The very medium through which companies now choose to advertise has changed entirely in recent times. Paid television ads and spreads in newspapers have now been replaced with social media. A company will not reach more people if they utilise social media to it’s full potential. The reality is that people are now fast forwarding through ad breaks and the readership of papers, magazines and brochures has drastically reduced in the last three years.
Brands and companies are now using Bloggers to advertise their products. Instead of liaising with a publishing house or television network they are working alongside an individual, or set of individuals, to negotiate a collaboration. In Ireland there are, for example, beauty and fashion bloggers who have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. The mere mention of a product that the blogger likes now results in entire shelves being cleared in stores within just hours. Loyal followers trust the recommendation of their favourite bloggers and they will spend hundreds of Euro on items that have casually been recommended in an Instagram photo.
Brands have quickly realized this shift in dynamic and we now see more and more products being advertised, mentioned and recommended across a blogger’s social media platforms. Sometimes it is very obvious that a blogger has been paid to promote a product and other times it is extremely subtle. 5-7 bloggers may suddenly begin to mention a specific product and it becomes quite obvious that the brand has teamed up with all of these bloggers on a paid collaboration. Other times it is not so obvious. The increase in this kind of advertisement has the general public feeling quite perplexed and there is a reluctance to trust the bloggers that they are following. Followers wonder if a product is genuinely being recommended or if the blogger (or “influencer” as has now become the term) has been paid to promote it.
This is where the ASAI come in. The Advertising Standards Association In Ireland has now made it a legal obligation for Bloggers to declare if they have been paid to promote or advertise a product. Hash tags such as #ad or #spon now indicate that money has exchanged hands for this collaboration. It is then at the discretion of the follower as to whether they consider the review or product mention as a reason to buy the product themselves.
“The ASAI code requires advertisers not to mislead consumers, not to offend them, make sure advertising is truthful and that consumers know when they’re receiving marketing material”.
This is just another example of the fact that social media has now become a career for many people in Ireland. Becoming a blogger for fun can sometimes translate in to earning a very tidy income. The business of blogging is one that utilises marketing, advertising and sales all in one. It is the very reason why CMI’s Marketing Diplomas have become more popular than ever.