Perhaps you've heard the term "attention economy." It refers to a business model in which the primary purpose of marketing content, such as social media news feeds, is to expand the number of hours users spend engaged with a specific product or service as noise increases within a platform.
Most of today's most popular social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, operate according to this archetype because they directly translate the time users spend with their product into revenue. Most of this revenue goes directly into the pockets of the aforementioned social media giants. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the profit from these platforms ends up in the pockets of those who deserve it the most – the creators of the content.
This has worked out well for Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and Google, which owns YouTube. The two major tech companies recently posted $12.78 billion and $22.4 billion, respectively, for their ad revenue in the fourth-quarter of 2017. Twitter just achieved GAAP profitability for the very first time. Snap Inc., though still struggling to bring its revenue up to par with its expenses, still generated $286 million this past quarter.
The biggest losers in all of this are the users. Instead of these platforms being user-centric, the users and their content have become the products. These social media giants are ad-centric and care only about the amount they could charge advertisers for their next feature. In fact, they are making it even more difficult for content creators and micro-influencers to monetize than it already was before. Last month, for example, YouTube raised their Partners Program monetization requirements from 10,000 lifetime views to 4,000 hours (240,000 minutes) of watch time within the past 12 months, and a minimum of 1,000 subscribers. Small YouTubers and content providers are feeling the squeeze of demonetization....