New Instagram Usage Insights, Net Neutrality, Snapchat Updates Ad Policies And More In This Week’s Friday Download
May 18, 2018
By FTI Consulting
As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, a few new initiatives caught our eye in the social media sphere, with several platforms taking steps to respond to longer-term concerns over excessive usage and the impact on social wellbeing.
The latter initiative is a step that aligns with parent company Facebook’s research that identified positive impacts on well-being from active, engaged social networking, but at the same time found that passive, “zombie scrolling” can have the opposite effect. This is a challenge particularly for Instagram; given the heavily visual nature of its content it’s more likely to see passive scrolling than other platforms. Facebook has subsequently changed their algorithm accordingly to promote content that prompts engagement, while down-weighting “viral” content that was simply viewed.
If you’ll allow us to go a bit Kumbaya for a second, social media is an incredibly powerful tool, with the potential to bring people together as much as keep them apart. Earlier this week research found that students are four times more likely to seek mental health advice from a smartphone or through social media than from a counsellor. How these platforms are structured, managed, and used matters, and these few steps should nudge us in the right direction. Now, on with the digital chatter.
Three Republican Senators joined with Democrats to vote against the proposed measures, which would have allowed internet service providers (ISPs) the ability to differentiate download and transmission speeds between different websites. The vote came about following a significant public campaign against the actions, and to be clear, unless it clears the House and gets the approval of one man sitting in The White House it will still take effect in June.
So a good day for the internet yesterday, and with a few more we may secure net neutrality for the foreseeable.
Those guys over at Snapchat just can’t catch a break can they. We’ve talked at great length about the trials and tribulations of the recent platform redesign, and the impact this has had on share price and perceptions on The Street.
Last month it was reported that Snapchat was in the process of testing non-skippable ads (rather unhelpfully called “forced-view advertisements”). Today they are here.
Ostensibly it makes sense, looking to monetise a platform that has seen its core features replicated across competitors like Instagram and Facebook. The ads are currently restricted to the “Shows” section of the platform, and so at present don’t impinge on users who follow friends, family, and celebrities. The next step may be premium subscriptions, again understandable for a platform looking to accrue revenue streams. Ultimately, however, they’ll need to find a balance between the increased income and the users such ad policies may drive away.
Also This Week
WeChat’s owner Tencent sees profits soar by more than 60% – BBC
Twitter is going to make third-party apps worse starting in August – The Verge
To make Stories global, Facebook adds Archive and audio posts – Tech Crunch
WhatsApp’s latest update brings more order and control to group chats – Digital Trends
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.
FTI’s digital practice in EMEA operates as a centre of excellence for digital communications within the firm and is staffed by a team of practitioners with industry experience of consumer, corporate and financial communications. The team runs an active portfolio of multi-sector brands and partners with FTI’s teams and clients to provide a wide range of online reputation management services.