There is so much rumbling about #ad on Instagram, that it got me thinking. When is an ad, truly an ‘ad’? There is the obvious, old school thought – if you are getting paid to promote something, then it is advertisement. I feel the world is slightly different than that though. Although the ASA is really trying hard to put guidelines around ads on instagram, I still feel there is a trick missing.
What about the ads?
I do ads, I do free stuff, I also do my own content. However, there is one thing I do not do – post anything that I do not use, like or genuinely enjoy myself. There is not 1 piece of content on my feed or blog that is not representative of the experiences and products I genuinely enjoy. I do very few product ads. I think I have done about 5 throughout my 3 years of blogging and Instagramming. I tend to focus more on experience and content that I feel enriches my feed and is useful for my followers.
I still believe that when I get paid to promote anything, I should disclose it, which I do. I add [ad] to my posts/stories whenever the content is paid for or [press invite], when I have been invited to review something but I am not necessarily getting paid for it.
Ad vs Ad
I think there is a fine line between promoting experiences, you as an individual/influencer enjoy, and pushing out every product available out there. I think the later, kills the authenticity of the Influencer’s feed/theme. Where I am getting at with this post is – I feel there are two types of ads out there:
1. Genuine ads promoting products or experiences the influencer actually enjoys/would use outside of the campaign
2. Pure money making lies
I am sorry for being harsh but it is the truth. As someone who has any sort of influence on the internet, I believe we have a responsibility for what we promote. Yes, this can be your full time job, yes this can be your only source of income, however pushing alcohol campaign after alcohol campaign just isn’t right. I do not do fashion or beauty but I have seen a lot of bloggers promoting literally every single product on Earth, as the best next thing since sliced bread.
The whole point of influencer marketing (back in the day), was that the content was more genuine than the display banner ad, created by a company pushing their product. Getting endorsement, for said product, by an Influencer was worth so much more because it was more genuine. The Influencer shares their experience of using the product/service if they actually enjoyed it.
Is being genuine, a thing of the past?
Nowadays, it feels that it does not matter if the products are doing what it says on the tin – Influencers just promote them, killing the genuine vibe of what they do. I will make a slight segway here to clarify – as a follower, I do not mind if influencers are promoting 50 different mascaras in a month. I just wish I knew, what they truly felt like, rather than them being ‘the best’. Same thing goes for facials – I love a good facial but just being told about it being ‘amazing’ does not really give me the information I need. The previous one was amazing too. So which one should I choose?
I also wonder why do brands continue to work with Influencers, who would promote anything and everything in the same repetitive way? The 5th facial for the week, which is better than the best one you had yesterday; the next best foundation; the 11th type of alcohol for the last 3 months… and so on, and so on.
The point I am making is, that I would like to be able to differentiate between ads. Don’t get me wrong, I love sponsored content both as a creator, and as a follower of other creators. I discover interesting products and services through it and it is cool. I support sponsored content every day from my fellow creators. I just wish there was a way of splitting out the #ads in an even better way. A way that can show an ad, as to what it is:
I got paid for this content but I do not really use it or care about it.
I truly enjoy this product and I recommend it as a human being, although I got paid to discover it
Maybe this is idealistic but a girl can dream 😉