The Algorithm Made Me Buy It

Perspectives Header Algo Purchases
  • Text Elise Bang
  • Design Aodan Reddy

Thumbing through social media now equates to a shopping experience, with DTC brands buying up ad space and apps pivoting their algorithms to prioritize purchases. The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has 9.5 billion views and has even spawned a complementary Amazon page featuring those exact products. But are they worth the hype? Here, three Day One employees review what they purchased due to algorithmic-determined fate.

Algo Reviews 01

Everyone’s looking for their own sense of individuality. The algorithm gives you this sense that you’re finding your own things your own way, but really you’re being sold what everybody else is. Maybe in a different color or a different size, but ultimately you’re all seeing similar things.

- Valerie, Chicago
Algo Reviews 02

These days, I’m much less likely to go out, walk around and shop. If I am going outside to shop, sometimes I look through my saved ads on my phone beforehand. I like having what I would want to buy before I go out, as opposed to being inspired by whatever’s in stores.

- Deshé, Los Angeles
Algo Reviews 03

I wouldn’t say [I have] skeptical feelings [about the algorithm]. They’re pragmatic, realistic feelings that it’s based on what I’m searching for. If I’m not using a private browser and am connected to my wifi, people are sharing data, right? I know what’s happening, but I don’t necessarily love it.

- Megan M., Chicago