adverts on social media

Why are there adverts on social media?

Adverts on social media are common, they come in many different forms from company accounts to paid-for spaces, but why are they necessary?

Look in more detail at these platforms, you will see that most actually have two elements:

  1. Networking & Entertainment
  2. Paid-for-promo

1. Is the area where we spend our time.

2. Is the sponsored content which sits alongside the networking and entertainment area.

Many people do not consider both the elements and the reasons behind the existence of adverts, but it is important to recognise that when we are online, we are often seen as potential ‘consumers’. Most forms of social media is free to access, so we don’t always realise that there is a ‘value exchange’. Whether social media is free or charges subscription fees, adverts usually finance them. This is why you sometimes have to pay to have a premium non-ad version.

Companies spend a large amount of money making sure their adverts reach their target audience and have the right sort of message to appeal to them. Because social media is able to learn a lot of information about their users, it is easier for companies to reach the desired audiences. Adverts on social media can be a useful way for consumers to find out more about the products, services, and issues that interest them.

Time to Talk

What do you think are some of the positives and negatives of the value exchange outlined above? Is it good or bad that we get targeted by relevant adverts?

We would love to hear your views on this topic, or outcomes as a result of trying out the suggestion above. Please send them to

Find out more about our #OpenMyEyes Campaign in collaboration with Media Smart UK here.

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Source: Media Smart Body Image and Advertising: a guide for parents and guardians