Two CMNS courses garner 2017 undergraduate research awards

From left to right students Tina Clellamin, Nola Mack, Dominique Iuticone, Dorothy Pootlass, Veronica Schooner, Katherine Scott, Bert Snow, Peter Snow May 25, 2017 Bella Coola* Missing from photograph, student Jim Dean Nelson

The Communications Department is very proud to spread the news that a Directed Studies (CMNS 490) student, and Professional Formal Research Report Writing (CMNS 351) class were chosen for two freshly launched research awards at the University of the Fraser Valley. The new Community Service Research and Indigenous Research Award were announced this year and we are very proud that our students were nominated and won the awards. Each come with a $1000.00 cheque.

Award ceremony Abbotsford, BC
UFV Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs Shirley Swelchalot Hardman accepting Indigenous Research Award from Dr, Adrienne Chan on behalf of the students May 29, 2017 Ramada Inn, Abbotsford, BC

The Indigenous Research Award went to a cohort of nine students in the community of Bella Coola who consulted together to create a report directed to the Nuxalk Nation board for education, NVIT for their program for certification as Chemical Addiction Workers (ChAd), and our own institution UFV which granted a block transfer from the ChAd program and delivered the balance of courses needed to gain a Bachelor of General Studies. The research report, titled Acwsalctimutilh, Yalctimutilh, Ksnmakaylaycilh: Tl’mstaliwatimutilh s Nuxalkmcilh** reviewed their experiences, honoured their learning, and made recommendations to all three institutions for continuation of program delivery in their own and other First Nation communities. The research and writing project was supervised by Dr. Marcella LaFever.

Korina Gratton Award Ceremony display slide showing change to the Chilliwack Resorative Justice Program website based on recommendations from her research report. May 29, 2017 Abbotsford, BC

The Community Research Award is in recognition of research by an undergraduate student who has partnered with an organization in the Fraser Valley. Korina Gratton, the premier winner of the award, worked with Chilliwack Restorative Justice (CRJ) to assess their website presence and make recommendations for improvement. Her onsite supervisor for CRJ was Leanna Kemp and her CMNS faculty supervisor was Dr. Marcella LaFever.

Korina’s purpose of the research, titled “Restorative justice organizations: a comparison and evaluation of website best practices,” was to analyze best practices for online environments; compare Chilliwack Restorative Justice and ten other restorative justice organizations’ web-sites against each other and the best practices, and recommend improvements to the CRJ website for better communicating, marketing, and overall appearance. As part of the analysis Korina develop an 18 item grid*** for rating websites in relation to online communication best practices.

BTW – Korina was also nominated for the CMNS Undergraduate Research Excellence Award but could only accept one and chose the Community Research Award.

Korina Gratton and Adrienne Chan
Korina Gratton receiving the UFV Community Research Award from Dr. Adrienne Chan; Ramada Inn, Abbotsford, BC.

Our heartfelt congratulations to all the students!!!


*Student Jim Dean Nelson passed on while in hospital just a short time before ceremony. He was awarded this and his Bachelor’s degree posthumously by the University of the Fraser Valley.

**Translations of Nuxalk language (ilh = us, we, you them)

  • Acwsalctimutilh = leaner or student or learning
  • Yalctimutilh = to be recovering
  • Ksnmakaylaycilh = to be able to work
  • Tl’mstaliwatimutilh = Living life to the fullest extent possible (includes struggle, support, learning /growing/healing, vision/future).
  • Nuxalkmcilh = Nuxalk person

*** To use a get more information about this analysis tool please contact Korina (twitter @korcat55)

$$ for university: Where to find it and how to budget it

Guest blogger: Jasmeet Sandhu

Scholarships, grants, bursaries, and loans are available in all different shapes, prices and size. However, it is vital for students to understand how to seek financial aid. On average, according to Statistics Canada, Canadian citizens studying in Canada are expected to pay CAD $6,000 yearly. On top of that, $600-800 is spent every month on food and other expenses. All together living expenses are between $10,000-$15,000 per year depending on which university students are attending (Collier, 2016).

Without financial aid, it is nearly impossible for students to obtain a university education. In this blog I compare three resources linked from this website: Scholarships Canada, Government of Canada Jobs Training, and Gail’s blog.

