Today I decided to talk about something which is not often discussed in the beauty blogging community but about which I have something to say, both as a reader, a consumer and a blogger myself. I hope this will stimulate a positive debate and I hope you’ll let me know your opinion in the comments.
So, I’m sure you all know what #ad posts are and you’ve probably seen many over the blogs you follow. What I mean with #ad are posts which feature products (or a service etc.) that a person has been paid to push in their content.
I suppose by law the writers have to disclose this information, which is why you can almost always figure out from the title that is going to be an advertisement in some form. Be it written or in a video.
This is not to be confused with products that have been sent to a blogger without any form of payment and when they have been left to express their opinion on it, whether it is positive or not. This happens for most blogs and I have absolutely nothing against that.
Why they exist
This is easy to understand. Some bloggers or YouTubers have thousands if not millions of followers, which means they have a wide and easily accessible audience. Brands are well aware of this and want to capitalise. These media channels (blogs, twitter, instagram, snapchat) are starting to replace the old formats, such as TV adverts. For some smaller brands, they’re the only means through which their marketing operates. Think about, for example, Oskia and Pixi – they do not appear on TV or on specific adverts in beauty magazines. They mostly operate through word of mouth and appearances on beauty blogs and magazines.
Why brands opt for this method
I believe the cost factor is key. This kind of publicity is far cheaper than adverts – in the printed press or on TV. Most importantly of all, this approach allows the brands to target a specific audience, which is a lot more likely to be interested in the product they are promoting. Of course, the range of people watching TV is far wider than those specifically leafing through make-up and skincare blogs. Furthermore, bloggers are real people who their readers know and in most cases, trust, which makes it a lot easier for bloggers to convince their readers to buy something, or to persuade them that a certain product is amazing and worth the money.
How they affect me
Being a skincare-addict makes me liable to this. I’m sometimes quite easy to convince, because I’m genuinely interested in trying new products or new brands. The difference is that I’m far more likely to have faith in a product if the person pushing it hasn’t been paid to do so. I know most big bloggers will say things like “they only promote things they believe in”, “they only write honest reviews and opinions” and that “they decline a LOT of offers except for the ones they highly believe in”.
However, I find it hard to always believe this. On the one hand, I completely understand that for those who make a living out of their blogs, this is a key source of income. Then again, I personally feel it diminishes my interest. I don’t remember the last time I ended up buying something that was sponsored.
It doesn’t feel right to trust someone who is getting paid for telling me that something is great and will make my skin better. Perhaps I’m being slightly pessimistic, but that is my own personal opinion and you may totally disagree with me, of course we can respect each other’s view point.
I also want to say that I do buy a lot of products after having seem them on Instagram or on blogs, but it’s always been in the firm belief that the person is offering a genuine opinion.
Also do I really want to help a top Youtuber make even more money? When it’s essentially just a business. To tell the truth – not really.
I like being an informed consumer. I read tons of reviews and almost never buy something without having read some comments on it. In this way I find that those reviews sections in most e-commerce websites are very good at giving me a general opinion of a product, especially given that people who leave such short reviews are not bloggers but random people — just like my mother or some of my friends — who do not want to waste money on products which falsely claim to work miracles.
I’m totally not against #ad posts as I do get that for most bloggers they are the only way they can make money out of their passion for beauty, make-up or skincare. It’s also a way for them to finance the rest of the work they’re doing. However I just want to share my own opinion on it and say that I am often sceptical about them, especially when they’re sponsoring a skincare brand, a new make-up range. They often just sound like what you’d read on a company’s website or in a TV advert. I also find it very boring to see everyone talking about a new skincare range or product all at the same time and all pretty much saying the same things. Again, it’s my opinion and of course there are exceptions.
To be fair, who doesn’t like it when bloggers are given some discount codes for their readers? Annoyingly I’ve not yet got to use one, because I always see them when I’m tight for cash!
I should say finally, that I understand that this is part of blogging, as an industry. Obviously, if I want to be a part of it I have to accept what’s going on. I hope it doesn’t sound too aggressive, so please see this from a consumer’s point of view, rather than as a fellow blogger.
I’d like to know your thoughts, feel free to disagree with me, as always!
You can follow me on Bloglovin here.