Instagram News: Story Ad monetization, Hate Speech Hashtags.

The Future of Instagram Story monetization

One of the main questions buzzing around the release of Facebook’s 3rd quarter report this week, is how the platform’s earnings will impact the future growth plans for Instagram, especially from a monetization and advertising point of view.

Facebook’s underwhelming third quarter results:

The financial statement itself shows a 1.79% increase in Facebook users, which misses the Wall Street increase estimate of 1.5 billion new users. As for shares, whereas they rose slightly, overall the platform hasn’t capitalized on revenue and user growth expectations, and instead experienced lowest growth in its core North American and European markets. In fact, the stats show that Facebook lost 1 million European users throughout Q3. Ceo Zuckerberg’s responded that the goal going forward was to concentrate on improving user growth, and pointed out that already 2 billion individuals use at least one of Facebook’s services daily. The main opportunities are in private messaging, stories, video and commerce.

How This Impacts Instagram

Since one of these services includes Instagram, which has championed Snapchat with its stories and video engagement, investors have been eager to find out about Zuckerberg’s plans for ways to further monetize the app. Instagram began to incorporate ads into story streams in 2017, which resulted in huge double-digit profit increases for many businesses.

The company has followed the move this year with the extra introduction of Facebook ads. However, what the Q3 didn’t include was any info around how much money the Stories product is actually making.
While we do know that story ads monetize at a lower rate than regular feed ads, Facebook’s Chief financial officer David Wehner predicts that the impression growth opportunity on Instagram Stories is significant. Analysts confirm that pricing power will come later on down the line, whereas in the meantime Facebook plans to develop new tools for advertisers and refine their ad product style, functionality and performance.

Facebook’s Plans For the future

Part of the process will be educating advertisers themselves the way to best use the platform, as well as attracting them to purchasing ads on the platform in the first place. Facebook additionally faces the added challenge of catching up with Youtube’s advertising model, which is presently miles ahead of both Facebook Watch and Instagram TV.

Either way, the stories feature has grown hugely since its introduction just last year, and Zuckerberg is confident moving forward that trends suggest “that within the not too distant future, individuals will be sharing more into Stories than they will into feeds.”

Is Hate Speech finding refuge on Instagram?

Social media already doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to instances and regulation of verbal and cyberbullying. Technology has unfortunately made it all too simple for anyone to direct inappropriate comments to other users in a matter of seconds, no matter how distant their location, regardless of their level of acquaintance. Worryingly, hate speech is currently getting down infiltrating every niche of Instagram’s wide-ranging search bar results.

Data from The New York Times shows us a shocking tally of 11,696 examples of hate thriving on social media, most rampant in hashtag trends like #jewsdid911 and abbreviations promoting Nazi ideology. And this behavior isn’t just reserved for incidents like the recent massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue however occurs on a daily basis.
Moves are constantly being made in an attempt to prevent or remove this kind of behavior, like banning users like far-right group Proud Boys who authorities describe as a “hate group” spreading harmful messages on the platform. 

Whereas Instagram does have reporting options enabled, this doesn’t stop the hate from spreading, nor does it stop it from reaching the most vulnerable audiences before it’s too late.

Also, Instagram’s elusive and ever-changing algorithmic rule system doesn’t prevent this harassment from spreading and often allows it. Searches and popular posts are organized according to engagement, despite the content, and hashtag searches deliver automated results which can further fuel hate speech trends and exacerbate the real-life damage in an online atmosphere. It’s clear that Instagram needs to drastically reevaluate its interpretation of what “top posts” really means.

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