Algorithmic agencying in the online consumption experience

Carvalho, Fernanda
Bachelor in Public Relations, the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo; currently studies her master at the postgraduate program in communication sciences of University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), Member of the Research Group of the Epistemology of Communication - Epistecom, сoordinated by Jairo Ferreira, CNPq Researcher and Postgraduate Professor at Federal University of Santa Maria, Postgraduate Degree (lato sensu) in Communication and Marketing Management from the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo, Sao Paulo - Sao Leopoldo - Santa Maria, Brazil


The research addresses the journey of the online consumer, seeking to understand which interruptions and interventions are found during his shopping experience and what role algorithms play in this journey. It investigates both the organic results (those that appear without a financial investment by the store or brand) and paid results (those in which there was investment in online advertising) mainly in the Google search and indexing engine. It is based on the lineage of mediatization research and social processes. The study starts with what is already in consensus: the algorithm presents the results in an orderly manner, according to the platform's criteria. Facebook and Instagram ads will also be investigated and used as examples, which despite working differently from Google, can be useful for making analogies and comparisons that will facilitate the general understanding of the dynamics of online ads. In addition, by contemplating more platforms, it will also be possible to understand if they work together in an effort to connect with the online consumer, collecting and sharing data about users and their preferences, for example. The research aims to understand how consumption is brokered by media processes in the context of media networks that, through algorithmic mediation, index them and suggest means of interaction with consumers. It also aims to update the reflections on the ever changing consumer society as part of the media processes, by investigating consumption, uses, practices and reception of the media. The experience after the ad click is also investigated, considering which interruptions and intrusions still occur on the sites where the products are exposed and to which the ads and search results have directed the audience. The objective is to demonstrate that navigation on such sites also undergoes interventions and new algorithmic redirects, based on user interactions with these platforms. Regarding methodology, the study follows Ferreira's (2022) three-axis approach, in which three layers are used to analyze mediatization and the object: microanalysis, mesoanalysis and macroanalysis. In this perspective, the empiricals are inseparable from the inferences obtained during the analysis stages, they walk together with epistemological reflections and a bibliographic framework. At the microanalysis level, interactions, semiosis and circulation are studied – looking at the observable phenomenon. We applied stratification, topologization and metrification on the interfaces, to obtain inferences and obtain a multi-angle analysis. Verón's (1989) topographical methodology is used, including interviews with users. At the mesoanalysis level, encounters and conflicts between media formats, themes and agendas are understood to bring reflections on the positioning of media processes, on the functioning of the media where the ads are inserted.
In this case, on digital platforms, brokered by consumption targeting algorithms, in various applications.
Finally, at the macro analysis level, we visit the epistemologies, examine the environment and mediatization as a social construction of reality, considering, in particular, the new forms of consumption in relation to culture in the sphere of relations with art and science.

Keywords: consumption, online advertising, algorithmic agency