Shaping the Online Consumer

Angela Prvulovic

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Is Social Media the new advertisement?

Its funny to think that Twitter and Facebook have only been around for about a decade, yet they play such an integral part in today’s world. There is no doubt that social media has an influential role in modern consumers. But just how influential is it?

Advertising has been around for ages, in newspapers and magazines especially. But as of the twentieth century, advertising has boomed primarily to due to the rapidly growing popularity of the internet.

Instagram has around 600 million active users each month and Twitter has 320 million monthly users. If you ask yourself or anyone else, how often they check their phone, most answer daily. In-fact, it’s estimated that collectively, Americans alone check their phones eight billion times per day.  Companies take advantage of this by making their advertisements targeted to these audiences, primarily through updating Social Media feeds constantly.

Advertising and social media were both designed to be eye catching to the general public, as both compliment each other. Today, advertising and social media work in a partnership to govern today’s consumers.

Social media provides a platform for interaction between the consumer and the producer. Everyday social media feeds are filled with posts; many companies have a social media presence to advertise their products. So even though you may be following Forever 21 or Apple because you’re interested in fashion or technology, you are unconsciously subscribing to their advertisements.

Social media personalities such as models, actors, and singers market every aspect of their lives to their fans. Social media is essentially smart advertising (as in advertising that is more cost effective). Before, if you wanted to have your ad be seen, you would have to pay for ad space or airtime to ensure coverage. Many student run news sites such as The Sage have incorporated some sort of social media presence, making them and their advertisements more accessible to viewers.

Today, social media is accessible to everyone with a mobile device, which as of 2017 is nearly 4.77 billion people. Through social media, advertising has broadened its horizons, and who knows where it will take us next.