Social media users have hard time distinguishing paid content

Is that an advertisement, or just a normal post? Almost half of social media users – 48 per cent – aren’t always able to answer that question, according to a recent survey by Bitkom Research.

The study by the German association suggests that users, especially young people, have difficulty distinguishing advertisements, product placement and sponsoring from real content posted by other users. That’s often due to the way online advertising is presented nowadays.

But on the whole, users are relatively conscious of online advertising. Around eight out of 10 users said that advertising on social media networks had greatly increased. Six out of 10 said that they don’t mind it as long as the social media service remains free.

Around a third even said they found online advertising useful because it means they come across products they might otherwise have missed.

The study was based on a representative online poll with 1,212 respondents that was conducted in 2018 by Bitkom.

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