How Facebook makes money from selling your attention

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Pretty simply, advertisements like this one are constantly paying Facebook for our attention - like this company paid for mine today. Behind the curtains, companies are placing competing bids to make it on to our news feeds.

Pretty simply, advertisements like this one are constantly paying Facebook for our attention – like this company paid for mine today. Behind the curtains, companies are placing competing bids to make it on to our news feeds.

So what is the reason we came to the platform in the first place? Should we be competing with companies to get the attention of our friends and family, or to see things that are relevant to us?

I’m not sure we’re comfortable with answering these questions yet as a society, or its just not at the top of our list.

What I do know is that:
You may not follow a company, but they will follow you. (plays sinister music in background)

1. I visited this company’s website
2. This company had a Facebook tracking cookie (pixel) embedded in their site (like every company you see on your feed likely does as well)
3. They paid Facebook enough money to get access to my news feed

So, how much is our attention actually worth? Turns out, about 20 cents per click if the company can target you well enough.

aka – this company is betting money that they know you so well that you will click on their ad, or else Facebook keeps it all.

But, how much is your attention really worth, to you?

What is relevant information from our friends, family, or news source actually worth to us? Would we as citizens actually impose a tax on ourselves to get the attention of each other back? Would we pay to filter all of the digital noise we always complain about?

We will pay for Spotify premium or Hulu Plus so we don’t have to see their ads, but we don’t expect more from our social media platforms that we likely spend even more time on.

So, the options are… either we decide to pay for our own filter or feed, or Facebook and Google pay us a share of what they make by selling our attention off to whoever pays them the most for it.

It won’t hurt them to start with the latter…

[Insert image of Facebook and Google annual ad revenue here]

 

Either way, thanks for keeping me connected with my community facebook! 😐

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