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Facebook is the Leading Social Platform for News During COVID-19 [Infographic]



Where are you getting your news updates from during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Increasingly, people are relying on social media platforms to help keep them informed on the latest – which can be both beneficial and problematic in equal measure.

Social media usage has ramped up significantly during the lockdowns, with Facebook reportingunprecedented increase in the consumption of news articles” specifically. Overall US traffic from Facebook to other websites has also risen by more than 50%, as people seek updates and insights. Given that people are spending more time on social anyway, and it’s updated in real-time, there’s clear benefit to getting news via social apps. But then again…

Social platforms have also been working hard to halt the flow of COVID-19 misinformation, with their massive reach providing an ample lure for websites trying to extract as many clicks as possible via unfounded rumors and speculative reports.

So while social platforms are keeping us informed, they’re also keeping many misinformed too – but which platforms are people getting the majority of their news content from, and what impact is that having on their mental health as a result?

That’s the focus of this new study from Flixed, which incorporates responses from over 1,000 people. The data shows that Facebook is the clear leader in news distribution, while Reddit has increasingly made people feel worse about the situation.

You can read Flixed’s full report here, or check out the infographic below.

Social media news consumption during COVID-19



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

As we head into the holiday shopping push, Instagram has announced that it’s testing out some new ad options, in the hopes of maximizing its revenue intake, while also providing new opportunities for brands.

Though I can’t imagine that these will be entirely popular additions with users.

First off, Instagram’s adding new ads into Explore, with the first page of Explore now set to feature a new ad unit in the content feed.

As you can see in this example, that’s a pretty big ad. Instagram hasn’t clarified if all of these new Explore ads will be featured as prominently as this, but the option will provide another means to reach IG users ‘in the earliest stages of discovering new content they care about’.

It could be a good consideration, with a chance to get your products featured in the main discovery feed in the app.

Instagram’s also testing ads in profile feed – ‘which is the feed experience that people can scroll through after visiting another account’s profile and tapping on a post’.

So now, if you check out someone’s profile, and tap on a post, you’ll also be eligible to be served ads in that dedicated stream of their content, essentially inserting ads into another surface in the app.


Instagram’s also looking into whether this option could also be used as a monetization opportunity for creators, as that activity will be tied back to an individual profile and content.

Instagram’s also testing what it’s calling ‘Multi-Advertiser Ads’, which will display more promotions from similar businesses to users after they’ve engaged with an ad.

Instagram ad updates

As per Instagram:

“When a person expresses commercial intent by engaging with an ad, we deliver more ads from other businesses that may be of interest, powered by machine learning.”

So Instagram’s looking to push even more related businesses at you, stacking ads upon ads. I don’t know how effective that will be, but in theory, it could get your brand in front of interested users based on previous ad engagement.

Finally, Instagram’s also launched an open beta of its AR Ads, which will be available in both feed and Stories in the app.

Instagram ads update

As you can see here, Instagram’s AR ads, built in its Spark AR platform, will invite users to interact with their ad content, which could also include positioning virtual furniture in their home, or test driving a car in the app.

Which Meta also says will help brands align with future engagement shifts:

“By giving businesses tools to create more personalized and immersive experiences today we’ll help them drive performance and prepare for the metaverse.”

I mean, AR and the metaverse, which is largely VR-based (going on the examples we’ve seen thus far) are not the same thing, but the creation of 3D objects will play a part in that next stage, and could help to advance your thinking on ad approaches.


These are some interesting ad considerations, but they’ll also see a lot more promotions being squeezed into your Instagram feeds, which, as noted, likely won’t be welcomed by users.

But with parent company Meta under rising pressure, Instagram has to do its part. And while leaning into further Reels, and forcing in more ads, may not be a great play, long-term, the usage and engagement data will ultimately tell the tale.

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