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Jordan Froud

Published on

April 13, 2018


advertising, facebook, social advertising, zuckerberg

Analysis: Emphasising Social Advertising

Whilst the world watches Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance in front of the United States Congress, the ramifications of the Cambridge Analytica scandal continue to reverberate throughout the industry. One of the many areas this has effected is the world of social media advertising, specifically, the way third-parties use data.

Now, all this hubbub doesn’t mean that online advertisement is coming to an end any time soon seeing as online advertisers are expected to outspend TV by $40 billion in 2018, equating to 40% of the world’s ad spending. However, it does mean that the industry is facing unprecedented examination.

Even in the past few weeks, a flurry of social advertising news is firing from all cylinders, with just a few of the many news items reporting:

  • Brands are still paying for YouTube ads even if they’re skipped by the viewer
  • Twitter is banning cryptocurrency ads
  • Facebook is starting to remove influential ad targeting options for businesses.

These reports show that social advertising is still unchartered territory for many as businesses face a fluctuating industry that’s heavily dependent on evolving technologies. Not to mention how influential public opinion is on policy changes when controversy strikes (just look at all the changes Facebook is starting to make).

Because of the variable nature of the industry, brands and advertisers are starting to formulate new strategies to advertise their products on social media. Brands like Amazon and Converse have started to utilise gifs to subtly advertise their products, making ads that don’t seem like ads. For example, if you make a gif with a celebrity wearing a branded t-shirt, millions could potentially share it without realising they’re sharing an advert.

It’s not just the brands that are adapting, influencers are starting to have to change their tactics to avoid backlash against how advertisements work. Influencers on YouTube and Pinterest hardly ever disclose the true nature of their marketing associations. Although labelling a sponsored post as such is now a common industry standard, there are ways around it.

If you check out a post from a popular make-up artist’s channel, ‘this video/post is not sponsored’ may be stated. However, what they may fail to mention is that the links provided of the products featured in the post are affiliate links, meaning that if a viewer clicks on one of these links and buys a product, the influencer will get a slice of the profit.

These tactics are being adopted to not only keep up with an unpredictable and constantly fluctuating market, but to also combat the backlash and scepticism of those who feel like they’re being tricked or manipulated by brands and adverts.

Regulations in advertising are nothing new but as the spotlight is increasingly intensified on the industry, so are the regulations. As of now, the UK government is putting forward new restrictions on junk food social media advertising in an attempt to combat childhood obesity. This shows that the medium is being as seen as socially influential, making it more susceptible to regulations and scrutiny.

The whole world is now watching how theses social media giants are using our data and it’s already starting to affect those who advertise. Brands and businesses will not only have to be careful with how they handle their user data but also how they strategise all future ad targeting campaigns.

This Week’s Top Social Stories

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced US Congress on Capitol Hill, answering questions on the platforms influence on national security and democracy. Read More

A new study by the Pew Research Centre finds that bots tweet the majority of links to popular websites, accounting for two-thirds of said tweets. Read More

Snapchat starts to rollback features of its controversial redesign for some users, bringing back reverse chronological order for their ‘stories’ function. Read More

Facebook introduces even more security measures from blocking apps accessing user data after non-use to political advertiser verification. Read More

Instagram to add a bevy of new features including selfie ‘focus mode’, mention stickers and QR name-tag codes. Read More


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