Advertising partners are a refreshingly personal alternative to a marketing strategy that relies primarily on computer algorithms. If you’re frustrated with those sorts of strategies as someone who does business online, rest assured that consumers probably started getting sick of them before you did.

We’ve previously discussed the growing backlash against cynical social media marketing. Well, that backlash is still growing, and its effects on the marketplace are becoming more and more significant. It helps that the cost of online ad-buys is growing in the midst of the current crisis of inflation, product shortages, and general economic uncertainty brought on by the lingering pandemic.

Under those circumstances, online businesses have very good reasons to reconsider their marketing strategies and to take a serious look at available advertising partners, such as content creators on YouTube, Spotify, and other podcast and video-sharing sites. Those individuals offer a unique synthesis of modern digital marketing and traditional ways of reaching audiences via sponsorships.

In one sense, these sorts of advertising partnerships still rely on algorithms to make sure that new viewers and listeners continue to find the content. No doubt this will always be the case to some extent. But in those situations, it is up to the content creators to make sure they are serving the algorithm, while the sponsors’ responsibility is mainly to confirm that the content in question is still in line with the image that they want for their brands.

Consumers are likely to appreciate this dynamic at a time when more and more of them are bucking the algorithms. People are increasingly sensitive to the fact that they are being manipulated and their personal data is being harvested in an attempt to sell them products and services that are designed to appeal to digital footprints but not necessarily to their personal preferences.

Recent scandals involving social media and online advertising have been predominantly focused on things like the manipulation of public sentiment. People have good reason to be outraged about their families and friends being targeted with propaganda. They also have good reason to be annoyed at ads that seem to bombard them with messages tailored to their most recent posts and web searches.

They’re less likely to have a negative reaction, however, to entertainment sites using algorithms to recommend shows for them to watch or listen to. That makes advertising partners a comparatively safe venture for new digital marketing strategies. While some people who consumer those partners’ content will inevitably still be annoyed by branded messages, they will generally be aware of the fact that no algorithm manipulated them into hearing those messages. It’s just that the owners of the brand share their discriminating taste in entertainment.

This is to say that some people will always mute their speakers or skip ahead when a YouTube personality starts reciting copy for an advertising partner, but others will be curious to learn more about any company that is cool enough to like what they like.