Social medias do not get money by selling advertisement, one of the big revenue they get is from selling data.
Let’s get back in the early 2000s. Thanks to the development of the first chatrooms and the spread of television into nearly 80% of teenagers room, the fashion trends has accelerate, and this has complicated the work of designers and marketers. Their products lifecycle was getting shorter and shorter and they needed to always know what is the actual fashion.
That is why some companies decided to buy information directly beside the teenagers. Groups of 5 to 15 teenagers were gathered together in a room were they were interrogated by a marketers towards which artists they follow, which brand is fashionable or not and so on. Kids were paid up to 100$ a day !
But today this is not happening anymore, and it is easily understandable, nowadays companies just have to contact Facebook, Twitter or Google and buy a bundle of customers data for nearly nothing and they have their answers. Some information are even free : You want to know if an artist is trendy ?Just go check his amount of followers and you’ll have the answer !
There is three types of data that can be sold by social medias :
The volunteered data, it is basically what was created on internet by the individuals on purpose, for instance a tweet, a like, a share.
The observed data, recorded data without you having purpose in it, for instance location.
The inferred data, which is a combination of the two others already treated and which is ready to use for brands and companies.
The fact that social media is making money with our data can be difficult to accept. Some people react saying that it is the price to pay for using a free tool, others react saying it’s not fair and decide to not use social media at all. But other people said « If social can make money with my data, why could not I make money too ? ». That is how a dutch student decided to sell his own data to a company for about 250$. He is proud of his because social media usually get 0.5$ per persons when selling informations, but the price to pay is bigger because the company had access to all oh his personal informations, even the private ones. But this king of cases are really rare because companies are not interested in one example of individual consumer but in an average, it means that they are more interested in buying 1000 no complete profiles instead of 5 complete ones.