Online Networks and Social Change

TikTok has dramatically changed the way in which advertisers promote their products and services, although it might not be the most ethical and honest form of advertising

Consumers are now more than ever in control of what they consume. They choose who they listen to, what they watch and especially who they trust. Over the past decade there has been a major change in the way in which advertisers reach their audiences. Previously, advertisers would look to mass marketing campaigns such as TV, radio or newspapers, whereas nowadays they are looking at ways in which they can best make use of digital advertising space to find customers, or have customers find them, but, is it the most ethical or honest form of advertising?

Over the past couple of years there has been a mass social change in the way consumers are being marketed to. Gone are the days and effectiveness of traditional mass marketing platforms such as TV, Radio, Newspapers and Billboards, where advertisers would spend thousands to get their advertisement displayed to millions of people. This social change has especially become evident in 2020 with the COVID pandemic pushing consumers onto their devices more for shopping and entertainment. During the pandemic, consumers have reportedly spent 40% more time on scrolling through Instagram, Twitter and TikTok (“What does Australian law say about influencers disclosing brand partnerships? – Fashion Journal”, 2021). Although mass marketing mediums can be effective in getting a message out to a multitude of people, there would still be a large percentage that would not be the advertisers target market, resulting in an expensive exercise ultimately leading to failed conversions. Take it women’s sanitary products for example; advertising for these products via mass marketing mediums such as TV would only be relevant to roughly 50% of viewers watching a particular program. Advertisers would ideally want to advertise to females aged from around 13 to 50 year old’s, but instead their message would be displayed to their non-target audience.

This is where Google Ads and Facebook Ads manager become quite useful tools for advertisers. Google ads allow you to add your advertisements on other websites banners, Google’s Suite of apps (Gmail, Finance etc.) and throughout YouTube videos (pre-roll and mid-roll). Facebook allow for ads to be shown within Facebook itself (newsfeed, pre-roll to a video etc.) and throughout Instagram (stories, posts feed, IGTV and Reels). Both services allow for advertisers to upload a sponsored post (text, images or videos) as a brand and fine tune their target audience. They can narrow their audience down by geographical location, sex, age, relationship status, birthday, religion and even if the users device is connected to Wi-Fi or not! This form of advertising was very useful to advertisers for a number of years although now users of these services have grown to know and ignore advertisements when they see them. “99.53% of impressions on digital advertising fail to inspire consumers to click and take action” (Kastenholz, 2021). 27% of users in 2021 have even gone so far to install an ad blocker on their devices so they see as little advertisements as possible when they’re surfing the web, and that figure is rising compared to only 15.7% of users in 2014 (“Ad blocker usage in U.S. | Statista”, 2021). Advertisers also have to follow the companies advertising rules and their posts are always subject to approval by the platform to ensure that they do not breach their guidelines. These rules prohibit anything from illegal products and services, tobacco related products, adult content, misinformation and more from being advertised within the platforms (“Facebook”, 2021). So with 99.53% of impressions not turning into even a click through, advertising services strict advertising rules and guidelines along with more than a quarter of users using ad blockers, how else can advertisers effectively promote their products or services? The answer is via influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing allows for advertisers to take advantage of an influencer’s social media following and engage with their audience. Influencers can generally be categorised into different categories such as arts, beauty, comedy, fashion, fitness, gaming etc, and can be further categorised by the number of followers they have (nano, micro, macro and mega influencers) (“Different Types of Influencers: Mega, Macro, Micro & Nano | Amire”, 2021).  Influencers are especially useful as they generally keep in touch with their following by posting regular updates about their life multiple times throughout each week. This allows for their followers to get to know them better and makes their followers feel as though the influencer is more relatable, unlike traditional celebrities who are usually perceived as someone who is untouchable. This gives consumers a level of trust in the influencer, so as that when they talk about a product or service, their following is more likely to engage with and act on what they have to say.

