Social media has been a debatable subject on the impact it has on society. With the success of advertising, it is still a worry for one in five people still view its impact on society.
Certain brands have been put under the microscope as to the part they’re playing in tackling some of society’s biggest issues. According to the Advertising Associations (AA) Pays 8 report, it has estimates £1bn worth of media supports advertising that makes a social contribution each year (out of the almost £25bn expected to be spent this year on advertising), while the UK ad industry spends around £75m worth of pro bono hours on this type of work.
However, even with all that investment, the UK general public is not satisfied with the job brands are doing. Areas in which the public would like to see brands focus on are mental health (68%), environmental issues (59%) and domestic violence/abuse. Other areas that the public would like to see have more focus are poverty/homelessness (55%), healthy living (52%) and animal welfare (51%). Areas such as racial diversity (42%), gender/sexuality (33%) and religion (18%) ranked the lowest.
In terms of advertising that the public came across most are campaigns that raise awareness or support fundraising for a good cause (45%). Adverts that encourage people to make a change come in at second (31%), services which are good for the planet (30%) and campaigns which bring people together around important cultural/events messages.
This has specially raised the voices of younger consumers, with 59% of 16-24-year-olds and 54% of 25-34-year-olds saying that a brand's efforts to make a positive social impact through its advertising have a significant or very strong influence on their purchase decision. That could see social media targeted as a strong channel to advertise.
The public believes that more companies are making the effort to have a positive effect on social contribution, however, only 10% of consumers believe that to be genuine.