There are countless benefits to some of today’s social media marketing techniques, such as Sponsored Stories and Promoted Tweets. They allow marketers to put their advertisements right where internet using consumers are spending most of their time anyway. If they do not receive a click, then they still are noticed, because often they are hard to avoid looking at. Until now, I always saw that the opinions of most consumers were that they did not mind their social feeds being filled with marketed content such as this, and even that many of them enjoyed receiving these advertisements from their favorite brands on their respective social networks of choice. However, according to a recent eMarketer article, reporting information from an October survey conducted by MediaBrix, a social and mobile advertising solutions provider, consumers do not feel about these marketing techniques the way that many had originally thought.

It appears that the main issue is that social media users are beginning to find these marketing techniques to be quite misleading. MediaBrix focuses on video advertisements that were disguised as content on social media sites, and their study shows that 86% of respondents in their study found sponsored video ads that appear as content to be misleading. Also, eMarketer reports that 85% said that upon viewing these ads, their opinions of the brand changed drastically for the worse or did not change at all. Therefore, we see that these disguised video ads are not working for marketers in the way that they really want them to be.

Here is a very important passage from the eMarketer article:

The problem extends to social media ads, which have been embraced by many brands and made a lot of money for the world’s biggest social networks—and which often show a good return on investment. But nearly six in 10 internet users said they had seen Facebook Sponsored Stories that they thought appeared misleadingly as content, and 45% said the same of Twitter’s Promoted Tweets.

Now both Facebook and Twitter have done as much as they could in order to make Sponsored Stories and Promoted Tweets look just like content being posted by friends and family on their social feeds, which originally seemed like a perfect plan. However, it seems it is exactly that which is making for confusion among consumers. As with the misleading video ads, MediaBrix showed that 72% of those misled by Sponsored Stories changed their opinions of a brand for the worse, and 62% said the same about Twitter.

Social media marketing is not going anywhere, for it has been quite successful, especially this year in many cases. However, it seems some of the newer techniques that these social media networks are using to make advertising more successful for marketers are working in the opposite direction. There are always other options on social networks for advertising, so maybe it is not too smart to continue to disguise advertisements as content anymore. If consumers are being misled by these disguised ads, then it is clear that they do not like it very much, which is in no way good news for marketers.

What's your opinion?