Typically brands either reach out directly to an influencer or to their management (if the influencer is considered a macro or mega influencer) and make a deal on how they will promote their products. This is called a brand deal or sponsored post. The influencer can be compensated from as little as complementary products to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pedestrian TV reported in December last year that the #1 TikToker Charli Damelio reportedly made approximately $73,510 per sponsored post (“Here’s Exactly How Much The Top TikTokers Get Paid & Yep, Should Have Kept Up Dance Lessons”, 2021). At the time of writing the article, Damelio had just over 45 million followers on the app, compared to well over 100 million followers today! This shows the unprecedented growth that is occurring with influencers social media followings and the great opportunities for advertisers. However influencers have come in the firing line recently with their deceptive behaviour. Influencers promoting products have been caught out pushing false claims and using misleading language when engaging in brand deals. It is quite typical for influencers to talk about how much the ‘love’ a product and ‘use it daily’ when in reality they have merely been sent that product for the purposes of creating an advertisement. In some countries, social media influencers are required by law to state when they are engaging with a brand and getting paid for an endorsement or when a brand has provided them with complementary products for the purposes of creating an ad. In the US, UK and throughout parts of Europe, influencers and brands can be fined up to $16,000 per sponsored post for failing to clearly disclose that there is some sort of relationship with the brand (Warrington, 2021). In Australia, we don’t have any laws specifically relating to influencers and their posts although out consumer protection laws are broad enough and can be enforced to prevent misleading or deceiving a consumer, although to date, there is yet to be a single recorded case relating to an influencer breaching Australian consumer protection laws (“What does Australian law say about influencers disclosing brand partnerships? – Fashion Journal”, 2021).

Although in most cases, whilst an influencer might not have the intent to mislead a consumer, yet merely only have the intention to create engaging content for a brand, this can very quickly escalate and breach consumer law and deceives the audiences. For example, a gym influencer who works out daily and is in quite good shape is approached by a brand wishing to promote an ab toner. The influencer uses the product and records a sponsored post about how much they ‘love’ using the product and how everyone that wants to look as good as them should go buy one. This exact scenario happened when 19 year old TikToker Noah Beck did exactly that. Beck made a TikTok video with him using the ab toner and doing a dance routine. At the end of the video Beck says “this is the limited edition ab stimulator… you can get an ab work out from anywhere, at anytime… I’ve been wearing it for a few days and absolutely love it… it actually helps to tone and define your abs instantly with no effort.. you can get yours at the link in my bio”. To all of us 18+ year old’s out there, we know that the only way to get in shape is to head to the gym, although Beck has a seemingly young, impressionable audience who would easily fall for this cleaver marketing scam. Ethan Klein (35), another influencer on the app, replied to Beck, calling him out for promoting the product, calling it a total scam (“H3H3’s Ethan Klein slams Noah Beck for promoting “scam” – Dexerto”, 2021). Becks caption also makes zero reference to the partner brand or the fact that the video was an advertisement. Beck reportedly made approximately $30,000 US for the video, and it is unclear how much the partner brand made off selling the product (or how many people actually got abs from using it).

I also know first hand how influencers can overexaggerate how much they rely on a product. In 2019 I personally opened up an online store and became a reseller for a range of products. My marketing strategy was pretty simple, I would send free products out to influencers and they’d make a video of them using them. I strategically wouldn’t give them a proper brief, I’d simply say “make a video using this product and tag us in it”. Around two thirds of influencers would overexaggerate how long they had the product for, most of them would only have had it for a day or two before creating content but claim they had been using it for weeks to months, and use pushy language to try and get their followers to fall in love with the products and ultimately buy them. Influencers know their audiences best.

Social Media Platforms have undeniably become an integral part in our day to day lives and has created a social change giving advertisers new digital advertising real estate within online networks. More work needs to be done however on the laws governing what is right and wrong in relation to how brands are allowed to advertise online to consumers.

49 thoughts on “TikTok has dramatically changed the way in which advertisers promote their products and services, although it might not be the most ethical and honest form of advertising

  1. Hi Nicholas,

    I read your article and instantly thought of green marketing vs. green washing due to my TikTok For You Page being full of creators promoting from Brand A to Z, and they always seem to mention that they are “environmentally friendly” but once I do further research on the brand, it seemed more like an advertising gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands. Focusing on their brand image being environmentally friendly rather than focusing on minimizing their environmental impact.

    I think people tend to forget that being environmentally conscious means from the research, to production, to marketing and to packaging needs to be ethically and eco-friendly sourced instead of just focusing on marketing themselves as being “green”.

