At a young age, we are taught to be a leader and not a follower, do not give in to peer pressure, think for yourself and make your own decisions. Then we are introduced to social media platforms and are surrounded by media clutter that can heavily influence or even alter our choices. So are the choices we make really ours? Can we own them based on our genuine opinions and values or are we always being exposed to a specific topic or belief that influences us to these make these choices?
As some of you may know, Influencer marketing, is a digital tactic that examines dozens of data points to determine optimal conditions for a marketing campaign-asking How, When, Where and Why. The data that is analyzed reveals insights about a shopper, brand or category which will then provide characteristics that will resonate the most for a desired audience. (Inmar Intelligence, 2020). So, I pose this question-Should Influencer Marketing be an ethical concern? There was Marketing way before this concept even existed, so why is it needed now? Wearing my marketing hat, I think Influencer marketing is a robust strategy with high ROI, however when I take that hat off, I struggle with this concept.
I was first introduced to privacy data concerns this year when I watched Netflix’s documentaries, “The Social Dilemma “and “The Great Hack”, both exploring how the Internet’s most popular products work on a business model of tracking users’ behavior in order to sell targeted ads and encourage dependence in a malicious cycle. The methodology of this allows one to identify areas of opportunities where a targeted person can be “persuaded” one way by being influenced by a variety of tactics such as advertising, digital media or networks. There was a statement in the Great Hack that sticks in my head and really made me think, “If you want to make your own society, you need to break society”. Interesting yet concerning statement.
Social media platforms are the best areas to target these audiences, all of the advertising chaos is targeted specifically towards one to help enhance their decision making. It is especially concerning knowing that 71% of teen’s ages 13-17 are on Facebook, the constant on-line content, doesn’t enable one to think on their own, As such, 64% of people who joined extremists groups on Facebook did so because algorithms steered them there.
I miss the days when life was simple, picking up a land-line phone to make a call, scanning the latest retail circular ad, browsing the aisles for new items, receiving referrals from friends or acquaintances by word of mouth. Those were the days, when it was easier to be unnoticed and we had more ownership in the decisions and choices we make.