Changing Borders Between eCommerce and Advertising

Consumers Find Shopping and Socializing Convenient on Smartphones
••• Photo Alto/Sigrid Olsson/Getty Images

As consumers spend increasing amounts of time online or accessing their digital devices, advertisers and marketers are following them. The evolution of consumer behavior ultimately impacts advertising and creates macro changes in advertising patterns across channels. The forecast for global spend across advertising channels shows steady increases in television and the internet. Cinema, radio, magazine and outdoor advertising are predicted to stay roughly the same. Newspaper advertising continues to slowly diminish as the media adapt to new channels.

As people spend more time on social media, advertisers are following them

The tracking and management of social media are no longer activities relegated to summer interns. There is broad recognition in the marketing field that social media is a legitimate channel for advertising. The absolute number of people engaged in social media networks is reason enough for businesses to pay attention to social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Vine. With an estimated 2 billion people using social media networks, the amount of money being spent to attract these consumers through online advertising is roughly $20 billion.  

Integrated and Optimized Marketing

Social media networks generally collect data about their users that can be used by businesses to more precisely target the markets that engage with their brands. For example, consumers who express interest in a brand, product, or service in the marketplace may find that those brands have followed them into the virtual space of social media networks. 

Paid search is expected to triple in 2017 from 2008 figures. While the global spend on display advertising is increasing, it pales in comparison with the growth of advertising spend that has been observed in online video and social media. Experts at ZenithOptimedia predict that the amounts spent on social media advertising and online video ads will triple from 2015 to 2017. 

Brands Develop Online Personalities to Engage Consumers

Marketers are optimizing content formats in order to make the best use of the various channels that consumers use. Marketers are also targeting consumers in their markets by adapting campaigns to attract people they believe will be more likely to respond to the advertisements on each channel. Part of this effort is the development of brand personalities. 

There are certainly trade-offs between the production effort to develop online brand personalities and brand awareness and brand lift that can result from those efforts. Yet, consumers expect to be entertained or inspired by their favorite brand advertisements. Generally, customers reward brands that give it the old college try and reach for humor or human interest in their tweets. Consider this example: Apple’s gold iPhone was introduced to the market in 2013. The Denny’s restaurant chain tweeted a pancake photo captioned that their pancakes are “always available in golden.”

One Stop Social Media Platforms: Instant Sales and Social Connections

The new social media online environment has a distinctly commercial component, even to the extent that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms are selling advertising space that includes buttons enticing consumers to “buy now.” This means that consumers experience the convenience of making purchases without navigating too far off social media platforms. Advertisers are buying space on the social platforms with the idea that the members of the social media networks will spend more time on the sites. In addition, there is a strong desire by advertisers and the social media platforms that consumers will perceive the instantaneous shopping opportunities as useful and not view them as advertising clutter, noise, and nuisances.


____. (2015, August 29). Marketing in the digital age: A brand new game. The Economist.