How Google Tracks You – And What You Can Do About It
Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?
It’s because you are – and for a rough proxy of this, use the browser extension Ghostery to see how many tracking scripts are watching you on a typical media site. (It doesn’t work for everything, but a large media site like Vice.com has 50+ trackers, with 40 of them focused on advertising).
Capturing this user data helps sites sell their inventory to advertisers, but a select few companies operate in this capacity at a whole different level. Google and Facebook are the best of examples of this, as nearly $0.60 of every dollar spent on digital advertising goes to them. They both have the sophistication and ubiquity to capture incredible amounts of information about you.
Google is Everywhere
Today’s infographic, which comes to us from Mylio, focuses in on Google in particular.
The search giant is massive in size, and there is a good chance you tap into Googleverse in some way:
- Global market penetration for Android is 61-81%.
- Google has a 78.8% market share for online search.
- The company generates $67.4 billion in annual ad revenue.
- Google processes two trillion searches annually.
- 30-50 million websites use Google Analytics to for tracking.
- There are 700,000 apps available in the Google Play store.
- 82% of videos watched online come from YouTube.
- In total, Google has at least 79 products and services.
According to Google’s documentation, it uses these services to pull out information on the “things you do”, “things you create”, and the things that make you unique.
See What Google Collects
All in all, Google tracks your activity history, location history, audio history, and device history. It also builds a profile for you for serving ads – age, gender, location, income, and other demographic data.
You can view and actually download this history by using a tool called Google Takeout.
Many people understand that their data helps support advertising revenues on websites they enjoy. Others are rightly concerned about their privacy, and how their information is used. Regardless of which category you fit in, becoming informed about how privacy on the internet works will help you craft an experience that best fits your preferences.
Charting Revenue: How The New York Times Makes Money
This graphic tracks the New York Times’ revenue streams over the past two decades, identifying its transition from advertising to subscription-reliant.
When it comes to quality and accessible content, whether it be entertainment or news, consumers are often willing to pay for it.
Similar to the the precedent set by the music industry, many news outlets have also been figuring out how to transition into a paid digital monetization model. Over the past decade or so, The New York Times (NY Times)—one of the world’s most iconic and widely read news organizations—has been transforming its revenue model to fit this trend.
This chart from creator Trendline uses annual reports from the The New York Times Company to visualize how this seemingly simple transition helped the organization adapt to the digital era.
The New York Times’ Revenue Transition
The NY Times has always been one of the world’s most-widely circulated papers. Before the launch of its digital subscription model, it earned half its revenue from print and online advertisements.
The rest of its income came in through circulation and other avenues including licensing, referrals, commercial printing, events, and so on. But after annual revenues dropped by more than $500 million from 2006 to 2010, something had to change.
|NY Revenue By Year||Print Circulation||Digital Subscription||Advertising||Other||Total|
In 2011, the NY Times launched its new digital subscription model and put some of its online articles behind a paywall. It bet that consumers would be willing to pay for quality content.
And while it faced a rocky start, with revenue through print circulation and advertising slowly dwindling and some consumers frustrated that once-available content was now paywalled, its income through digital subscriptions began to climb.
After digital subscription revenues first launched in 2011, they totaled to $47 million of revenue in their first year. By 2022 they had climbed to $979 million and accounted for 42% of total revenue.
Why Are Readers Paying for News?
More than half of U.S. adults subscribe to the news in some format. That (perhaps surprisingly) includes around four out of 10 adults under the age of 35.
One of the main reasons cited for this was the consistency of publications in covering a variety of news topics.
And given the NY Times’ popularity, it’s no surprise that it recently ranked as the most popular news subscription.
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