Needing assistance is nothing to be ashamed of

As tuition expenses increase, more students are in greater need of financial assistance. Last year, it was recorded that a full time student in the year of 2016 in an undergraduate program on average pays 3.2% more on tuition fees than in the previous year. Also, there was a 3.3% increase in the 2014/2015 year. Nevertheless, the rate of accommodation and other expenses are beginning to slowly increase too. With the increases in expenses it is getting tougher for students to financially support themselves. Students have no choice but to turn to loans, grants, scholarships and budget smarts for support and assistance.

As a student going through the undergraduate school phase is a burden on students. On this website, there are 16 unique centers where students can benefit from. Those are areas with countless links that lead to different websites which are related to the unique center. This is a very essential website for students as it notifies them of information they may have not known existed.

What website will you choose?

The students attending university in the near future can really take advantage of these resources as a great information tool. These resources give out tons of information about grants, loans, scholarships and other budget smarts. The comparison of these resources will help all future students be guided through which resource will work the best.

Comparison Criteria

The criteria I used is based on what information the websites had available for the students, how easy it was to navigate through and find relevant information, if it connected to further links, and whether it seemed trustworthy.

Here is what I think

As you can see from the chart here, Scholarships Canada meets seven out of the eight criteria.While Scholarships Canada does require a login and there is a lot of information to sort through, it offers links to countless scholarships, which allows students to be able to benefit from the financial aid. Wide varieties of scholarships are available for students based on one school or study and others available for any school or study. For some scholarships and bursaries it is so easy to attain, all you have to do is apply.

The second resource I chose was the Canadian government site which offers student grants to help finance post-secondary education. I found this site very reliable as it is a government site, and that it helps not only full-time students but also part-time. However, it does mainly focus on low-income students with dependents, for when they are enrolled in post-secondary institution.

The third resource was a blog focused more on people and on how to save money. This resource was the least effective for students as it focus on the general population being able to save money, and isn’t focusing specifically on the students. However, knowing how to save money is the only way you can spend money. This blog is very valuable to life in general.

My recommendation

After comparing the three resources, Scholarship Canada is the one that is the most effective and useful.  This site as of now has 80, 340 awards available worth $174,909,983 that students can easily obtain. It is a site that is a collection place for any money from any source has a lot of potential to help students obtain loans, grants, scholarships and budget smarts.

Out of the three sources Scholarship Canada has the best resources available for all students. It is very clear and straightforward for what you need to be eligible, and it shows deadlines to when a student needs to apply. It is Canada wide, which benefits students because it shows them post-secondary schools they probably did not know existed. There is a search box which helps narrow the search based on what post-secondary institution a particular student would like to go to.

I encourage students to go this site as there are 15 other categories to peruse which will help you with your post-secondary education.


Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students with Dependants. (2016, July 28). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Collier, S. (2016). How Much Does it Cost to Study in Canada? Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Scholarships Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

University Tuition Fees (2016, September 9). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Vaz-Oxlade, G. (n.d.). Gail Vaz-Oxlade Make Money Make Sense. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Celebrating new faculty: Welcome to CMNS Dr. Rita Atake

The Communications Department is pleased to welcome Dr. Rita Atake to our list of faculty members. Rita comes to the department with both strong academic and administrative experience.

Dr. Atake holds a PhD in Education concentrating in Adult Learning from the University of Calgary (2016), a Master’s in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom (1992), and a Bachelor’s of English with Honors from the University of Lagos (1990). Some of Rita’s areas of research include:

Internationalization and curriculum development
Online/e-learning for non-western students
Socio-academic adjustment for international adult learners
Technology and learning

Additionally, Rita’s applied communication experience includes directing programs, managing operations, developing technology resources and instructing. These positions drew heavily on workplace communication skills such as team facilitation, grant writing, reporting to internal and external organizations, developing relationships with stakeholders, including with Indigenous communities. Most recently she held positions as:

Rita will be using her experience and skills to contribute to the department’s Professional Communication Essential’s Certificate as well as to third and fourth year courses such as Storytelling for Workplace Application; Instructional Skills for the Workplace; Grant and Proposal Writing, and Facilitation Skills for the Workplace. She will also be drawing on academic success instructional experiences to teach two Critical Analysis and Study Methodology (CSM) courses, Integrated Academic Learning Skills and Critical Analysis and Learning.

