When I was procrastinating today, I noticed that Facebook has introduced advertisements in videos uploaded by users and pages now.  I noticed this when I was watching a teaser for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere one of those “life hack” videos appeared. In this video, a bottle of Coca-Cola was being sawed into bits and glued onto a Coca-Cola can to create a rather pointless can with an unscrew-able lid. Beneath the video showed “Products shown in this video” and had a link to follow to go to Coca-Cola’s Facebook page, or another link to go to the Life Hack video page. I thought nothing of it, waited for it to finish and continued procrastinating and watched the rest of the teaser.

The Pirates of the Caribbean video I was watching was just the teaser for the movie, and had a link in the description to follow to see the full trailer on YouTube. I noticed at this point that I had been exposed to marketing for the movie, for the life hack website, Coca-Cola, and now YouTube, so out of curiosity this time (instead of procrastination), I followed the link to see how deep this string of advertisements will go.

Once on YouTube, before watching the trailer, there was a 5 minute trailer at the beginning of the video, for a completely unrelated short film/documentary about a man driving across the Antarctic. Within this ad was only on brand of car; Hyundai. On the video, it left links to click on to visit either the full video for the film/documentary, or Hyundai’s website. The video didn’t provide an option to skip the ad like YouTube usually does, and I found that quite odd, so I watched the rest of the video, still hoping to just watch the Pirates of the Caribbean trailer.

At the end of the ad, yet another ad shows up, this time as a pop-up beneath the video, asking if I want to skip remove ads by trying YouTube Red. I selected “No thanks”, and finally at this point, was I finally able to watch my trailer. After about 15 minutes trying to watch one trailer, I was interrupted by 7 different and unrelated videos and other digital marketing materials.

By the end of the trailer, I was exposed to marketing from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, the Life Hack Facebook page, the Coca-Cola Facebook page, YouTube, that short film/documentary, Hyundai, and YouTube Red.

I feel like this is really effective marketing by each of these businesses, some marketing materials are more subtle than others, and without me scrutinising each and every detail for this blog, I probably would not have noticed.

After all that trouble to watch one video seeing ads within ads within ads, I have now installed an adblocker to my browser so that I can procrastinate in peace.




The Changing Content of Instagram

I’m sure you all remember when you first created your own Instagram account – how the vast majority of the content were photos shared by your friends to express their interests and hobbies. Instagram a couple of years ago used as everyone’s personal online photo albums.

Over the years, especially since many businesses have created their own Instagram accounts, there is more and more marketing material on my feed. The marketing material ranges from businesses posting promotional pictures, to users who are paid by businesses to promote their products. In my opinion, this has made the feeling of Instagram become less genuine.

Businesses have been targeting Instagram users who appear to have an influence over others, and pay them in order to promote their products. Due to this, I’ve noticed that there is almost a desperation for users to have as many followers as possible and as many likes as possible, creating this fake feeling to Instagram.

For the possibility of being paid by a business to promote something for them, and also for their own narcissistic desires, many users desire to be “Instafamous”. In order to get there, users no longer post whatever they want,  but they post photos with the same colour schemes, styles, and some spend hours preparing everything within the photo for the perfect pic.  Even with Instagram, basic digital marketing principles apply and every “Instafamous” user seems to know it – including not posting so often that your posts appear as spam.

From a business’ perspective, utilising Instagram users who have a large following is very effective, not only because it exposes the product to a large number of potential consumers, the product is seen to be endorsed by the user themselves, and therefore influence the buying behaviour of consumers. This also decreases the perceived risk associated with purchasing new products as most of the time, the Instagram user reviews the product.

Have you ever been persuaded by something on Instagram to purchase something? Do you think Instagram’s content has changed for the better or for the worse?