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Instagram Seeks Data on Users’ Ethnicity to Improve User Experience

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Instagram Seeks Data on Users’ Ethnicity to Improve User Experience

Instagram’s looking to improve its understanding of how people from marginalized communities use the app, and the challenges that they may or may not experience, via a new survey, in conjunction with YouGov, which will prompt some users to answer an optional question about their ethnicity.

As you can see in these example screens, some users will be prompted to provide info about their race/ethnicity, which will then give Instagram more data about how people from each community segment use the app.

As explained by Instagram:

When we established the Equity team, we wanted to understand how people from historically marginalized communities experience Instagram. For the last two years, we prioritized extensive research to better understand the concerns raised by these communities, and we made significant improvements in our products as a result. However, if we don’t know people’s race or ethnicity, we’re limited in our ability to assess how our products impact different communities.”

As a result, Instagram is now seeking more data, for which, it needs users to provide more info.

Which, given this is Meta, some will no doubt be a little wary about providing.

Instagram further outlines that the data is being collected by YouGov, independent of Meta itself, via ‘individual, de-identified responses’

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“[Responses] are collected by YouGov, encrypted, and split into parts to be stored across partner research institutions. Instagram will only have access to aggregated information, which means we can’t connect people or their Instagram accounts to their individual responses.”

Academic institutions also taking part in the survey include Texas Southern University, University of Central Florida, Northeastern University, and Oasis Labs all of which will receive the de-identified responses from YouGov.

Which sounds all above board – but then again, Meta has shared sensitive information with academic organizations in the past, which has then led to misuse.

The difference in this instance, in variance to the Cambridge Analytica incident, is that the data is de-identified, encrypted – it’s essentially rinsed through more privacy protection filters to ensure that it can be linked back to a real person’s Instagram identity. Meta also notes that participation in the survey is not required, and will not limit the experiences that you have on Instagram, ‘including impacting your reach or how people engage with your content in any way’.  

This information will not be stored with partner institutions in perpetuity. Responses will be deleted by YouGov after 30 days and by Texas Southern University, University of Central Florida, Northeastern University, and Oasis Labs on request.”

Gathering this additional insight makes sense – Instagram can’t know the full scope of its initiatives unless it understands the user experience from different perspectives. But as you can tell from the various qualifiers and explanations, it’s also very aware that users may not be willing to trust it with such at this stage.

Still, it could be beneficial, and the additional security measures should provide enough safeguards to avoid possible misuse.

The new prompts will be shown to US users from today.

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Snapchat Shares New Data on the Importance of Brands Supporting Inclusion and Social Causes

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Snapchat Shares New Data on the Importance of Brands Supporting Inclusion and Social Causes

Snapchat has published some new insights into how its users view inclusion and diversity, as well as how brands support social movements, in various ways.

To glean insight into this, Snapchat conducted a survey of over 5,000 users from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and Australia, providing a wide breadth of perspectives on how its audience is looking to interact around social issues and movements.

And the results are likely as you would expect, given the young skew of the app – Snapchat users are increasingly inclusive, and are more open to brands that align with their worldview on key issues.

According to Snap’s data, some 75% of Snapchatters would use the word ‘inclusive’ to describe themselves and their friends, while 90% would use the word ‘kind’.

I mean, self-attribution could be different to actual reality, as I assume most people would consider themselves to be relatively kind and inclusive. But even so, Snap’s further insights reinforce this ethos, and the importance of inclusion in their approach.

As per Snap:

“Snapchatters embrace all aspects of who they are, like the causes they care about, the music they love, and the content they create and share online. 8 in 10 say ‘It’s important for me to be true to myself,’ and Pride Month is a time to celebrate their freedom to do so.”

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Now, I had to double-check this a couple of times to ensure I wasn’t experiencing a glitch in the Matrix, but Pride Month was in June, and the new survey data was released today. I’m not sure why there’s such a focus on Pride Month given the timing, but the findings are relevant regardless, and could assist in your Snap planning.

Which may well be important, because the data also shows that nearly half of Snapchatters agree that all brands should reflect representation and inclusion.

“Over half of Snapchatters do research to tell if a brand cares about inclusion. In addition to checking to see if a brand has diverse and inclusive content, nearly 1 in 3 Snapchatters will read a brand’s mission statement and values. Likewise, many Snapchatters will look at the brand’s leadership to ensure the brand’s values are represented at an organizational level.

Snapchat inclusion survey

As has been highlighted in various Gen Z surveys and studies, the younger generation takes a much more socially conscious approach to the brands that they deal with, and it’s important for marketers to recognize this within their Snap marketing approach.

The data also shows that 64% of Snapchatters are interested in supporting brands that celebrate inclusion and diversity, while 35% said that they’re more likely to purchase products and services from brands they consider inclusive.

There’s also this:

“More than a quarter of Snapchatters said they would take action on a social issue, including doing further research, making a donation, or participating in an event if prompted by a brand.

So it’s not just the branding benefit of connecting with relevant social causes, and aligning with the perspective of your target market, but it can also help to encourage more activity and adoption of the same causes as a result of your promotions.

These are some interesting notes, which once again underline the brand value of being more upfront in regards to the causes and movements you align with, and promoting that up front, as opposed to keeping it to yourself in fear of turning some people away.

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Younger consumers want to know that they’re supporting businesses that support the same things they do, which can also help to broaden awareness, maximize inclusion and evolve perspectives.

Some important notes – you can read Snap’s full study here.

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