    Green marketing must consist a wide range of business activities that intends to satisfy customers’ needs and wants, as well as diminish the negative impacts on the natural environment (Yan & Yazdanifard 2014). It also refers to an organization that puts its efforts in to promoting, pricing, and distributing products with eco-concerns (Yan & Yazdanifard 2014).

    My question for you is: Whenever you see a product being glorified by an influencer on TikTok, Do you impulse buy it or do you research in depth before finalizing your decision?

    Reference: Yan, Yeow & Yazdanifard, Assc. Prof. Dr. Rashad. (2014). THE CONCEPT OF GREEN MARKETING AND GREEN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ON CONSUMER BUYING APPROACH. Global Journal of Commerce & Management Perspective. Vol. 3. 33-38.

    1. Hey Christabel,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my paper! In response to your question, I’m ashamed to be an impulse buyer. I’m a marketers dream – anything that remotely interests me / is sold well I want 😂 On bigger / more expensive items, I tend to do a little bit more research to see if I am getting a good price or if the item truely is what it is marketed as!

      All the best!


  2. Hi,

    I found this paper extremely engaging to read, as someone who is easily influenced by those who advertise online! I particularly liked how you touched over how influencers in 2021 are more relatable than celebrities are, as it’s a huge selling point and often what hooks people into buying the item. I think you are correct in saying that more needs to be done in Australian law on how influencers are advertising items they receive, as you mentioned from your own personal experience many items are over exaggerated and really pushed onto their viewers without real knowledge of if the product is good or not, and if this is going to be done it needs to be stated loud and clear that it is an ad.

    Thanks for an intriguing read!

    1. Hey Amy,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my paper. I myself am a marketers dream – any good advertisement generally has me wanting to buy the product! I think this form of advertising is so new that there is just such a massive grey area in what is right or wrong! Kudos to the influencers tho, they’re just trying their best 🙂


  3. Hey

    I can definitely say this was such an interesting read. One of the biggest irritations I have with TikTok is the mass amount of marketing that just doesn’t seem genuine. It’s easy for most of us to stop this because we’ve been on social media for a while, and likely have fallen victim to believing a lot of these products are what they claim. However, I can bet there are a lot of naive children and even adults who are exposed to this without awareness of the marketing strategies that are used. TikTok was a great example to use, it’s extraordinary to see how much traction it has gained in just the last two years alone.

    Thanks for an awesome essay

    – Michelle

    1. Hey Michelle,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my paper. You are 100% right! After being exposed to ads and using social media for a while and purchasing a few dud products we can sort of filter out what is actually going to be good and what isn’t. There are surprisingly a lot of people out there who haven’t had that experience tho and are going to be taken advantage of. I think this form of advertising is so new that there is just such a massive grey area in what is right or wrong! Kudos to the influencers tho, they’re kinda just doing their job trying to sell a product – and it’s working!


  4. Hi there!

    What an interesting read. As someone who grew up right in the boom of the internet (think YouTube, Facebook etc), it has been a very interesting experience seeing social media marketing evolve. It has become quite a sophisticated operation, but in saying that it has become more easily identified as users get older.

    I’d be very interested to hear what you think about long-term brand partnerships, such as beauty influencers like Jackie Aina teaming up with brands like Loreal to create consistent marketing content. I think this is an interesting turn in public relations, and I’d personally really enjoy looking into the brand psyche which chooses an influencer as their spokesperson instead of a traditional actor or model.

    Thanks for submitting your paper!

    1. Hey Isabelle,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my paper. It has definitely been interesting seeing the evolution of marketing over the years. I was thinking about it the other day how anyone with even just $50 to spend on marketing can reach their target audience via social media. Something that definitely could not be done when we were growing up.

      I think brand partnerships are definitely a good thing. Granted I don’t know much about the beauty industry but in my experience consistent marketing like that 1- actually verifies that the product is decent and 2- really drums into the audience about the product. Think for example David Dobrik and his SeatGeek partnership. Seat Geek were generally sponsoring every 3-5 videos he would put out. I have heard the ad read that many times that I could probably recite it entirely. Now whenever I need to purchase tickets to anything, SeatGeek is the first place that comes to mind for me because I have heard the message so many times! That is an example of how long term partnerships can really push a message.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment on my paper!

      All the best!