Please help us welcome Dr. Rita Atake to the department if you happen to see her in a meeting somewhere or walking across campus.


Diversity, Inclusion and Communications at UFV

Protestors at JFK airpot January 30, 2017
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Beverly Yuen Thompson

In the past weeks, post-secondary institutions, academic associations and other have been having discussions about political actions south of the border that threaten the free flow of ideas and block social justice initiatives related to immigrants and refugees whose countries of origin are places where Islam is the majority religion. Many of these organizations, including International Society for Media and Communication Research and the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences have made public statements condemning the executive orders that have resulted in fear and uncertainty for students, faculty, researchers and others who are effected by them.

Here at the University of the Fraser Valley we acclaim three strategic directions, the first of which proclaims that the university will strive to “provide the best undergraduate education in Canada” and promises to provide an environment that:

  • is inclusive, welcoming, and engaging for all;
  • embraces diversity, supports cross-cultural exchange, and promotes the respectful debate of ideas and views;
  • involves students in governance and decision-making; and
  • offers vibrant campus experiences supporting social, intellectual, and personal development.

In the current atmosphere it will be helpful for all of us who work and study here to keep these ideals in mind.

A few days ago the Canadian Communication Association also posted a statement and we re-post it here to remind ourselves of what our academic discipline is about.

Message from the Executive Committee of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) regarding the Executive Order issued by the US President Donald Trump on 27 January 2017

The Canadian Communication Association (CCA) stands in solidarity with those calling for the annulment of US President Donald Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order, limiting entry into the United States for citizens, legal immigrants, travelers, and refugees. The CCA is Canada’s leading scholarly association for academics and other researchers working in media and communication studies, journalism, and cultural studies ( We are deeply troubled by this action and view it as running counter to the respect of human values, fomenting racial and religious intolerance, and damaging lives. CCA recognises that the ban likewise adversely and inequitably affects our peers. Some fellow scholars will not be able to attend conferences because of their citizenship, possibly their social media activities, or simply because they no longer feel safe crossing the border. As a domestic association with international membership we join our colleagues from academic communities across the world in denouncing this order.
We invite our members to sign the online petition of Academics Against Immigration Executive Order at
The Executive Committee of the Canadian Communication Association
Daniel J. Paré, President and Interim Treasurer, University of Ottawa
Mary Francoli, Vice President, Carleton University
Mél Hogan, Secretary, University of Calgary
Sibo Chen, Student Representative, Simon Fraser University
Enda Brophy, Member at Large, Simon Fraser University
Nadège Broustau, Member at Large, Université du Québec à Montréal
Fenwick McKelvey, Member at Large, Concordia University
Jaqueline McLeod Rogers, Member at Large, University of Winnipeg
Christine Quail, Member at Large, McMaster University
Nathan Rambukkana, Member at Large, Wilfrid Laurier University
Gregory Taylor, Member at Large, University of Calgary
Andrea Zeffiro, Member at Large, McMaster University

Teaching exchange at UFV India

One of the University of the Fraser Valley’s most under-advertised achievements is its thriving campus in Chandigarh, India. Now operating for over a decade, UFV delivers its Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Computer Information Systems (BCIS), and, starting in September, Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs, to students from all over India.

UFV India is mostly run by staff and faculty from India, but some key positions are led by faculty and staff from Canada who travel back and forth to oversee the operations of the campus. Canadian faculty also have the opportunity to travel to Chandigarh to teach courses on that campus, too.

Having now been a part of that faculty exchange during the Fall 2016 semester, I believe that teaching at UFV Chandigarh was a professional and academic experience that will positively shape my career forever.

As an avid traveller and as somebody who never had the chance to study abroad as a student (but always wished he’d been able to), going to Chandigarh for a semester was an exciting opportunity. The teaching exchange presents challenges and new experiences professionally and academically, and culturally, as well.

Most appetizing to me, personally, I was looking forward to immersing myself in a culture other than my own and to traveling in a part of the world I’d yet to explore. As faculty at UFV India, I was immediately included in a wide variety of cultural events, from Diwali celebrations and other festivals, to sharing meals with my colleagues and even with the family of one of my students. With my wife joining me on the trip, we were able to visit historic ruins and monuments, sacred temples, bustling urban environments, and unique wilderness areas, all of which enriched our experience in India.

