Marketing Tricks to Take with a Grain of Salt: Freebies and Influencers

Online advertising revenues in the U.S. have long surpassed 100 billion dollars, demonstrating a manyfold increase in the last two decades. Internet marketing is using all channels to reach audiences online, showcase products …and sometimes also lure people into buying dubious goods and using untrustworthy services.

What’s more, advertising makes us unhappy in general, at least according to the research by Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick. After analyzing the life satisfaction scores of over 900,000 citizens from 27 European countries and the annual advertising spending in those countries, the researcher concluded that an increase in spending on advertising was proportional to the decrease in the life satisfaction level.

But not all marketing strategies are equal. Some are trickier than others. Some are so hard to withstand that, no matter how hard-skulled you are, you are always in danger of falling for the traps they’ve set. Without further ado, let’s jump to the most alluring marketing tricks: freebies and influencers.

Freebies are Not That Free After All

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Online businesses rarely give away money just like that. More often than not, a freebie comes at the price of either spending your money directly or doing a favor – usually not the most pleasant one – in exchange for the freebie. To reveal the true colors of freebies, let’s turn to gambling as it represents a truly versatile market of freebies.

There are gazillions of online platforms, and the lion’s share of them advertise bonuses: welcome bonuses, cashback, referral programs, VIP rewards, and who knows how many other types of perks. But it’s not that easy at all to make real money on casino bonuses:

First of all, most likely the casino online will ask you to deposit real money to obtain the bonus.

Secondly, most bonuses cannot be cashed out until you complete the wagering requirement (in other words, wager a predetermined amount of money on the eligible casino games).

Finally, there are numerous minor yet significant snags like restrictions as to the payment methods you can use, geographical limitations, and so on.

But does it mean all freebies are bait? Absolutely not, but you have to be an inveterate gambler, a gambling expert, or just a good researcher to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. Ironically, though, when doing your research, you might fall for another trap: recommendations from your beloved influencers.

Not All Influencers Have a Deep Knowledge of What They Promote

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The global Instagram influencer marketing spending reached eight billion dollars in 2020, and there’s no doubt this market will continue to grow as social networks keep winning the hearts of millions of people around the world.

But in no way should you buy into what you’re being advertised. There are hundreds of examples of abysmal fails in that domain, but to prove to you that you should always take what influencers say with a grain of salt, let’s just apply basic human logic and answer a simple question: Who can be a truly good advertiser? Drumroll…ONLY and ONLY someone who’s an absolute expert in the field. Because if it’s the other way round, who on earth would trust the ad? Surprisingly, hundreds of millions of people do. Can’t believe it? Then let’s take a final dive into the crypto market, the most hyped topic of today.

With thousands of cryptocurrencies around, the biggest entrepreneur in the world, Elon Musk, keeps mentioning Dogecoin in his tweets. But whether he believes in that crypto is beyond the point – what’s more important is that his followers are buying Doge just because it was mentioned by their idol. However, if they had done a little bit of research on DOGE, they would have seen that DOGE is not the fastest, not the most anonymous, and not the cheapest crypto out there. And if it’s not that good, then why jump on the bandwagon, exposing yourself to an unjustified risk/reward ratio?!

The example above is not financial advice, but it illustrates marketing at its best and the snowball effect that might follow a successful marketing campaign. But that happens mostly because people are unwilling to study things – they want a ready-made solution for their problems here and now, without putting any effort into it. And that’s the root of evil.


Interesting related article: “What is Digital Marketing?