Invasion of Digital Ads and Their Impact on Social Media

The word “invasion” in this title is not meant to be light or amusing. There has been of late a literal invasion of digital ads in the feeds of social media users. These ads—many of which are poor in quality, we might ad—are increasing. Why?

The trend—and timing—of this invasion

In an article published in The New York Times, Tiffany Hsu commented on the proliferation of digital ads that are invading—and annoying—users everywhere. Not only are these ads low-quality, but apparently nobody wants to see them. What makes this unfortunate trend both ironic and confusing is that where online advertising is concerned, we live in a time when most marketers are (or should be) weaning themselves off third-party data in favor of first-party data. This is Google’s answer to addressing the privacy concerns from users, having declared that ads which are delivered full blast via third-party tracking will be completely discontinued by the end of this year. And, as stated, these ads are particularly annoying on social media.

Social media has become an easy target

Ms. Hsu noted that, as may be expected, fans of social media are not happy about being bombarded with ads that they never asked to see appearing on their platforms of choice. (And for one popular platform, the situation has gone beyond annoying to threatening.) Here are examples of what these sites have experienced:

  • Twitter has had so many ugly and unbidden ads placed that it has been compared to a tabloid magazine by some users.

  • Instagram has had to deal with ads from—of all places—Amazon, which has been promoting unrecognizable items from unknown merchants.

  • YouTube—the “popular platform” mentioned above—is dealing with a situation wherein imposters (referred to in cybersecurity as ‘bad actors’) are impersonating popular video creators in order to scam viewers.

  • Meta has also been hit hard and is taking proactive steps by updating its “Why am I seeing this ad?” feature, thus improving transparency about how user activity may help improve how future ads are delivered. Additionally, Meta is making the Ad Preferences accessible to users.

One reason that social media has been a very visible target for these unwanted digital ads has to do with the ease of purchasing ad formats—from static text, videos, and messaging, among many others.

A twist in the law of “supply versus demand”?

So many unwanted ads are now appearing (in as many places online) because of a slowdown in the digital ad market, which in turn connects with the current economy. Some marketers have chosen to pull back on their spending. This has inadvertently made certain advertisers desperate enough to promote their goods and services—even if this means seeking the help from candidates who will submit work that is substandard (and in the case of YouTube, unethical).

If you want to increase the visibility of your brand or business via social media, don’t fall into the trap described above. EGC will serve as the right partner with the right media plan to deliver top-quality digital ads or videos created in The EGC Content Studio. And then, our social media team will orchestrate the right strategy to schedule posts where your brand may be viewed at the best possible times.

Check out samples of work as well as our social media services to learn more.

If you like what you see, get in touch with us for help with your digital and social media presence.