Right now, consumer tech companies rely on advertising as their primary revenue source. It is a commonly known and practiced activity the vast majority of tech companies follow but I believe this deep reliance will come to a halt in the future.
For starters, many types of advertising are counter to the utility of the application. I am using the apps I use because they are enhancing an already inherent ability, mostly helping me communicate in faster, simpler, and more fun ways. Advertisements do not help me better communicate with the people and/or businesses I care about.
Current tech companies claim more targeted advertising can result in a better experience by showing me something I may be interested in. And it is in those advertisers best interest to display compelling ads otherwise we will not respect their brand and they will lose us as a customer. It is a pretty picture but this is again missing the point. I am using these networking apps to communicate directly with others. Any friction between my actions is counter to primary function of the app.
What needs to happen is we need to create a new relationship between businesses and customers. One where I select which companies I respect and want to hear from - then those businesses can then advertise to me and recommend other services I may be interested in. It will be like a commerce platform where all I see are things I am interested in purchasing. This will force discipline in the companies delivery of ads and partnership strategies, raising the quality bar of the involved markets.
When this new relationship is formed and users feel connected to this type of platform, over time, app understanding and behavior will swing in favor of the individuals by separating the commerce-centric apps from the communication-centric ones. This will streamline the experiences in both types of apps.
With technology prices trending down and software quality trending up, users will increasingly hold higher standards to both advertisers and tech companies, as they should.