Social Media Full of Hidden Advertising

Social media is an integral part of daily life for most youth today. Besides the vast amount of traditional advertising, social media is full of hidden advertising. With our increasingly cynical view of company-posted reviews, many companies have turned to word-of-mouth marketing and seeded marketing campaigns.

Seeded marketing campaigns are cheaper than traditional advertising and involve select customers, better known as “seed agents” receiving samples to trial and then review on social media.

The Taking Stock Report from Piper Jaffray found that more than half of teens said the web impacts their consumer purchases. Another survey from the NPD Group found that 36% of teens said word-of-mouth influenced the things they buy, with advertising and online reviews following closely behind.

Seed agents have produced remarkable results for companies. In fact, some seed agents have become social media sensations, and the more popular they are, the more free products they receive. The question is, how sincere are the seed agents with their reviews and how can the consumer tell?

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