Industry of Online Influence – Growing and Weird

Sponsored content and media influencers are just two more lucrative angles for the battle for online dominance in the internet market place.

Having someone endorse your product or service to their extensive reach of smartphone clutching people is not new but provides fuel to your marketing fire.

The performance of such moves for the vendors is unquestionably validated simply by the fact that they have an insatiable desire for more and more Millennials to tout their wares, and that indicates that it must be working for them.

From an end-user perspective, is such promotion a real indication on the quality of the product? Well of course not! It might be seen by the more cynical amongst them that  there is obviously enough profit in the selling price to afford such promotion, but then again that surely is no different to promotion in the old fashioned medium of print – the differences are of course the longevity of the announcement, the immediate delivery of the message, the “cool” of being a social media endorsed trend, and the fact that the message is being delivered to a far wider market, the non-targeted market place might not be relevant however one cannot argue the point that the world can end up being brand-aware of a product or service that even if they are not potential purchasers today, the message has been delivered sub-consciously to a global market who now knows of a brand that an “A listed” promotor says is good. Relate it if you will to the awareness of brands of pistols (yes – firearms!). Most of us clean living individuals have neither need nor interest in purchasing nor owning a gun, however today we are all aware of a Glock. How do we know? Promotion is thankfully geared to the gun buying public, so most of us will not see an advertisement for this questionably fine piece of engineering. Rappers however sing about the Glock, various numbers and models from 17 to 30, and that gives the gun credibility, it creates need want and desire that if one feels the need for a pistol, that’s the one to go for! So if someone is going out gun shopping, the sub-conscious rapper endorsement lodged in the brain has done its bit for marketing the product to a global market far beyond the potential purchasers.

WIRED magazine has a very interesting article about this…

In the past 10 years, “sponcon,” the business of getting paid to promote a company via your social media, has spread pandemic-like. Sponsored content may be obnoxious (and even morally questionable at times), but it’s plenty legal—as long as influencers cop to the fact that they’re being paid. The Federal Trade Commission says that if influencers have received money, gifts, or anything else that could affect how users view their mention of a brand or product, they should disclose it prominently in the post. Few do. Unsurprisingly, the agency isn’t actively monitoring individual influencers. And the short life of stories on Instagram and Snapchat means it’s even easier for covert #ads to simply disappear. Welcome to the weird—and booming—industry of influence.

The amount of sponcon in your feed has exploded.

When it comes to social media shilling, Instagram is by far the fan favorite. People branded as “influencers” posted more than 3.7 million #ads to the platform in 2018. That’s 43 percent more than the year before. And those numbers only include the properly disclosed ads.

You should also consider….

No followers? No problem.

Wannabe sponconners can buy fake likes, followers, Twitch channel views, even SoundCloud reposts through social media marketing panels. For Instagrammers, a subscription to a “power likes” engagement service can fool the algorithms. Popular vendors like Cloud Socials and BoostUp Social charge fledgling influencers $35 to $799 a month for a steady stream of interactions from prominent Instagrammers. Or aspiring influencers can go full automatic: For $10 to $100 a month and your login, automation apps will send your social media profile into a frenzy of liking, commenting, and following other accounts en masse, in an attempt to snag you a follow back.

Is that a good thing? Well the Austrian manufacturer Glock Ges mbH certainly won’t be complaining so from a marketing perspective, “product placement” works a treat! James Bond clutching an iPhone 11 Pro, Kim Kardashian checking her email on a MacBook Pro, or David Beckham’s apparent love of Haig Club Scotch Whisky.

When Kanye West charges $1,000,000 to appear holding a particular energy drink, you get the idea that the exposure works, and so get used to it – because it is not going to stop any time soon.

The only real dilemma is fathoming out how far you need to dig nowadays to find a genuine unbiased review on anything. Let me help you here – you might want to get a Davey lamp, a hard hat, and a JCB!


You can read the full WIRED article at…

The Booming, Crazy world of online influencers

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