Ambitiously, we added quite a bit of recreational travelling to our itinerary and, in addition to exploring several places in northern India, we also spent a week in southern India, a week in Maldives, and four days in Dubai. Some of our travels were facilitated by our colleagues at UFV India, a group upon whom I can only heap more praise.

Indeed, the greatest joy of being a visiting faculty member was working with this tightly-knit group of dedicated professionals. They really rolled out the red carpet for us on every occasion and made the experience of teaching abroad as positive as possible.

We were included in other professional opportunities while there, as well, such as getting involved in student recruitment by visiting local high schools and collaborating on new projects and efforts to improve the educational offerings at the campus.

Of course, one of the key areas of learning for me, personally, was going to be the actual experience of teaching in an Indian classroom.

The traditional Indian classroom is far, far different from many of today’s North American classrooms. For example, students are not used to working in groups or being challenged to figure out potential answers to questions or problems. Instead, they are more familiar with the old-fashioned British system of rote learning wherein the professor lectures without much engagement from students.

Classroom composition is different in obvious ways (100% of my students were born in India and spoke English as a second), but also in less obvious ways, too. For example, UFV India’s classes run on a cohort model, so every student in the class is in the same part of their academic journey. There are no senior students in the classroom to serve as role models or to lead in terms of behavioural cues. There are no mature students, either; every student is coming straight out of high school and only 2-3% have any job experience (outside of a family business). As such, everything that’s being taught is theoretical, as they have not had a chance to apply the skills being taught in a professional capacity. Equally, they have no experience with professional etiquette or accountability, which must be reinforced by instructors more vociferously.

Unfortunately, understanding of plagiarism and academic honesty are not well taught in most Indian high schools, so more emphasis needs to be placed on why citations are necessary, how to do them, what constitutes plagiarism and academic dishonesty, and how to avoid it in one’s own work.

All of these new-to-me traits of the classroom environment posed challenges, but also opportunities to adapt.

Finding ways to encourage student leadership and risk-taking in the classroom takes more patience and determination. Understanding which group activities will work and when student-led activity is possible takes trial and error and then careful consideration to get right. The need to build a positive rapport with students is paramount, as they must trust your goodwill in adapting to their needs, as you trust their goodwill in adapting to your own teaching style.

Happily, when students do start to embrace group work, student-led learning, peer feedback, and more dynamic learning structures, they do gain a lot from the more engaging learning environment.

UFV is unique in offering a western education in India with both opportunities to transfer to UFV Canada or to finish the degree in Chandigarh. The exceptional quality of education offered is an incredible benefit and opportunity to those students.

That UFV has a campus in Chandigarh offers an extraordinary opportunity for academic, professional, and cultural exchange for both faculty and students in both countries, as students from Canada do sometimes study in India (they are, after all, taking the exact same courses that they would take in Canada) and Indian faculty have, on occasion, come to UFV Canada.

These exchanges are exceptional and will be a highlight in the career of anybody who is able to pursue the opportunity; I recommend it highly.

25 Reasons Why Our Students Tweet

As many people do, I have a love hate relationship with Twitter (and other social media platforms – no lie). I resisted Twitter for the longest of all the major social sites. I thought it was infantile, a waste of time, just one more thing that I didn’t have time for, and a few other groans. I don’t NOT think those things anymore but given that I needed to be well versed in the world of social media as an applied communications instructor, I thought I better get on board and up to speed.

As I began to talk to others about whether or not they used Twitter, I found the same kind of feelings and responses, which puzzled me because obviously somebody (lots of somebodys) were enamored, diligent, and had expertise in using 140 characters to accomplish some kind of goal. I eventually came up with a few reasons of my own to stick with the platform, but I wanted to find out from post-secondary students their reasons for using this particular medium.

