I’m sure I am far from the only one to dislike sponsorships on social media; I mean, how can anyone love ads? Ads on social media are virtually impossible to escape. We find them scrolling through Instagram, watching our favorite YouTuber, or even listening to a Podcast.
Affiliate marketing is made for the Internet, and as the web grows, the number of ads grows. And nowadays, not just actors and singers are celebrities. People can be famous on blogs, YouTube, Instagram, etc., and this opens a new market for companies to advertise their products.
The primary reason I dislike sponsorships is their lack of authenticity. I am a daily YouTube watcher and an occasional podcast listener, so I have plenty experience in hearing ads. A certain company will take over YouTube and I will hear the same spiel from eight different people. I have listened to a podcast where the person admitted he was given a script by the company and was told to say the company’s name exactly three times in a row. Member of the Kardashian family, Scott Disick, even accidentally posted an Instagram ad with a pre-written caption for the product.
The lack of legitimacy is also somewhat disrespectful to fans. YouTube especially has a very young audience, and they look up to these “celebrities,” and pushing a product they may have never tried seems unethical.
Despite my complaints, I do not think affiliate marketing is a bad thing. I have come across great sponsored articles, like on Buzzfeed.com, as mentioned in my previous blog post. It is hard to advertise in today’s internet-driven world, and YouTubers and bloggers need to make an income, so there is a mutually beneficial relationship. However, the content of the ads need to change. If I am being sold a product through my favorite YouTuber, I want them to actually love the product, not just read from a script.