Why Paying Attention Is Getting More Expensive: Page 2

Posted September 23, 2010

Mike Elgan

Mike Elgan

(Page 2 of 2)

The math doesn't add up.

Assuming the monetary value of your attention is equal to your professional rate of pay, marketers are getting your attention for much less than your employers are.

Let me explain by way of a little thought experiment.

According to Salary.com, the median salary for American IT managers is $89,900, which is an hourly rate of $43.22 per hour or 72 cents a minute. If you're an IT manager right in the middle of the national pay spectrum, you can reasonably assume your attention is worth 72 cents per minute.

So if you have to sit through a 15-second ad to watch a video, the video site has gotten you to pay them something worth 18 cents.

OK, stay with me here. Assume you watch an average of one video per day on a site that monetizes with those 15-second ads. That means you'll pay $65.70 per year (in attention) for those "free" ad-supported videos.

You'd probably never pay, say, a whopping $50 per year to watch ad-free videos. But if you did, you'd come out $15.70 ahead. Theoretically. Yet you probably wouldn't pay $20 or even $10 per year for ad-free videos.

I realize that this whole exercise is open to challenge. Of course, if you watch those videos at work, you're still being paid by the company so the video is “free,” etc.

And watching a video ad even with time off doesn't decrease your salary, so you're offering up your unpaid free time, etc.

The point is that your attention is worth something. Yet we act like it's worth nothing. We act like free services are free, rather than paid for with our incredibly valuable attention.

I would argue that your attention is worth more to you even than your company pays you for it.

With the industry growing ever more sophisticated about forcing us to pay attention to advertising, it's time for us to reevaluate the value of our time and attention.

For starters, we might want to become more agreeable to services we can pay money for in exchange for an environment free of advertising.

Your attention is worth something, dammit! The advertising industry knows it. And so should you.

Don't let them just take it from you.

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Tags: IT managers, marketing, online advertising, Online Marketing, advertising tools

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