Who Are Companies Targeting?

It’s no secret that companies market online (and everywhere else for that matter!), but how is this changing over time? Patricia Redsicker discusses this change in her guide: The Social Media Examiner and illuminates some important and changing trends in marketing. Billboards, buses, washrooms, magazines, TV, radio, Internet, and the endless list of tools marketers use has now increased to Social Media.

Social Media Advertising Budget: 2013
Social Media Advertising Budget: 2013

65% of marketers increased their paid social media ad budgets for 2013. These budgets have shifted from Offline to Online, meaning that the average advertising dollar has been redistributed from billboards and banners to social media penetration.

It’s even costing less.

89% of current American advertisers use free social tools to advertise their products. The most prominent free social tools include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube. Promoted Tweets are also a mainstay, with 75% of advertisers using this as a part of their marketing arsenal. Marketers are struggling internally to measure their ROI (Return on Investment) with these relatively new channels. For example, should it be measured by number of likes, retweets, pins?

Free and Paid Social Media Advertising Tools
Free and Paid Social Media Advertising Tools

It’s here to stay.

Marketing on social media is here to stay. It’s presence and budgets on average increase year over year. They are targeting the users of social media, who are predominately young adults and teenagers.

Marketing targets or Discerning Consumers?

We have a choice. We can blindly conform to marketer and company targets, buying their products because a celebrity uses it. Or we can become what Edureach101 has coined, Discerning Consumers. We can be consumers with thoughts, critically thinking and judging what’s put in front of us. This means analyzing a range of information before parting with your dollar. It means consulting multiple sources before deciding if that product is as effective as those advertisers claim. It means looking at consumer feedback, company reputation, cost vs. benefit, price vs. value, ethics and values, and personal taste.

These skills are not innate.

We must be taught these skills within the classroom. It’s our job as Ontario scholars and educators to implement this in our curriculum and to proactively integrate it within our classroom. The learning environment should reflect social literacy skills regularly and build our students’ confidence in making these decisions. The Discerning Consumer skills are the tools of literacy of the 21st Century Learner.

We have to teach students the skills needed to become knowledgeable and effective members of society. Students need to:

1. Observe all viewpoints.

2. Think critically.

3. Know the messengers.

4. Become locally & globally knowledgeable.

Below is an assignment I’ve created for the Grade 12 Canadian World Issues Course, implementing the Discerning Consumer Skills. It promotes critical analysis of apps and websites for education.

C.W.I Website/App Review Assignment
C.W.I Website/App Review Assignment


C.W.I Website/App Review Assignment Rubric
C.W.I Website/App Review Assignment Rubric


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