Is Advertising on Social Media Hurting Your Brand

Is Advertising on Social Media Hurting Your Brand?

“May you live in interesting times,” said Robert F. Kennedy in 1966. Perhaps more of a curse than a blessing, these days. We certainly do live in interesting times, and we have a 24/7 news cycle to remind us of that fact. But is it news networks that generate the most daily dismay around the world today—or is it social media?


A new study from Verizon Media suggests that social media is the single most prominent factor that can negatively impact a personal – or professional – reputation.

The study goes so far as to suggest that brand safety is actually severely compromised by user-generated content. (Yes, that same social media phenomenon that businesses like yours crave so much.)

That’s not what you expected, is it?

But is advertising through your local news network really going to be better for your brand’s reputation than Facebook?


So, What is the Verizon Media Study?

Verizon Media conducted this study to determine how consumers respond to advertisements shared on news platforms and social media.

Of the surveyed participants, 40 percent reported that they developed a negative perception of companies whose ads were shared on social media. Why? The cause was mostly due to the surrounding presence of offensive content.

Comparatively, 90 percent of consumers reported that, even if advertisements appeared alongside controversial headlines, the accompanying news articles didn’t impact consumer opinions of a product or business.


Social Media + News = Ugh, Modernity

What is behind this significant wave of discontentment on social media? The cause may be political. Nonstop stories about elections and injustice dominate today’s news cycle. But worse, political tensions are so high that social media has turned into a battleground.


As a marketer, you can actually use this to your advantage.

With so much heavy news distributed with wild abandon across all social media platforms, your consumers are now flocking to sources of positivity. That includes your positivity-based ad campaigns.


Effective Advertising in the Modern Moment

Your consumers need positive energy, and they’re not finding it on social media. How can you turn that into a good thing for your brand image?


  • First: If you’re not careful, you could accidentally lambaste your own business on social media. Establish posting rules early on, so you don’t share content that could potentially add toxicity to your name.
  • Second: When in doubt, divert some of your social media budget and look into forming advertising partnerships with local news and radio stations. Your business will be treated with greater neutrality if it’s shared over a radio break as opposed to someone’s Twitter feed.
  • Third: Work to cultivate your business’s online experience. Trolls are part of the internet, and as an online business, you can’t avid them. You can, however, block individuals if you catch them in the act, and limit their abilities to bring your brand name down in front of your receptive audience.

Most importantly, you can actively work to make your social media presence a force for positivity.

While you shouldn’t ignore controversy that arises in your industry, take a news-like approach to the alerts that come across your feed. Take care of trolls as they happen, and respond to consumer concerns in a professional, friendly manner. Your daily posts should cultivate an expectation for fun and positivity from the content you share. Keep your social media advertising light and on-brand.

When your company provides consumers with a safe and friendly online space, you’ll do a world of good for your brand’s reputation.

Image attribution: Aleksei –