Advertising has been the solution to the quandary of numerous websites that have attracted people to them without charge. How could they make money? What would be their business model? For many of them, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are good examples, advertising was determined to be the logical source of funds.
Initially, the advertising was limited to placing ads on the sites by anyone who would pay for them. This worked well for a while, but then advertising became more specific and sophisticated. The emergence of big data meant that companies were less willing to pay big bucks for general advertising. They wanted their ads to be directed to where they would be most likely to yield results. That meant they were looking for data on their customer's and potential customer's habits and locations at any particular point in time.
The purveyors of the ads were forced to make better use of the data they could gather on their own users, so that ads could be directed to them and their specific interests.
This worked Ok for a while, and the growing use of mobile units helped in pinning down locations data. But the growth of mobile units also had a downside. Their users were not as likely to notice ads, and the returns on mobile ads were not as good as the advertisers wanted.
So the Facebooks of the world had to look to ways to expand the scope of their data. This meant drawing data from various sites they controlled and sharing the data across the board, which raises privacy and ethical concerns, But those concerns can be addressed, as Google, a leader in multiplatform advertising, has proven.
The result has been that social media, as well as other sites that use advertising as their basic business model, have had to expand by buying or developing new activities that attract users from a wider range of the populace. so we have Facebook sharing data across Messenger and Instagram and Google sharing data across Youtube and its other apps. Same with Twitter. Essentially, they are drawing data from as wide a base as possible and then using it for ads on their websites with the highest volume of users..
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