  5. Hello 19657806,

    It is interesting how advertising have advance into the use of social media influencer to advertise certain product. I agree how it is not a very honest way of advertising, but it does not mean they are not honest about the product description. TV ads or Radio are advertisement that are scripted, does that mean TV and Radio ads are dishonest as well. In my experience as an intern in one of digital advertising agency, advertisement through social media influencer is much cheaper than advertisement in TV commercial. Advertising through social media influencer also help the company to minimise ineffective advertising though the people who are influence by their influencer. In the digital advertising agency, we can find out the demographic of this influencer follower demographics. This data help advertising much more efficient and effective.

    I’m not saying it is ethichak for company to advertise through social media influencer and have to excessively advertise the product, but do you think the concept of ethic in advertising is adapting within the evolution of advertising?

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your conference paper. If you have time, you can visit my conference paper. I hope it found your interest.

    Best Regards
    Christopher Benson

    1. Hey Christopher,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I don’t necessarily think that they are dishonest, although I do think that they can be over exaggerated at times. Take it KIIS 106.5 in NSW regularly advertises for a pillow called SpinalEze and the announcers make the bold claim that it is the best pillow in the world. How is that type of advertising ethical in itself? Who says that it is the best pillow in the world? The pillow hasn’t won any awards, although the announcers constantly shout the facts on how good it is!

      Your comment about using influencers is spot on – it’s defiantly cheaper to use an influencer and the analytics that can be generated are second to none. I’m definitely not saying that all social media / influencer advertising is unethical I just think that it could be regulated a tad better.

      Thank you for sharing your paper too! I’ll check it out now 🙂


  6. Good evening, unnamed student!

    I used to study marketing – so to see some of these figures I am not surprised at all.

    Your opening paragraph was really powerful to me, and I appreciate the notion that consumers really consume what they want to. I feel I have always been led to believe that advertising is king – but this paper made me really realise that consumers DO still have a choice! They aren’t solely sold on things due to advertising.

    That said, I think the demographic of children on TikTok is that of younger ages, thus meaning they probably are more likely to be filtered through the advertisement bubble.

    Admitting your sway toward one of the opinions was a great way to end your paper. It made it feel human, something I feel perhaps my paper lacked. I wish I got to this earlier, however am glad I still got to read it!

    1. Hey Erin,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my paper. I’m so glad you found it interesting. TikTok is defiantly interesting. There are obviously people of all ages on the platform but yes, as you said predominately children are using the app who are in my opinion most vulnerable to advertising scams as they don’t have much experience sort of filtering out the good with the bad!

      Thanks again and all the best,

  7. What I find interesting about your paper is how effective you are at communicating in depth knowledge, great work!!! Coming from a marketing background I realise often how the literature characterises influencer marketing and endorsements to a form of authentic marketing for brands, although clearly as your paper outlined this is not the facts of the industry. Pöyry, Pelkonen, Naumanen & Laaksonen (2019) research attempted to outline and define the specific practices of influencers to generate authentic content, with the argument that greater authenticity leads to followers trusting your opinion therefor more purchases of the advertised product. Although the practices that Pöyry, Pelkonen, Naumanen & Laaksonen (2019) state make the social media posts deemed authentic; amount of likes, editing tools and caption choices seem to be incredibly stragised for conversions. Through this example it highlights the need for greater research as to the practices of sponsored posts and relates to the importance your paper has towards the discussion of online networks and social change.

    Pöyry, E., Pelkonen, M., Naumanen, E., & Laaksonen, S. (2019). A Call for Authenticity: Audience Responses to Social Media Influencer Endorsements in Strategic Communication. International Journal Of Strategic Communication, 13(4), 336-351. doi: 10.1080/1553118x.2019.1609965

    1. Hey Casey,

      Thanks so much for reading my paper and leaving a comment. Thanks for sharing your research as well. I think that it is such a new form of advertising that it’s still such a grey area at the moment. All I think about is those ‘influencers’ who are just regular people and have overnight success, then get reached by an organisation to promote a product. They have no marketing training, probably haven’t even thought about what is ethical or not – but all the want to do is try promote the product as good as they can.

      Thanks again and all the best!


  8. Hey there!
    As an active user of social media and purchase many goods online, I quite enjoy hearing the opinions of influencers I trust.
    Something I have recently seen change on Instagram is that influencers promoting products must include “#ad” in their posts. My question to you, is there anything influencers are required to include in their TikTok posts? If not, is it something you believe the terms and conditions should include?
    Congratulations on the paper, it was a great read!

