Whether you realize it or not, someone is always trying to sell you something. Every day you will see approximately 5000 advertisements. With a large volume of advertisements being presented to us each day, how does this impact society?
Advertisements are used to promote or inform people about goods and services in order for people to purchase them.After their introduction to a product, people will decide whether or not they want or need to buy the commodity. The ads in the America, no matter how annoying, add an insurmountable amount of wealth to the economy. Without advertisements, the economy would suffer.
Depending on how effective a companies’ advertisements are, they will market their product better in order to generate revenue. The estimated money spent on advertisements this year is around $600 Billion making it a larger industry than the entirety of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola combined.
The use of ads in the United States is great for the economy. In 2014, the estimated $300 Billion spent on advertising either directly or indirectly accounted for $5.5 Trillion of sales. This means for every dollar spent on advertising in the United States, 19 dollars is made.
Jobs are also a result of advertising. Around 600,000 jobs in the United States are supported because of marketing and advertising. This sector makes up 0.5% of all jobs in the U.S. Without advertising, the economy would be harmed severely. 19% of the United States GDP (gross domestic product) is because of advertising.
Marketing of products has shifted in recent years because of social media and the ‘information age’. Apps like Facebook and Instagram have capitalized on the mobile ad market. While scrolling through your Instagram feed, you will see approximately one advertisement for every four posts from the users you follow. With users only looking at posts for around five seconds each, if a person spends the average 25 minutes a day on Instagram, they will see around 75 advertisements from Instagram alone.
When you should be solely scrolling through your social media feed, you are instead bombarded with advertisements. Advertising on social media has increased dramatically in recent years, with ad revenue increasing ten percent each year and is estimated to be around $50 Billion this year. With the increase of mobile advertising steady, do not expect mobile advertising to become any less prominent in the coming years.
Over the past few years, ad blockers, software that prevents advertisements on your computer, have become more and more popular. The use of ad blockers have increased 30% in the past two years, this is due to 87% of people saying they feel advertisements are more intrusive and annoying than previous years (According to Hubspot). People use ad blockers in order to avoid seeing the massive amount of ads that flood their feeds.
Since computers and smartphones have become very popular in recent years, ads have become more and more targeted to the consumer. Companies like Google and Facebook use your personal data to compile algorithms in order to show you ads of your general interests. The use of targeted ads should not be allowed because of how intrusive it is to your disposition. Your personal information should not be compiled for any reason.
In the beginning of 2018, Facebook faced the scandal of Cambridge Analytica, the company collected the personal data of over 50 million Facebook users. Even though it collected this personal data, they did it without hacking because at the time, it was completely legal. Since the company has the personal data at their disposal, they could easily sell it to anyone to use for advertising. Cambridge Analytica has claimed they have since deleted the data and no longer have it.
The impact of ads doesn’t end with smartphones or Facebook. Direct to consumer advertisements, or DTCA, also negatively impact people. A study by the Illinois Institute of Technology showed that a direct to consumer ad about an antidepressant negatively impacted the viewers of the advertisement. “These participants were less likely to offer help, endorse recovery, and agree with self-determination attitudes towards people with mental illness following viewing the DTCA.” This study showcases how ads can damage our society’s view on mentally ill people.
Advertising is controversial, but without it, the U.S. would likely suffer. Even though advertisements are necessary for economic success, they are certainly annoying, intrusive, and have become dangerous because of your personal data on the internet. No matter your view, it is unlikely we will see ads going away anytime soon.