Survey Says: Americans Unsure How Facebook and Google Earn Revenue

Social media platforms and search engine sites bring in millions upon millions of dollars a year. How do they make such enormous stacks of cash each year? That’s a good question, which apparently half of Americans don’t know the answer to.

Social media platforms and search engine sites bring in millions upon millions of dollars a year. How do they make such enormous stacks of cash each year? That’s a good question, which apparently half of Americans don’t know the answer to.

Revenue Survey Facebook Google

According to a study from Harris Interactive on behalf of The Search Agency, a large portion of Americans have little to no understanding of how Facebook, the largest social media platform in the world, and Google, the largest search engine site in the world, earn their revenue. The study was conducted in August 2012 and comprised a sample of just over 2,000 adults. Survey participants were asked to agree or disagree with a series of questions regarding their understanding of Facebook and Google.

Regarding Facebook, individuals were asked whether they agreed with the statement: “I understand how Facebook makes money.”

Here are the results:

  • 18% Strongly Agreed
  • 36% Somewhat Agreed*
  • 46% Do Not Understand*

* Basically, 82% of participants have little to no understanding of how Facebook earns their revenue.

When asked about their understanding of search engine revenue, individuals answered a little differently. 78% understood that search engine sites make their money through advertising “that runs with search results”. The search engine portion entailed companion answers, allowing participants to “select all that apply”. Those results:

  • 36% believe that search engine sites ‘sell users’ personal data to marketers”.
  • 29% thought that “companies pay annual dues for use”**
  • 20% believe some users pay search engines sites for “premium features”

**Answer is slightly ambiguous as survey does not define what is meant other than the perception of fees and maybe “pay to play” rankings.

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