    1. Hey Yana,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my paper. The mandatory #ad included in posts is something that is legally required in the US and parts of Europe whenever a company engages an influencer. This would include TikTok. Simply by placing #ad in the description would be suffice. In Australia tho, we don’t have any laws about that and influencers are able to put whatever they see fit as the caption.

      I definitely think that it is positive for them to include #ad in their posts as I don’t think much else can be done to inform users.

      Thanks again and all the best 🙂


  9. Hi,
    I found your paper really interesting to read. It is interesting now you mentioned influencer marketing and the authenticity this form of advertisement provides. I have recently seen videos of people calling out influencers who are falsely claiming that they love and use a product. The videos show the influencer posting with the product, however the item is sealed and unopened. I definitely think social media influencer marketing is effective, however instances like this may create doubt and lack of trust in the consumers mind. Do you think that this form of marketing will take over traditional marketing in the future?

    1. Hi Eleanor and student!

      I agree with Eleanor with that social media influencer marketing in very effective as I have defiantly bought something purely on the fact that a favourite influencers has promoted it. I have also seen this in a friends business, as they have paid for an influencer to advertise their product and it has sold out over night. But, once again I agree that it create uncertainty from a consumer if they see fakeness and lack of investment from a promoter. I’m very interested in hearing your thought on Eleanors questions!

      Thank you

      1. Hey Tamlyn,

        You and me both! I’m basically an advertisers dream. I’m so easily influenced and then disappointed when an item arrives that isn’t as described 😢

        Thanks for taking the time to read my paper!


    2. Hey Elanor,

      Thanks so much for reading my paper and your comment! It’s definitely crazy how they can promote a product and it still be sealed shut 😂

      I think this form of marketing will definitely grow and take up more of a market share although I don’t believe that it will necessarily replace traditional marketing in the future. I defiantly think that TV, Newspaper and Billboards will still have their place!

      Thanks again and all the best,


  10. Hi,

    This is an interesting topic, I agree that the world of marketing has completely changed and the amount Tik Tok influencers get paid for sponsored posts is incredibly high. Emma has also written her paper on a similar topic, focusing on how the concept of an influencer has become a marketable asset for beauty brands in the promotion of their products. Here is the link to her paper if you are interested:

    Influencer marketing is interesting, I wonder if you have ever seen the video compilation of influencers promiting different skin care products saying how much they love it and use it, and when you look closely at the videos they aren’t actually putting the product on their skin at all, very amusing.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Megan,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my paper. Thank you for sharing Emma’s post! I’ll definitely give that a read shortly. I have not personally seen those videos but someone else commented saying something similar, where the products were unopened and still sealed! Definitely very amusing!

      Thanks again and all the best!


  11. Hey,

    Congratulations on getting your paper on TikTok marketing published to the conference website. I have also written about TikTok, however my paper is focused on how the unique affordances of the platform help the formation of community groups.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on why you think TikTok has become the new platform for influence marketing. Do you believe it will be more successful than Instagram? What particular affordances of the site make this possible for users? Do you think the platform needs to be doing more to make sure that followers understand they are being advertised to?



    1. Hey Mads,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my paper. I’ll definitely give yours a read shortly! That sounds very interesting.

      I’m not really sure – I think it has to do with the fact that it is relatively new and gaining a lot of attraction, and the way that the algorithm works, and the potential for videos to literally blow up over night organically. I think TikTok themselves could maybe add a button when users post that marks the post as an ad and visually alerts the user somehow!

      Thanks again,

  12. Hi, your topic about TikTok is really interesting as nowadays everyone is connected to tiktok as a use of their free time. There are people who are not posting video about themselves but about their products to advertise their business, because all those who are connected willingly want to know about it.
    But what I would say according to me is that people should be careful also about what they are buying from those people. Otherwise great work.


    1. Hi Tiloshna,

      Thanks for reading my paper. Definitely people need to be careful about what they are purchasing, although people can easily be influenced to purchase a product depending on how they are advertised to!


  13. Hi 🙂

    Firstly I really enjoyed reading your article, i was interested from the get go just from the title as it really appealed to me and what I study.

