My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media Advertisements

So, I was on Pinterest the other day (everyday) and for some reason I started to pay attention to the bottom of each pin. You know, where it says what website it’s from and who pinned it. That’s when I realized that a good portion of the pins in my feed were “promoted pins.” ADVERTISEMENTS. I had even added a few of them to my boards! Pinterest ads don’t look like ads. They are designed to look just like any pin on a feed. It’s just so sneaky. And totally genius. I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest ads.

Here is an example of a promoted pin Pinterest ad I found in my feed. Its from a company called Casetify who sells phone cases. I love a cute phone case and have for sure searched for them on Pinterest and Amazon.If it weren’t for the “promoted by” part at the bottom, I probably never would have noticed it was an ad.


Paid advertising on social media is a fairly new. Pinterest just launched it’s promoted pins feature on January 1st of 2015. Instagram (who is owned by Facebook) announced in 2016 that it was adding boosted posts to its repertoire. Instagram ads, like Pinterest ads, are very well camouflaged. I actually ended up buying two sweatshirts from Instagram boosted posts in the past month.

From a marketers standpoint, these “disguised” ads are wonderful. Consumers can view your content without writing it off as an ad. They treat it as if it were just another item in their feed. They ad a great tool to a social media/digital marketing tool box.

From a consumers standpoint, I find these ads kind of scary. For some reason my mind goes right for subliminal messages. Some of the ads look nothing like ads and it freaks me out. It makes me wonder that if in the future if it will be legal to put ads on the internet and social media and not disclose that they are paid media.

What do you think? Clever or creepy? Me thinks a little of both.




Cohen, D. (2016, May 31). Instagram Introduces Business Profiles, Analytics, Promoted Posts. Retrieved February 8, 2017, from

Bradford, J. (December 28). A big year ahead for Promoted Pins. Retrieved February 08, 2017, from


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