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Advertising on YouTube, Instagram & Co.

2 minutes reading time
6-17 years
Social Media
© photothek.net

Have you noticed this too: Almost every YouTube video is preceded by a commercial clip, and many videos are interrupted by commercials in between as well. When scrolling through the Instagram feed, it’s hard to distinguish posts from subscribed channels from ads. For children and young people, this is even more difficult.

Advertising has existed on the Internet for a long time and in a wide variety of forms. Read more about this in our articles Click, swipe, like, bought – Recognizing and questioning advertising in the media and Social media, influencers and the dear money.

Some social media portals have been running a particularly large amount of advertising for some time. This makes it difficult to distinguish commercial content from other postings and clips.

YouTube advertising

Watching a YouTube video without encountering ads seems almost impossible anymore. More and more people are earning money with YouTube. For this, YouTuber can place advertisements: There are ads in the browser window, within a video or as links in the video description. Commercials can run before and during a video and some cannot be skipped. Advertising is often displayed on a person-specific basis, i.e. depending on location, interests and preferences.

Above all, the operator Google earns with it. More advertising makes the offer less attractive at the same time. In this way, Google is attracting more and more users to its paid-for, but ad-free premium offer, which is constantly referred to.

So if you want to keep watching your favorite YouTube videos, you may have to put up with ads or pay for YouTube.

Videos aimed at children must not contain personalized and non-age appropriate advertising. Nevertheless, companies also place ads on these videos. That’s why the ad-free app YouTube Kids is recommended especially for younger children.

When using YouTube on your smartphone, apps like NewPipe prevent ads from being displayed.

Advertising on Instagram and TikTok

In the popular social media portals, there are not only advertisements from influencers. On Instagram, companies display ads within the feed or as Stories. Stories from companies or brands are automatically displayed when you look at the Stories of friends or subscribed channels. In the feed, you can recognize advertisements by the fact that they are posts from mostly unsubscribed channels, marked with “Sponsored”. TikTok also has sponsored clips. In addition, the hashtags and challenges popular with the platform are also used by companies to start trends around their brands and thus reach many users with short videos.

You can (de)activate certain preferences for ads in the Instagram settings, but you can’t turn them off completely. With TikTok, you can’t make any settings about advertising at all.

What else can you do as a parent?

If your child is young or has little media experience, you should guide him or her in using video portals such as YouTube. Explain to him the difference between advertising and other content and show him how to recognize it.

Certain browser settings, such as disabling cookies when visiting a website or installing plug-ins, can help you see less advertising.

When your son or daughter starts using Instagram or TikTok, go through the apps’ settings options together. Make your child aware that there is also a lot of commercial content there and regulate how to deal with it.

If your child knows how media works and that many make money from social media, he or she can learn to use it consciously and safely.

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