother me either because in most cases you can close them, so it’s a win-win.
The most apparent, yet tolerable mode of marketing within YouTube is the products and companies that are mentioned and reviewed by the YouTubers. However, you seek that out yourself, in which case it’s not so much marketing as it is advice.
Facebook is abundant with ads, whether I like it or not. However, the ads that don’t relate to me I just tend to scroll past. As it’s so easy to avoid these adverts they don’t bother me too much. What bothers me however, is when the ads start to affect the way I use the app.
Twitter has always been an incredibly popular media, however, it’s not a social media I use. From my experience with it, it just seems to be the social media for celebrities to post their feelings, opinions, market products, and I guess I’ll never know what else, as personally I dislike using it. That’s not to discredit to its marketing potential! It’s just not for everyone #SORRYNOTSORRY
Social Media takes up so much of my time, that’s why I tend to be quite selective in the sites and the app’s that I use. If, on average, I’m going to be spending 10.4% (Dave Chaffey, 2016) of my life on my phone, I’d like to stay in control of the content that I’m exposed to and when I use it. Which is why I choose to use sites that feature the most discrete and relevant marketing, to me; it comes with the territory. I don’t have an issue with marketing within social media, as long as it doesn’t hinder my experience when using it. It’s safe to say that I love using social media for many things, but no other reason more apparent than staying connected. And if ads are a part of that, then so be it.