The other day, one of my friends was scrolling through Instagram and mentioned how pretty some girls on the social media site were. She moaned about how they’re bodies were perfect and how they had so many followers. I casually noted that many “Instagram models” and people with thousands of followers also get paid to look good and advertise products; and to my surprise, she was not aware of this at all. It made me realize how unaware we are of the advertising tactics that modern businesses use to get our attention.
It used to be that advertising was obvious – it was in newspapers and on the radio and the television, and it tried to convince you to buy the company’s product through persuasion and convincing. However, now that technology has advanced, so have the advertisers. Advertisers are well aware that we skip through our commercials and that we ignore billboards because we are most likely on our phones… So they have targeted customers in the places where we do pay attention: shows, music videos, and social media – this, my friends, is embedded advertising.
Instagram is a main culprit of this embedded advertising. Instagram’s newest update allows advertisements to be directly incorporated into our picture feeds. This advertising makes it clear that it is a paid commercial to endorse something. However, Instagram marketing goes much deeper than that. Attractive women and men that Instagram now can get paid to advertise in their pictures. Specifically, many of these profiting Instagramers advertise weight loss supplements and clothing. These pictures often have captions like “Love my new dress 😍 Got it from Urban Outfitters!!” which directly mentions the advertised product but does not make clear that it is a paid endorsement. So, when other Instagramers go to look at pretty girls’ Instagrams, they see these products and want the new clothes too. According to mirror.co.uk, a popular online news site, a model can make thousands of dollars by slyly incorporating products. An example of this is model Gabrielle Epstein, who makes lots of moolah off of every post she makes that incorporates a product that a company that wants to advertise. Easy money? I’d say so. But, ladies and gents, that is not the only place you can find this embedded advertising – it’s everywhere, and you may not even be aware of it.