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We’re the advertisers

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Create your own chocolate: A manufacturer does an online call for ideas for a new variety of chocolate and everyone can vote on which one goes into production. Everyone is talking about this special offer and the limited edition is sold out immediately.
For advertising to work, it has to be visible. That works best for forms of media that people want to use and do so often. Today, this is the smartphone which gives you constant access to the Internet. Advertisements in the form of e-mails, banners and pop-up windows are now the norm online, but they often interfere and are quickly clicked away. Because social networks are becoming more and more popular, the advertising industry has discovered a whole new form of advertising for itself: Us!
Everyone has an audience

In social networks, detailed profiles with interests are created and shown with posts, likes and comments on preferences. When someone wears a shirt with a large logo for their profile picture or likes the newly discovered brand shoes or rates their favorite café around the corner, they are addressing their very own audience: their friends, fans and followers. Those contacts take a much closer look at the person than they would an expensive advertising banner. In social networks you see real people who don't make empty product promises, but are honestly convinced of something – and can thus better convince others as well.

Influencer as advertiser

The success of social media stars – so-called influencers – is also based on this assumption. Because their mostly young fans regard them as role models, they buy what influencers recommend. But many influencers now make their recommendations on behalf of companies trying to sell things. So, they are getting paid! And many of them earn up to six figures a month. The problem is that young viewers in particular are often unable to distinguish between their idol’s honest opinion and what’s an advertising message, despite content labeling obligations.

Personal recommendation is worth a lot

Today, a brand is no longer just a product, but the experience it creates. Almost all major brands have social media profiles in which they publish product information and advertising, but not only: Sporting goods manufacturers give fitness tips, travel providers present the most beautiful dream destinations, even the city bus company tries to catch your attention with funny slogans. These offers entertain, gladly get liked, commented or shared on consumers’ own profile pages, maybe even yours. The brand thus also gets visibility among your friends and acquaintances. You’re making an unconscious recommendation. The bottom line is that the brand not only gains another fan, it gets a valuable advertising channel out of the deal.

Help shaping brands

Companies even go so far as to have people help shape the content or products they consume. Many companies host selfie contests, where you show yourself with a certain product. On holiday, information boards at the sights indicate which hashtag travelers should post their photos with. And one chocolate manufacturer even called for submission ideas for a new type of chocolate. The most popular variety was voted for, produced and immediately sold out. The hype about the chocolate contest became news itself, appearing in many news feeds, free publicity – a dream come true for all advertisers.

Everyone decides on success

Whether you want to become an advertising medium, however, is still in your own hands. The call for the co-creating the new favorite chocolate sort would have fallen on deaf ears if nobody had participated. A hashtag is nothing more than a bunch of letters if no one wants to share it. You always have a choice: If you take a close look and recognize where posts come from and what interests they represent, you can decide for yourself whether to share a post, use a hashtag or take part in a competition. Or whether you prefer to keep posting your own thoughts, activities and photos.

Read more in the dossier “Digital Communication”
/mediabase/img/4419.png Communicating through and even with digital media itself means using many different communication channels. Changing communication
/mediabase/img/4416.jpg The change in our forms of communication through digital media has many critics. In constant contact

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The Internet of things

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