Did you know that, by the year 2020, global investment in social media advertising will reach $86 billion (nearly €75billion)?

It’s hard to imagine, because so much of that advertising is so subtle, so cleverly camouflaged, that we barely notice its presence. But the ads are there, and it’s not hard to see why.

Most of us live a large part of our lives online these days. It’s not just about having a Facebook account any more: we follow people on YouTube, Snapchat or Instagram, watch entire seasons of TV shows in one go on Netflix, book our hair appointments (especially if you are female), do our grocery shopping, buy cinema tickets.

We pin pictures of the cars we want to Pinterest and browse property apps on the bus to work. It has never been easier for companies to find out exactly what potential customers want – and to sell it to them.

So, if the internet is helping the big players to get so much out of us, how can we get in the game?

Here are John Lowe The Money Doctor’s top five tips to making money online.

1.  Take online surveys
This is literally one of the quickest, albeit not the most lucrative, ways of making money online. Plenty of sites offer payments of a couple of euro to people willing to undertake online surveys.

While it might not sound like much, doing a few surveys at €3 each an hour could end up making you the equivalent of minimum wage – and you wouldn’t even have to change out of your pyjamas!

Check out IrishOpinions.com, ie.MySurvey.com and OpinionWorld.ie to see if you’re what they’re looking for.

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Plenty of sites offer payments of a couple of euro to people willing to undertake online surveys.

2.  Review apps and websites
This one is a no-brainer for people who find themselves spending hours browsing the internet, with no idea where the last few hours of their evening went.

You can actually get paid to visit websites and apps, browse them according to some directions, and then record what you thought of the experience.

Sites like UserTesting.com pay you $10 for every 20-minute video you complete – do three an hour and you could earn the equivalent of 2.75 times the hourly minimum wage.

3.  Get creative
A standard bit of Money Doctor advice – but this time, I really mean creative! Many of us say we have a book in us, but the thought of sitting down and writing one, submitting to countless publishers, trying to source an agent and doing all the other work is prohibitive to many. But if you do find yourself typing the hours away and ending up with something to show for it, there is a way to capitalise on your musings.

Anyone can publish an ebook through the Amazon Kindle store and it will be available worldwide in just 24-48 hours. And the best part? You can choose to earn either 35% or 70% of the royalties, depending on the package you choose – rates you’d be hard pressed to find with any traditional publisher, no matter how good the deal!

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Anyone can publish an ebook through the Amazon Kindle store and it will be available worldwide

4.  Go freelance
Don’t worry – I’m not advising you quit the day job just yet! But there are ways you can rack up an extra few hours doing low-pressure administrative projects through sites like Clickworker.com. If you find things like correcting spelling errors, categorising data and simple writing tasks easy enough, this just might be the choice for you.

5.  Merchandise your online presence
"Influencer" is a word that’s bandied about an awful lot these days and there are a lot of people to whom it makes no sense. How does one become an "influencer"? And how much influence can anyone really have through something like a social media platform – especially if they aren’t even famous?

Well, that’s where things get interesting. While big names certainly have a lot of earning power, so-called micro-influencers – i.e., social accounts typically focused on defined themes or interests, with decent numbers of followers and often set up by regular people – are where the action is. 

Blogging is a hugely popular pastime in Ireland, with many bloggers building respectable online followings in everything from healthy eating to beauty, sport, interior design, parenting and more. The best thing about such an interest is that social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter allow you to take control of your own advertising for the content you create, pushing out your message the way you want it to be communicated.

In terms of a blog, selling advertising space on the site is an obvious step; but there are options for the social channels where you share your blog posts (and other posts), too. Build up enough of a following, nurture engaged relationships with your followers and it’s not such a big leap to end up working with brands who want to be affiliated with a trusted figure. 

This option may be a bit more of a slow burner, but for those already spending their lives glued to their phones, it just might be the natural next step...

For more information click on John Lowe's profile above or on his website.