Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The issue with Ads

Sarah Newsad 

Every time I scroll through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, I come across some kind of advertisement, which can be good and bad. Whenever I read Cosmopolitan or People magazine for the latest gossip, I flip the page page and come across an advertisement. In the past five years, I've noticed that native ads really draw my attention- I'm usually intrigued by what they're broadcasting. One minute, I'm creeping on Kim K and the next I'm reading about the new Apple Watch that's coming next year. When journalists look at the big picture, it seems so subtle, but native advertising has undoubtedly become apart of a bigger picture. 

What is possibly the scariest thing about advertisements is they're everywhere, even if you don't notice them. Looking at my Snapchat recently, I realized I can't view a 'story' without an advertisement popping up next. Typically on Snapchat it's an advertisement I'm not into. On Instagram it's much different. I recently googled a new ice cream I had heard about through friends and the next thing I realized is Halo Top Ice Cream was coming up everywhere I looked. 
As seen above, Snapchat has joined the 'bandwagon,' they now post a variety of advertisements, anything from movies to cereal. These advertisements demonstrate the world we live in, the companies are taking advantage of the everyday social media user, and using it efficiently to their advantage. Facebook tailors each and every one of their adds to match what you have been recently searching. We can't escape the native ads, and eventually they will be on every platform we use. 

When we think about ads, traditionally we think about magazine/newspaper ads and their limitations. According to the American Society of Magazine Editors, magazines "the portion that seems most likely to cause contention, however, says 'native ads should not use type fonts and graphics resembling those used for editorial content and should be visually separated from editorial content." This is not usually the case, most of the time in ads there is no disclosed information, you normally have to look for specific words and phrases that disclose this information. 

Native Advertising has both its ups and downs. In some way it can make the Public Relations and the advertising world seem a little bit "sketchy." When I think about how financially successful advertisements can be, we realize how good it is for the company. For me, as a user, I get frustrated when I have to wait five seconds for YouTube commercials or when I have to click "tweet is not relevant." Native Advertising is growing and becomes an expectancy.  

According to The Content Strategist, many of the most popular news outlets spend up to $200,000 worth of native advertising. Time happens to be the largest spender when it comes to advertisements throughout their magazine. “But with it has come controversy, with many debating whether native advertising is fundamentally misleading readers by cloaking an advertisement in the guise of a story.” This perhaps is the biggest ethical issue we have to deal with. Are the ads being truthful and honest to all readers? Is it worth the losing the trust of readers? Will native advertising drive away consumes? Personally I don't think they will, but advertisers need to spend more resources in making sure what they're broadcasting is to the right person. 
In the end, native advertising is something I do agree with. I can't deny that when something I am interested in pops up on the side I click on the link, but I think it needs to come at the right time. 

As the ethics of branded content states, "if everything you publish is paid propaganda, then your readership will dwindle to near zero, and it will happen quickly." They're exactly right, having the appropriate amount of advertising is key to your viewers and their loyalty to your brand overall.  

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