Attention Grab

Meta’s earnings report resulted in a 20% drop in its stock price. I recently noticed, not being a very active Facebook user, that when I look at my feed I get an ad in the first post, then in the 4th post, then every 3 posts after that. I am also getting a number of red badges on the watch tab trying to get me to get engaged. That has an ad every two results in my feed. At a high level, it seems like Facebook is saying, “Don’t like seeing what you’re friends and family are posting? Here are the most interesting things on Facebook.”

I imagine the more time I spend in the apps, by interactions or attention, a better understanding of what engages me forms. I also imagine that increases their ability at targeting ads towards me. Right now that’s pretty poor. For months I’ve only seen Remarkable2 ads (which I clicked on one back in Sept and never purchased) and online education courses (which I have not purchased for years). I feel so misunderstood.

This imagination leads me to consider that the more time I spend on Facebook will lead to more ads, the ads should be better positioned, and my expected click rate increases. This draws a direct line between time/attention/engagement and Meta’s bottom line.

The ATA changes have affected the ability to target ads, competition from TikTok and others has captured attention and production, and the company has divided attention between launching/growing copies of competitive products and developing the next paradigm of human/computer interfaces. This is happening while in a competition for talent with Apple and Google, both beating expectations with stock price increases.

It seems to me that there is a potential for a downward spiral. I am very interested in what happens next.