Here is what they said in no particular order (with a few of mine thrown in). By the way, the list includes thoughts about use of #hashtags and @handles in messages as well. The examples are theirs 🙂

  • Short updates on daily life for self image
  • Follow particular interests
  • Interact with specific personalities (more likely than other SM to get a response)
  • Be in touch with priority info (road closures, missing people, etc)
  • Learn of updates to other social media, links from specific users/personalities
  • Get news headlines
  • Engage with opinion leaders from your career field (i.e. business)
  • Find out what is going on in a particular location/friends (i.e. free food for students)
  • Follow reactions to big events live
  • Follow events in real time (sports, the Oscars…)
  • Mark/remember items to go back to
  • Create connections between ideas on a certain topic
  • Collect items to see full picture of event/topic
  • Create engagement/personal connection
  • Generate interest in business or topic
  • Bring awareness to situations/events
  • Create trends
  • Know what is trending
  • Post script that explain your purpose for a particular post (image, silly stuff, jokes, games)
  • Make sure specific person sees a particular item
  • To spread the word about an idea, business, event…
  • Create connection among your followers
  • Know what is going on around the globe
  • Connect to other members of an organization involved in
  • Because it has great versatility on a smart phone

Wow – now that is a great brainstorming session. What are your uses?


Dr. Marcella LaFever (University of New Mexico, 2005) is an Associate Professor in the Communications Department at the University of the Fraser Valley. She specializes in intercultural communication and brings that expertise to various subjects such as communication for workplace, instruction, social media, team and public speaking contexts.

“Celebrate our successes”: Samantha Pattridge wins UFV’s first Inspirational Leadership Award

Perhaps the most commonly repeated mantra of the Communications department at UFV is that we need to “celebrate our successes,” but that’s a relatively new refrain. In the past, our department would often reach milestones or make significant accomplishments in relative quiet, representing missed opportunities to show how we were using new and innovative teaching practices or making major contributions to the broader institution. When asked to report about our activities, we made but passing mention of these achievements. Today, the department is putting a greater emphasis on celebrating those achievements and showcasing the work we’re doing. That shift in behaviour is largely the result of the leadership of our department head, Samantha Pattridge, who will be UFV’s first recipient of its Inspirational Leadership Award.

According to UFV’s award criteria, nominees for this award model the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, lead by example and through encouragement and inspiration for the benefit of others, promote respect and fairness, facilitate dialogue and collaboration, energize those working with them, champion the work of others above their own, and demonstrate genuine care and support for the career and personal development of others. The person or group who wrote these criteria set the bar high, making the award all the more important and meaningful for the recipients.

In nominating Samantha, I felt that I was living the creed that she so encourages: celebrating success; Samantha’s leadership is most definitely a success story worth celebrating.

When Samantha became chair of the department, she made a point of reaching out to me, a sessional instructor with little meaningful connection to the department, and she invited me out for coffee. More than just a perfunctory introduction, Samantha looked to understand my teaching interests and where I could positively contribute at UFV. As time went on, she encouraged me to teach more courses, sit on committees, and participate in special teaching projects outside of the department; I’m even going to be teaching at our Chandigarh campus in India in the fall. This kind of inclusion, respect, and encouragement is truly admirable; Samantha’s leadership shows that promoting a positive culture results in positive outcomes.

In a supporting letter of nomination, colleague Linda Pardy wrote “Samantha is an advocate for students and faculty. She is a superlative instructor and takes a leadership role in sharing her expertise. She is always working hard and committed to making her department, the student experience, and UFV better…. She also demonstrates leadership by encouraging faculty to challenge themselves and to continuously learn and try new teaching and learning strategies.”

One of our former Communications department heads, Lynn Kirkland Harvey, was quick to point out examples of how Samantha had encouraged and motivated members of the department by delegating leadership roles, such as chairing the curriculum committee, and encouraging innovative new ideas, such as bringing a major keynote speaker, Terry O’Reilly, to UFV as an unique learning opportunity both for students and the community-at-large.

New to the Communications department, Kim Norman wrote that “In interacting with Samantha, and watching her skillful, sincere, and respectful interactions with others, I have learned she consistently models excellent leadership…. She’s an excellent listener, model collaborator, and impressively savvy when it comes to her departmental and institutional knowledge, the latter a sign of her contagious passion for her work and deep commitment to her workplace. I’ve been impressed, too, with Samantha’s ability to balance her responsibilities as department head and many other institutional commitments with her teaching and scholarship. As a role model for how to lead a balanced, productive, and meaningful professional life, Samantha is impressive and inspiring.”

The purpose of this blog post is simple: to live the mantra “celebrate our successes.” In winning UFV’s Inspirational Leadership Award, we celebrate Samantha’s success as a valued colleague at UFV.

