Advertising is absolutely not the sole purpose of social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube- all of these platforms were created to bring people and ideas together. Do you know anybody who doesn’t use any of these platforms? Advertisers will always go where there’s attention and because 90% of us use social media it’s the only choice for sellers to convert potential buyers.
Is the entire purpose of The Wall Street Journal for advertising? People read it to gain beneficial information that may help their investing strategy, or gain knowledge of emerging trends that can be saved in their back pocket. Much of the revenue that keeps the lights on comes from advertising, but there has to be a balance!
If you’ve read a magazine lately you’ll notice only a few pages display an entire ad. Social media has evolved the same exact way. Scroll through your Facebook feed and occasionally you’ll see something like baby Yoda sipping tea with a big Disney+ logo slapped on. The biggest difference from a magazine is that these ads are actually created for you based on your data. ‘Relevant ads’ is a popular term.
Social media platforms are designed to keep a fine balance of both original content and ads. Again, there has to be a balance! If I pick up a magazine it’s easy to flip past an ad because it’s usually not relevant anyway. Social media is the opposite. Ads are designed around you. They’re crafted to look like original content, and because of that it’s easy to get lost.
Social media’s purpose is to keep users engaged and coming back. They use complicated algorithms to determine what ad is most relevant to you, and then disguise it as original content. Back then we would leave a TV during commercials, in today’s social media world we don’t know what the commercials are. Because advertisers know more about you than a lot of your family members (scary but true), ads are carefully crafted around your interest so that it’s actually interesting.
Although it seems like social media’s purpose is to sell you something- we have to realize all of these platforms are free. Social media is free to use. Their whole business relies on selling ads. Let’s imagine Facebook removes ads for every user. Would you pay to use Facebook? Your answer is most likely why they haven’t done that.
“Marketers ruin everything.”- Gary Vaynerchuk
I hope this helps expand your knowledge and thank you for reading!