    I am a PR and digital marketing student and I 100% agree with you that the way in which brands sell to consumers these days has completely changed and it will keep changing due to advancements in technology and social media platforms.

    Touching on what Kira said at the top about ad blockers I agree with her question, I believe more consumers will become more aware of what brands are dong for their attention.

    Like most marketing strategies they need to be changed and updated and at the moment Tiktok is the current trend but it won’t always be this way.

    A really interesting ready, thank you for sharing!

    Georgia Wiley

    1. Hey Georgia,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! As you’re aware technology is constantly evolving – I think once consumers become aware and start filtering out ads on TikTok, a new platform / service will find a way to get us to spend our dollars! How though? That’s anyones guess!!

      Thanks again,

  14. Hello

    A very interesting read. TikTok has undeniably captured a big market and is the latest fad among young Millennials and Gen Z where they can freely express themselves using short videos. A user-friendly platform, young users are perpetually creating videos, editing, uploading, and actively interacting in the TiKTok community. Businesses and brands have cashed up on this by promoting their products using digital advertising through influencers. In fact most kids want to be influencers themselves. Like you mentioned there should be careful monitoring of these practices as these directly affect the young population who tend to believe and get influenced by whatever is promoted on such platforms.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on my paper.

    Thank you

    1. Hey Kanishk,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my post. You’re definitely right – increasingly kids are leaning to becoming an influencer as a career path. I think influencers are such a new practise and there is so new and such a grey area at the moment tho. I think in the coming years more will be done to keep influencer in line.


  15. Hi!
    Your paper was quiet interesting and informative about marketing. It is quiet impressive how Tiktok has proved to be a successful business tactic. However what is your thought about it? Do you think it’s an effective method of advertising products? And how about the future marketing tactics?

    1. Hey Noodhish!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I think it is good for the most part just needs to be regulated a bit more to keep advertisers inline. I 110% think that it is an effective method for advertising products, and think any business that isn’t advertising on the platform is wasting their time and advertising budget! I think the future of marketing will move more online but still have some traditional offline measures!


  16. Heya,

    You’ve touched an interesting point by saying ‘who to trust when it comes to advertising’, and my paper is quite similar as yours as I focused on influencers on Instagram. Coming to your paper only, I think that people are more getting consumed by the digital era and the pandemic made people more dependent on social media platform in general, so they have a basic knowledge on a good product and a bad product. If we take TikToc, on this platform people express more which makes it easier to advertise brand but on the other hand, this platform is for entertainment so if the mass audience use it only for advertisement, they will loose their followers. My point is that TikTok is still a platform where people are using to enrich knowledge and entertain people, I think the part of advertisement is present in minority on this platform compared to Instagram and Facebook.

    1. Hey Shruti,

      Awesome stuff! I’ll defiantly give your paper a read. I think that it would be interesting to see the similarities that we would’ve written about. I agree with you that TikTok has much less advertising on it as IG and Facebook but I think that it is slowly getting more and more advertisements placed on the platform. Besides those who use the apps as a hobby, people make careers out of them – sooner or later if the talent wants to get paid for using the app they will need to delve into some sort of advertising!


  17. it is indeed true that Tik Tok has proved to be an effective tool for marketing strategy. Tik Tok helps a lot in reaching a wider audience and it is even free. It also gives equal chance to everyone to go viral. Personally, I have got the chance to go through a lot of small businesses with really good products thanks to Tik Tok. I was able able to have a feedback of their products though the comments giving me an insight how good or bad the products or services are. To conclude, social media have proved to be very effective in promoting a lot of brands and raise awareness of many businesses.

    I really enjoyed reading your paper and the perspective you’ve tackled. Good job!

    1. Hey Noodhish!

      Thanks for taking the time to review my paper. I agree with you 110%, I think the platform is great as you don’t need to have thousands of followers to get in front of millions of viewers. If you have good, engaging content – people will see it! You are also right, a quick flick through the comments would reveal the integrity of the product.


  18. Hi,

    Thanks for your interesting paper.

