Your attention is the most valuable resource in the world.
It determines your destiny, your accomplishments, even the life you live. And companies spend billions and billions of dollars every day to capture it.
That’s right. Your attention is bought and sold every single day by people you’ve never met.
It is bought by large, multinational conglomerates. It is bought by the local neighborhood pizza joint down the street. And every sized business in-between.
Your attention is the most valuable resource in the world to both you and anybody, anywhere, trying to sell you anything.
Advertising is, essentially, the buying of your attention.
Marketers will pay buckets of cash for ad space on websites, airwaves, billboards, pages, bus stops, stadium scoreboards… almost anywhere your eyes will be focused, marketers will seek to place an ad or a logo.
Why? Simple, they want your attention, even if for a brief second.
Their pursuit of our attention is to be expected I suppose. If someone has something to sell us, and a dollar to be made from it, they will work hard to get that product in front of us.
Not only will they send emails and junk mail, put up billboards and place radio ads, they’ll even inject their products in the shows we watch and the video games we play. Literally buying ads anywhere and everywhere they can.
If they can collect our attention, they can sell us something.
But for every buyer, there must be a seller. And there must be a product to be purchased.
The buyer is the marketer.
The product is you.
And the seller? The seller is often times the person or entity you trust the most—selling your attention to the higher bidder.
Scrolling Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Tik-tok? That sponsored post that just showed up in your feed? That’s your favorite social media site selling access to you for a dollar—and not just access, but your personal data as well.
Just run a Google search and the first four items on the Results page say “Ad”? That’s not Google returning the four best, most reliable answers to your question. That’s Google selling you, your attention, and your intention, to whoever sent them the most money to show up on your screen.
That website you like to visit that is filled with ads and pop-up videos that automatically play every time you click on it? You’re the one being marketed.
That free app you love to play on your phone with the ads across the top or in-between levels? Yup, they’re selling you.
Of course, this extends beyond the digital world. In fact, the digital world is pretty new to the game.
That radio talk show you love so much? They are selling your attention every time they cut to a commercial break or product announcement.
That sports league you love so much? They sold you, 30-seconds at a time, to the highest bidder too (probably a beer or fast food company).
That celebrity posting pictures of her favorite make-up or blender? Selling you.
That newspaper you love… that magazine you like… that harmless television show with singers in masks… even that government run mass transit system you ride each day. All of them, they sold your attention for a profit.
Every time you see an ad, just remember, you are the commodity being bought and sold. There is a buyer… there is a seller… and there is a product changing hands—you.
The most valuable resource you own, your attention, being sold for pennies.