That’s what social platforms earn with your data

Have you always wanted to know what your data is actually worth? If so, this article will enlighten you. Because a calculation experiment by heyData shows how much Google. Earn Meta, TikTok and Co. with your data – per minute, day, month and year. And we have summarized the results for you here.

Many people don’t really think twice about sharing their personal data such as email address, location, date of birth and the like with social media platforms – and web providers in general. Despite various data protection scandals of the largest tech companies. Because for many, they are now the most important means of communication, entertainment medium, dating portal. virtual meeting point and the most relevant news source. But how precious is our most personal good for the biggest tech companies? The software company addressed this question heyData. We have broken down the results in this article.

This is how the social companies only win with your data

The regular offerings of the most popular social and entertainment networks are currently free, even if paid features such as Paid Live Events on TikTok or Elon Musk’s Twitter Blue plan including the blue tick for $7.99 per month are already on it indicate that social networks may no longer be free of charge in the near future; at least not in full. But at the current point of view, the billions in sales come less from subscriptions and more from advertising campaigns and ads that companies book due to the tailor-made, data-based playout and from the commercial exploitation of their users’ data. Some social networks even sell records directly to third parties. The platforms can be granted the right to do so in the terms of use.

This is how high the sales of the largest social companies are

The regular offerings of the best-known social networks are free for users, and yet the largest tech companies make billions in annual sales. Here’s how Meta ended its 2021 fiscal year with $118 billion in revenue. During the same period, TikTok generated more than $58 billion in revenue and Twitter generated approximately $5 billion in revenue. This year, due to the economically unstable times, things were less successful for Meta, Google and Twitter in the second quarter, but still impressive.

The billions in sales make it clear how valuable your personal data is, despite this year’s comparatively weaker sales for companies. Many users are aware that they are part of a modern barter: comprehensive tracking against the (so far) free use of social networks. But this understanding keeps only a few from signing the pact.

So many people use social platforms

The number of internet users worldwide is estimated at 4.9 billion.

Global Overwiew Report: Number of Internet Users and Active Social Media Users 2022, © Digital 2022

Social networks are used by almost 94 percent of users: to be precise, according to the extrapolation, the total number of active social media users is said to be 4.6 billion worldwide. As Statista’s “Global Consumer Survey” has shown, social networks are also among the most frequently used web-based applications in Germany after messengers. Around two-thirds of the Germans surveyed say they do used daily. Alone Instagram 29.9 million people actively use it in Germany.

Is the actual price of sharing data as it is being used too high, not just in terms of the huge profits tech companies are making from it? This question is repeatedly discussed in the media; but in fact only a few can imagine doing without TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp or Google altogether.

Your data is worth that much

The most valuable resource in the world? Possibly data. Because the biggest tech companies make a lot from your information – from every minute you spend on the respective platform. heyData provides information on how much money they actually make with data based on a study carried out by data analysts. As part of this, the so-called average revenue per user (ARPU) was read out. Using ARPU and other data, such as average screen time, heyData shows how much social media and networks earn from data. And these are the results:

Your social data is worth that much, © heyData (click on the image to get a larger view)
  • After a year of tracking and with average screen time, the Meta platforms market the personal data obtained from a user for around 200 euros.
  • With every minute that users spend on Facebook or Instagram, the platforms earn around two cents.
  • Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat require users to be on the platform for at least two minutes to earn a dime. YouTube even takes five minutes of screen time to convert one dime.
  • Users who spend more than 33 minutes a day on Facebook or more than 29 minutes a day on Instagram generate higher sales for Meta. For this reason, social networks try to keep their users on the platform for as long as possible. Meta earns about two cents per minute of screen time.
  • While Facebook and Instagram generate around 200 euros per user per year, TikTok currently only generates just under 66 euros, Twitter around 54 euros and YouTube just under 29 euros per year and user.

Not for nothing: our data is really costing us

The use of digital media brings with it a specific problem: concerns about data misuse. And unfortunately, privacy scandals are not uncommon among tech companies big and small. The entertainment platform TikTok, which is particularly popular with Gen Z, is currently being viewed particularly critically due to its relationship with China. And Meta recently discovered over 400 apps stealing Instagram and Facebook login credentials. Over a million users were affected and were informed accordingly by Meta. In March of this year, the company, headed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was fined $17 million for data breaches. Google had to pay a whopping 150 million euros to the French data protection authority earlier this year and was also hit with one of the largest fines the EU has ever imposed for antitrust violations in the digital space.

This shows that the topic is not only sensitive in the context of data protection, but also in relation to the power of individual large tech companies, which they possess primarily because of their immensely large data collection. It has been known for some time that the EU is planning to regulate tech companies for 2023 in this context. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to make the digital industry fairer and more competitive. In this article, you can find out when the rules could be enforced and what platforms will do if they don’t comply.

heyData sources

The sources about the average daily usage time on the platforms in minutes come from Insidier Intelligence (Data from 2017-2022) and the Global Overview Report von Digital 2022. For the ARPU, heyData uses the insights from Facebook’s quarterly report from the second quarter of 2022. Instagram’s results are based on calculations by heyData, which in turn are based on sources from insider intelligence and Datareportals “Instagram Statistics and Trends”. Insider Intelligence insights were also used for TikTok and Twitter. YouTube’s revenue per user was calculated using information from seekingalpha, Alphabet’s Q2 2022 Quarterly Report, and also using information from Insider Intelligence and Datareportal. After all, the insights about Snapchat come from the Quarterly Report Snap Inc from the fourth quarter of 2021.

Which topics have moved the marketing industry in 2022? You can find out from our Digital Bash – Winter Edition on December 6, 2022. Don’t miss the insights and tips from our experts and gift yourself with knowledge that can ensure ringing tills, reach, better customer relationships and more efficient management for years to come.

Digital Bash – Winter Edition, © Digital Bash

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