Congratulations, Samantha, on winning this well-deserved award.

Evolution of the news: Do you rely on social media?

news imageGuest blog by Damian van Woerden

Social Media is becoming the new delivery service for news. People no longer want to wait for news, pay for news, or be told what news is important for them. Jeff Sonderman, a professor of digital journalism at Georgetown University, states that journalism on social media today is nearly equal to television news (Sonderman, 2012). He goes on to say that one third of adults under the age of 30 get their news from social media.

The big question now is: How do I get accurate and reliable news?

The answer varies depending on what you, as a news reader, are looking for in the news. Not all social media sites share the same types of news articles. In addition, with different forms of social media come different levels of reliability in news reporting.

News Types on Facebook
Image taken from: Anderson & Caumont, 2014

News on Facebook

Anderson and Caumont (2014) tell us that Facebook tends to have more articles surrounding entertainment and sports. Their research shows that many articles shared on Facebook are lengthy and cover topics that are designed to gain interest and ‘likes’. This style of marketing news information is done by making news bits appear in our news feed as full size articles (Anderson & Caumont, 2014). News articles are usually quite large and require the reader to scroll down a page. As a result, not very many Facebook users follow breaking news or developing news events. Facebook has developed instant articles to increase viewer ship and, as a result, increase revenue from advertising. The two big benefits of Facebook, however, are being able to comment on news pieces and reading the articles that are shared by people on your friends list. After all, information shared by our friends most likely will interest us as well.

Facebook and Twitter News Use Statistics Graph
Image from: Barthel, Shearer, Gottfried, & Mitchell, 2015

News via Twitter

People who read the news on Twitter view different content than those who follow news on Facebook (Barthel, Shearer, Gottfried, & Mitchell, 2015). Since twitter only allows 140 characters per post, news information is brief, to the point, and gets updated frequently. As a result, news followers on Twitter are more likely to follow breaking news and developing news events. This ability to get quick updates quickly allow followers to get highlights on complicated news stories, such as politics and/or international news (Barthel, Shearer, Gottfried, & Mitchell, 2015). Twitter developed a new app for cellphones called Twitter Moments. This app displays all the biggest and most important news information easily for anyone to use. While news may not be marketed to gain specific followers, journalists use Twitter as a way to connect fast with an audience and keep them up to date with important news.

Gleaning accurate news

As a news reader, I want to make sure I am reading the most reliable and most accurate information on an event. The most common suggestions to find accurate news are the following:
• Follow a journalist on social media
• “Like” and Follow a reputable news organization
• Read multiple news articles on the same event
• Do not repost information that may be faulty

By following these suggestions, you can be sure to glean the best and most accurate news from social media.

With social media taking over the production and distribution of news, the quality of information being presented will begin to decrease. For the regular news reader, the real questions relating to gleaning accurate news are now:

What role will social media play in news reporting in the next 5 years?
Will newspapers, or even TV, still be relevant?
Will they disappear or just adapt like radio did after the TV was developed?
How will this effect the quality of my news information?


Anderson, M., & Caumont, A. (2014, 24 September). How social media is reshaping news. Retrieved from

Barthel, M., Shearer, E., Gottfried, J., & Mitchell, A. (2015, July 14). The Evolving Role of News on Twitter and Facebook. Retrieved from

Facebook brings “instant articles” to News Feed. (2013, May 12). The Verge YouTube Channel. Retrieved from

News [image]. Retrieved from

Sonderman, J. (2012, September 27). One-third of adults under 30 get news on social networks now. Retrieved from

Twitter Moments wants to make following the news easy. (2015, October 2015). The Verge YouTube Channel. Retrieved from

About the author:

Damian van Woerden @CanadianDamian is a student at the University of the Fraser Valley studying Media and Communications as well as Criminology and Criminal Justice. He enjoys studying the effects of television and the role of news media in society. His goal is to graduate by January 2017 with a Bachelors of Arts degree and to find a full-time job in law enforcement.

