There has been an important focus on digital advertising on social media platforms. For those of us who grew up prior to the advance we now see with technology and streaming services, we had to sit through all the commercials if we wanted to watch our favorite shows. Marketing strategies have changed to expand the reach and keep up with consumer behaviors. Additionally, we have seen a lot in the media over the past few months about the handling of users data; however, we know little about the impacts of digital marketing on consumers financial behaviors.

Exposure to online advertising

Social media provide an international platform for marketers to reach consumers. People are exposed to ads through different social media content, through deliberate search, and when they subscribe to channels.

Social media platforms also have different purposes: (a) social networking, (b) instant photo-sharing and messaging, (c) micro-blogging, (d) business and employment-oriented social network, and (e) catalog of ideas or creative outlet. Each medium offers some uniqueness that marketers maximize on for digital advertising. In other words, advertisers find ways to promote their product on social media pages that match the goals of the platform (e.g. collaborating with others, a creative outlet to express and create, or a place to build or maintain relationships).

Be mindful of online advertising

Whether you use social media primarily for personal or professional reasons, you will encounter advertisements. Why does this matter to financial professionals and educators? Engagement with social media offers an important element – a human factor that allows us to connect with other people. However, when it comes to financial behaviors, advertisers find creative ways to reach consumers. As you navigate your social media pages, be mindful of digital advertising:

  • Maintain a budget: A workable budget helps you organize your monthly bills and expenses. It helps you plan and reduces the chance of overspending.
  • Avoid impulse buying: Always ask yourself a few important questions. How does this purchase fit into my budget? Is this a decision I need to make right now? Do I need more time to save for this purchase?
  • Unfollow, block, or hide ads to see fewer ones: There are options on some social media pages that allow you to hide advertisements and it may generate information about seeing fewer ads like the one you hid. This may seem trivial, but it's one method I use to remove some ads from my pages, even if that solace is only temporary.
  • Pause and plan: Breathe before you buy. Sometimes, you just need to take a step back to be sure you are making the best money decisions for yourself or your family.
  • Internet safety and security: When you do shop online, it is important to protect your information. Anyone may become victim to fraud or identity theft. Use secure Wi-Fi networks and trusted (https) websites if you have to shop online.

Marketers use creative and well-timed approaches to advertise their products. Even the most disciplined shoppers may encounter challenges when they are bombarded with endless advertisements. The points mentioned above can help you stay on track.

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