Saturday, 4 April 2015

Where Does Paid Advertising Fit into Blogs & YouTube Videos?

When I was writing the title for this post I literally felt like I was about to sit down and write an assignment for college. It's not going to anything like that, however, its just more of a quick personal opinion piece on how dominant both blogs & videos have become over the past couple of years, along with how I feel advertising is impacting this popularity.

Recently, we've all seen the little "Ad" or "Spon" disclaimer pop up beside tweets, Instagram photos, posts and YouTube videos, mainly from many of the very high-profile content creators spanning the internet. What this means is that the person who is posting the content has been paid by a company to do so, most often including said company's product very prominently in whatever they may be posting (at least this is my knowledge of it, please correct me if I'm wrong!). 

Firstly, I have no problem with this. I think its great that those who put a lot of effort and time into creating content can get rewarded for doing so. It's also a great marketing tool for companies to get their product out there, directly to their target audience. The only thing I find slightly off-putting is that this brings blogs and YouTube videos into a whole different area. We know that bloggers are very often sent products to try or test, and to share their opinion on - and we know this is truthful, as the person reviewing said product can choose to review or not to review, and to say whatever they please really. Actually getting paid, however, seems to bring with it a lot more guidelines, and to me, seems like its starting to take the appeal from some of my favorite bloggers and vloggers.

The reason I watch and read other's reviews is so I can get an honest opinion, before I go out and purchase something. I get to see how someone with a similar skin type as me reacts to a certain product, for example, so I have more knowledge of whether that particular product may suit me. I do not, however, read or watch reviews to simply be sold a product, without any in-depth analysis of how well it works. I'm not saying that paid videos aren't truthful, they can often be just as interesting and informative as normal, un-paid videos, however I have found that sometimes they can even seem scripted, and this is something that can throw me off from taking whatever the individual is saying seriously. 

I would love to here some more opinions on this, as I think its something that's becoming seriously important, and could dictate the future of user-generated content hugely. My own opinion is that paid content should perhaps be more natural and less like an actual advertisement, which I think would make it more successful and relatable. 

So, what do you think? Does the "Ad" disclaimer bother you at all?