Social media. Two words, endless formats. Does it consume me? If I had to answer honestly, I’d lean towards an embarrassing “yes.” I’ll admit it; as if it’s not already obvious from the way I spend my time. Here’s a look into my average day: wake up, check Instagram, shower, check Facebook, go to class, Tweet my friends, grab pumpkin munchkins from Dunkin Donuts, take a Snapchat while waiting online to tell my friends DD officially has pumpkin munchkins back in stock.
With the obvious, and sometimes mind blowing, amount of time I spend on social media, it seems self explanatory that I come across many advertisements throughout the day. Yet, I feel like I’ve gained a skill at ignoring many of them. But as we all know, some ads just can’t be ignored, possibly because they’re obnoxious, do not allow us to X out, or even sometimes don’t really look much like ads.
One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @urbanoutfitters. I don’t normally follow many store accounts, mainly due to the fact that they’re posts all seem to promote their latest clothes and accessories. But, I guess we ask for that when we follow these types of accounts. Yet, Urban Outfitters does something a little different, and definitely more intriguing. And I have to say they get me every time.
Here is an example of one of Urban Outfitter’s Instragram posts. Beautiful water, blue sky, a girl floating on a really awesome strawberry frosted Donut float. What could be cooler than that? That is truly one of the thoughts I had while looking at this photo. Urban Outfitters has a pattern of posting many scenic pictures decorated with unbelievable landscapes from around the world. No matter what, I find myself taking an extra moment to look at their page, despite knowing they are a store account and not an actual person I have chosen to follow to maintain a social relationship.
I think it’s fair to say many people have once seen a photograph and wished they could have been there, worn that outfit, or seen that view. Urban Outfitters’ Instagram account ignites those desires. Are they posting the typical advertisements that we’re so geared to avoid? No, they’re not. This is part of the reason I believe they’re so successful, at least with me.
So often I hear my friends saying, “Wow, did you see so and so’s new bag in her Instagram? I wish I knew where to buy that.” Well, if you’re looking at @urbanoutfitters profile, you can buy anything you see and quite obviously, you know where to buy it.
This is exactly true for the summer girl sitting on the Donut float. Did I want to immediately buy a float shaped like a Donut to use in my pool? Of course, I did. Did I actually buy it? Of course, I did. It was too easy not to.
Not only do Urban Outfitters’ photos catch my attention, but they also fit in very well with the rest of my newsfeed. In other words, they look like they belong. Many advertisements on other accounts or other social media outlets appear very noticeably as what they are: advertisements. But Urban Outfitters doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Along with the scenic landscapes, they post photos of backyards, tents, comfortable beds in cute rooms, and so on. The account contains many ordinary photos that do not set off red alarms in my head telling me I’m following an account solely maintained for promotional purposes. They blend in, while simultaneously sneaking in tapestries, bedding, bags, jeans, and much more- all available to buy on their online website and in stores.
On the other hand of advertisements are the ones you can’t easily escape, and consequentially, can’t ignore. One of my favorite applications, Snapchat, has crossed over to the dark side with these. Yet, I don’t exactly hate the ads that interrupt my Campus Story. The Campus Story is a feed on Snapchat that allows anyone at Syracuse University to upload ten second videos and photos for all the campus to see. Needless to say, it’s a very popular source on Snapchat that users commonly watch. What better place would there be to insert an ad? Well, they’ve finally done it.
As I was watching my Campus Story earlier this week, I was clicking through the different photos and videos until I came to something that didn’t seem to belong. I had the option of clicking through the advertisement, but I found that I hesitated instead. The attractive model walking in Express clothing caught me off guard and distracted me. It crossed my mind, “Wait, she doesn’t even go here.” Yet, I continued to watch. I knew the clip wouldn’t be long based on Snapchat’s format, and as long as it was no longer than the rest of the videos I had been watching, why not waste a couple more seconds? Well, they got me again.
It also doesn’t hurt that the video showed an attractive woman, walking with confidence, and flaunting her new get up. I think Express did a great job in recognizing their target audience as young adults who very often wear clothing similar to the model in the video. The video advertisement also intrigues both men and women. Although it’s not an ad for male clothing, it seems as though it’d be appealing for any young college man to enjoy watching a stylish, good-looking model strut her stuff. As for the girls, we’re always looking for new ways to stay in style and usually turn to other women to do so.
There are many other ways advertisers and marketers catch our attention, but I’d have to say the two I pointed out are on the sneakier side. They get us when we’re not truly expecting it. On Twitter, I find myself looking out for sponsored Tweets and straying away. On Facebook, I know they’re likely to consume my newsfeed, so I avoid them.
However, Instagram store accounts that make you forget they’re a store and Snapchat ads that are conveniently sandwiched between my Campus Story videos, make it all much easier to give in to the advertisers I’ve tried so desperately to avoid. They just get me.