#InstaAds: The Growing Form of Sponsored Advertisements

Guest post by Remington Fioraso

Advertisements are seen everywhere within the context of our daily lives. Whether it be on clothing, buses, billboards, television, print media, radio, or online media, it seems that we are unable to escape being marketed to. When looking into the realm of social media, advertising is very prominent. When previewing feeds on Twitter and Facebook, the user is bombarded with constant advertising. The social media platform Instagram is no different. The social media application focuses on visual content in the form of photos and videos leading to it being a potential marketing tool for organizations. What led to the emergence of Instagram as a means of promotion for organizations? Is it worth it for organizations to implement Instagram in their marketing strategies? Continue reading “InstaAds: The Growing Form of Sponsored Advertisements” to find out answers to both of these!

Image of instagram landing page

Instagram was launched in October 2010. In December of the same year, the platform reached a million users. Instagram has seen growth in usage every year.  In February 2016, it reached a total  of 400 million users. In 2016, it is estimated that the platform will see 15.1% growth (eMarketer, 2016). The popularity of the social network can also be illustrated through its content. There has been a total of 40 billion photos posted on the social network since its inception. This equates to 80 million photos that are being posted on a daily basis (Instagram, 2016).

Organizations are taking note of the growth seen by the social networking application. On November 1, 2013, Instagram implemented their program called Instagram Ads (Sorokina, 2014). It allows organizations to pay for prominent advertising known as sponsored content (Sternberg, 2013). Through Instagram Ads, the company will see 9.5% of Facebook’s total profits relating to mobile ads (eMarketer, 2016). This leads to the conclusion that it can be beneficial to incorporate in organization’s marketing strategies as they can target their respective audiences through another social media platform instead of solely on Twitter and Facebook. Who are these organizations? Was using Instagram an effective means of advertising for them?

polar ice vodka ad imageWhen looking at my own Instagram feed, an InstaAd for Polar Ice Vodka appeared. As seen to the left, the ad features the product prominently. The intention of using the Instagram Ad  program was to increase the reach and engagement of the brand. Was it actually effective? When previewing the post, it was notable that there were only 9 likes and 1 comment. This  demonstrates an example of an ineffective advertisement. Without the post being marked as sponsored and the inclusion of “Please enjoy our products responsibly,” it could have been posted on  any Instagram account. As it could have been a post that could be on any individual’s feed, it is not visually eye catching. Furthermore, the post did not incorporate a means to engage with the  content. It solely relies on the hashtags #PolarIceVodka, #winter, #ReadingWeek, #SpringBreak, and #staycation without providing a question to encourage users to interact further with the  content.

screenshot of canadian tire instagram sponsored ad

Canadian Tire is also a company that has utilized Instagram Ads in their marketing strategies. The most prominent usage of Instagram Ads was for their #ShovelItForward campaign (Quan, 2015).  The campaign’s purpose was to increase acts of kindness by Canadians through individuals documenting their experiences of shovelling driveways using the hashtag #ShoveItForward (Canadian Tire, 2015). When deeming if the post was effective or not, looking at the number of individuals who engaged with the post is important. This particular post received 281 likes and 96 comments. It was not simply promoting a brand, it was promoting a lifestyle action. It engaged users by encouraging them to do something within the community that is a relatively easy task. Furthermore, the post evoked emotions in consumers by showcasing the ‘everyday Canadian.’ The #ShovelItForward campaign advertisements can be determined to be both effective in increasing engagement and reach. As indicated by Canadian Tire, the ad campaign implemented through Instagram Ads assisted in increasing ad recall, awareness, and brand favourability (Instagram, 2015).

By looking at the advertisement by Polar Ice Vodka, Instagram Ads are not guaranteed to be successful. Yet the advertisement by Canadian Tire was deemed to be effective. It is very much dependent on the individual organization if it is worth it to implement Instagram in their marketing strategies. What may work for one company may not necessarily work for another. For tips on how to effectively incorporate ‘InstaAds’ to your brand, Social Media Examiner provides many tips on advertising on the social networking platform here.


Canadian Tire: Shovel It Forward. (c. 2015). Retrieved from

Instagram. (c. 2016). Retrieved from

Instagram Continues Double-Digit Growth – eMarker. (n.d) Retrieved from

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Remington Fioraso is completing the final year of her Bachelor of Arts program in Sociology, Anthropology, and Media and Communication Studies. After graduation, her objective is to venture into the world of social media marketing and research. Connect with her via Twitter @RemingtonFD and her website