I personally do not follow brands on Twitter or Facebook as I am rather afraid of being bombarded with product related tweets and status related service updates. I did follow a brand for a while on Facebook but their “computer giveaways” were so irritating that I deleted their group with a “god riddance” mumble For many companies, it seems as if digital advertising on social networks is free advertising as well as free reign and many do not stop at one or two promotions but rather go status and tweet crazy 24 hours a day. With possible new restrictions on digital media related advertising, the rope might be considerably tightened on this so called free reign as the higher powers watch what brands come up with.
The proposal of digital advertising restrictions look to limit the amount of advertising that companies do on social networking sites as well as the nature of the advertising. Company promotion might be rather limited in upcoming years if these proposals are accepted by the Advertising Association and full regulation occurs. These conditions, already agreed by the AA, are hoping to regulate digital advertising the way that other forms of advertising are restricted and promote “responsible, legal, honest and truthful” digital advertising. Just like print, radio and visual advertising is regulated in the UK, so will social media advertising follow.
I believe that there are certain brands that utilise social networking as a means of productive digital advertising and I enjoy their dynamic approaching to social media and using it to the best of their ability. One brand that didn’t push their social advertising but made an impact at the same time was IKEA. IKEA decided to utilise Facebook to their full advantage and incorporate a competition into one of the most simple Facebook applications – photo tagging. This straightforward non gimmicky approach caught the attention of IKEA lovers all over the globe and expanded IKEA’s presence in social media and their digital advertising influence. There are however just as many digital advertising disasters in social media as there are creative successes, and one that will not be forgotten was Habitat. Their spam tagging spree placed them in hot water and even though they apologized numerous times for their unfortunate faux pas, I doubt that they will have many Twitter followers in the future.
These digital advertising regulations will not only be focused on third party and social networking sites but also company’s websites as they are now included in print TV and radio advertising.
The question is – will this restrict digital advertising for companies that utilise social media as a primary advertising approach? I believe that this could go both ways. Advertisers always seem to find another way to promote what they want said and as they already push the boundaries, they will find a way to still use digital advertising and social media advertising to display their brand in one way or another. It could possibly restrict their creativity though as this form of advertising is still fairly new and has much room for creative expansion which might not happen now due to regulation. It is true that regulation should occur with any form of digital advertising that is public and with people using social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook more than they watch television or read magazines, regulation will be needed eventually.