    Interestingly, social networking sites have seemingly escaped much regulation and don’t have the same code of conduct that traditional media does. Your point about influencers advertisements being transparent made me think of when the Australian radio industry went through the ‘cash for comment scandal. In the late ’90s Australian radio hosts were involved in using “personal stories” endorsing an experience or product without telling the audience it was a paid advertisement. Since then, there has been a further tightening of regulation to ensure advertisements are transparent

    For example, the television industry has a regulatory body that will ensure the claims within television commercial are factual. For example, if a woman in a commercial selling beauty product stated, “we have the world’s lowest prices”, they would be required to prove this statement is true and correct. This system would seemingly be tough to enforce within a digital realm, given the scale and pace of the digital environment. However, it will be interesting to see if governments choose to implement any control over claims within digital advertising and how this could be policed.

    Background information on Cash for Comment Scandal, if you’re interested.

    Screen Australia Digital Learning—Cash for comment (2004).
    NFSA. Retrieved May 16, 2021, from

    Zinn, C. (1999, November 15). Australian radio stars in cash-for-comment scandal. The Guardian.

    1. Hey Joseph,

      You’re right! I think it’s way too hard to police as sites are accessible worldwide and servers may not necessarily be located in the country where the laws may apply. A bit of a tricky one!

      Those examples are awesome – I wish I had included them in my post. Thanks for providing those links, I’ll give those articles a read now 🙂


  19. Hi!

    I feel marketing has always been the prime focus of for-profit companies, much more so than other areas such as research and development or customer service, and they clearly understand the benefits of social media technology. While I do not have extensive knowledge of the inner workings of TikTok, I’ve realised that there is some incredibly complex user preference analysis built into the app. The videos the app recommended, even though I never hit the like button, became increasingly personalised just through what I assume is how quickly I swiped up. The app truly is perfect for advertising with its machine learning and condensed content. Unfortunately, the fakery of commercials have translated well into promoted content by influencers, but while most people were sceptical of TV commercials, the younger audience of TikTok may fall prey to this. In your conclusion, you noted that there should be new legislation to regulate digital advertising. If you were a law-maker, what would be the first law you would put into place yourself?

    1. Hey Hao,

      Thanks for reviewing my post! I think TikTok’s algorithm is second to none! It’s so interesting how it understands what we’re going to want to watch next!

      If I was a law maker, I’d probably make it mandatory for apps to have a little disclaimer above the bio / description that alerts the user of an advertisement. There could be a switch that users can turn on when they are about to post a new video that would trigger that alert to come up on the video!


  20. Hi 🙂
    My paper seems quite similar to yours, and as a marketing student myself I agree that advertisements are becoming seamlessly less authentic as our social media age stretches on. A study by Rodgers (2018) involving 681 adolescent’s states that teenage girls are purchasing makeup products more than ever before due to their constant exposure to social media affecting their body image and wellbeing. The issue of Influencer promotion comes full circle in the world of marketing – referring to the the concept of the Consumer Decision-Making Process, the 5-step process is conducted by all individuals when making a purchase decision, no matter how big or small it may be. Step 2 of the model involves the ‘Search for Information’ by the buyer (Stankevich, 2017). In this step, individuals will research reviews on the product they are focused on purchasing. Stankevich (2017) does an excellent job at explaining the intricate details of this framework. Majority of the time, these reviews are made by endorsed influencers who are paid to present the product to their online audience as authentically as possible. In this case, consumers are being advertised the product rather than finding real authentic reviews. How do you think this will affect the future of purchasing-power by consumers?

    Please consider reading up on my paper titled “How the ‘misconception of perfection’ by Instagram Influencers encourages impressionable followers to purchase endorsed products that contribute to idolised body standards.” I talk about how Influencers must create a plastic perception of themselves in order to gain brand sponsorships and endorsements. However, they are setting a negative example for impressionable followers who then develop self-image issues regarding who they admire online.

    Rodgers, R.F., Slater, A., Gordon, C.S. et al. (2020). A Biopsychosocial Model of Social Media Use and Body Image Concerns, Disordered Eating, and Muscle-Building Behaviors among Adolescent Girls and Boys. J Youth Adolescence 49, 399–409.

    Stankevich, Alina. 2017. “Explaining the Consumer Decision-Making Process: Critical Literature Review.” Journal of International Business Research and Marketing 2(6): 7-14.

    1. Hey Layla!

      Thanks for reviewing my paper! Reviews are definitely interesting as there are a lot of companies offering fake bulk reviews that you can purchase for your business. I think online marketing is awesome although so hard to police and regulate. Best form of advertising is word of mouth. Have / make a good product and people will talk about it 😉

      I’ll give your paper a read and comment now!

      Thanks for sharing!


  21. Hey there!

    I hope all is well, great paper that has explored the use of social media as a mechanism of marketing. Marketing is such a crucial aspect of everyday life as everything we eat, wear, consume or house has been purchased and sifted through to obtain the look or taste we require to live as. As mentioned within your paper, organisations and influencers online have adopted social media in order to sell and promote certain features, these are advertised within these platforms as algorithms sort which media interests you and the media you interacted with the most. The algorithms then take into consideration of what product you may connect with in order sell certain products. I agree with you with topic title when you state that this is immoral and unjust, the many personal reasons that I believe that marketing influencing is wrong is the following reasons, firstly it exploits your online profile and the decisions you make providing an environment where you are under constant research and scrutiny. Secondly, constant advertising is harassing as users want to participate in an environment where content is uploaded without waiting and scrolling through advertisements. Thirdly, advertisements distract viewers from content that potentially deserve the right to promoted and viewed, I understand that social media is an excellent form of marketing and that organisations need sales but enforcing themselves into every available outlet is an injustice. Do you believe that if advertising without constraint were to continue on such social media platforms that it would potentially have the effect to turn away social media users?

    Thank you

    1. Hey Che-Anne!

      Thanks for your comment and reading my post! I think that depends on the individual user and their connectedness to the platforms. I personally only use Facebook because I need to for work purposes. I think if the bad outweighs the good then it would turn away users but social media is too powerful and most of us rely on it as a means of communicating and staying in touch with our friends and family!

      Thanks again and all the best 🙂


  22. Hi!

    As a marketing student, I can agree with how these tactics are becoming more and more involved in not only social media but in the world. The Google Ads and Geo-targeted Facebook ads are great examples of how artificial intelligence is growing.

    However, you mentioned that 27% of users are now purchasing anti-ad blockers and it’d be interesting to hear your thoughts on whether or not this may increase in the next few years? Do you think that consumers will become more aware of these tactics used that will lead them to avoid being targeted or majority just not care?

    Although in regards to businesses this is extremely beneficial, as a consumer I am concerned and still learning where and how my data is that is being stored. I don’t exactly enjoy being ‘heard’ by my technology and have seen many sources of media (e.g. documentary on Netflix called ‘The Social Dilemma’) conveying that the innovation will only lead to further issues. What are your thoughts on this?
    I also think about how authentic/genuine influencers are when they promoting products/brands as they are (as you have stated) continuously caught out by their false actions. A common example of these actions being caught out is the constant ‘hair gummy’ promotions, with influencers claiming that they work but on numerous occasions have just been ‘money-scammers’, resulting in consumers hating the product.
    As suggested in your paper, new applications, such as TikTok, only gives influencers new avenue to do this in.

    Overall, I found your page very insightful, interesting to read and eye-opening. Good job.

    – Kira

    1. Hey Kira,

      I definitely think that the uptake of ad-blockers will continue to grow over the coming years. I think that consumers will definitely become aware of the sneaky tactics used, although the digital realm is constantly evolving and new tactics will be developed to try to manipulate you into purchasing a product / service.

      It’s a double edged sword for me re: my devices listening to me. At one side I don’t want someone / something listening into my conversations and picking up on keywords, but on the other token, my life isn’t that exciting and I don’t have much to hide so I’m not bothered by it that much. My device can listen to me all it wants, it might just get a little bored doing so 😂

      I think that I would prefer my device listen to me to get more targeted information / ads as I’d rather be shown something that I’m interested in than something that I am not!

      Thanks again for sharing!


  23. Hi,

    It is interesting to consider how accessible social media is especially to young people whilst influencers are often providing deceptive accounts of products. I wonder how this may effect the future of sales and marketing?

    I quite liked your personal touch at the end although it did suggest that there may be some bias in you opinions regarding the topic. Regardless, I quite enjoyed your paper and writing style.

    Thanks for a thought provoking read!

    1. Hey Kaily,

      Thanks for reviewing! I think I’d be more bias if I wrote about how great influencer marketing was and didn’t talk about the deceptiveness. As an advertiser I want as many people to purchase my product by any means necessary 🙂

      Thanks again!


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