Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where we track the big stories in media and advertising. I’m Lucia Moses, deputy editor.
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This week: Advertisers are in the hot seat, the rise of Newsmax’s Greg Kelly, and creators warm to Instagram Reels.
Advertisers are back in the hot seat
The inauguration, once a time for brands to show patriotism and unity, has become fraught with risk.
Some big advertisers are getting pressured by investors to lean on the big platforms for their role in spreading conspiracies and hate that led to the Capitol riots.
And backers of last summer’s ad boycott of Facebook are talking of resuming their pressure campaign on advertisers to stop spending on the platform.
As the boycott showed, advertisers are loath to quit the platforms they think are essential to their business.
Many advertisers eventually tiptoed back onto Facebook, with carefully worded statements that it was doing better at curbing hate and misinformation. The boycott barely impacted Facebook because advertisers are too fragmented a group to make an impact with their dollars.
But the riots have drawn attention to other enablers of extremism, from the Silicon Valley giants that provided the pipes for right-wing platform Parler to cable companies that distribute pro-Trump content. The boycott organizers are back, demanding the platforms permanently ban Trump.
So while most of the scrutiny has been on the tech giants for their role in enabling toxic content, advertisers are likely to stay in the spotlight of this storm.
Read more here:
- Shareholders call on big advertisers Omnicom and Home Depot to investigate whether Facebook, Google, and Twitter’s ads fuel violence and hate speech
- Advertisers weigh canceling Inauguration Day ads as the Capitol siege raises fears of more violence
- After US Capitol riots, cable giants face criticism for enabling the spread of misinformation
- Advertisers pull commercials around news coverage of attempted coup at US Capitol
Newsmax; Samantha Lee/Insider
Inside the rise of Newsmax’s Greg Kelly
Aaron Short profiled the lively local morning show host-turned-far-right defender of Donald Trump.
He’s the face of Newsmax, a fringe cable network that aims to compete with Fox News for conservative viewers.
From Aaron’s story:
On Newsmax, Kelly is the plainspoken outsider railing against the hubris of media elites. But the broadcaster owes his longevity in journalism to family and political connections. He has also been incredibly lucky. He was lucky to get hired by Fox News and tapped to be a local morning anchor when its then-CEO Roger Ailes was friendly with his father. He was lucky to get another gig in cable because the company’s CEO was revamping its lineup. And he was lucky Donald Trump liked him and promoted his show.
Trump will soon leave office but Newsmax has become devoted to promoting the reactionary forces that backed him. Kelly has become a vessel of right-wing fury perpetuating a false political myth with deadly consequences, and his audience is only growing.
Read the rest here: Ridiculed, overlooked, and under-estimated. As Newsmax’s biggest Trump booster, Greg Kelly may finally be getting his revenge on the ‘fake news’ establishment
Creators warm to Instagram’s Reels
Instagram’s TikTok competitor launched in August 2020 to mixed reviews, with The New York Times famously calling it a “dud.”
It may be too soon to write off what might have seemed like yet another failed copycat attempt by Instagram parent Facebook. Some creators are telling Sydney Bradley that they’ve cracked the code on using it to grow their audience and many are calling it a “magic bullet.”
The change could be in part because Instagram has been whispering in creators’ ears, telling them how to optimize the algo.
Still, it’s not a zero sum game — creators realize it’s important to keep using both apps.
“I think that’s one of the most crucial things that you need to do as a creator,” said one. “You have to diversify.”
Read more: Instagram creators say they’re getting supercharged audience growth by posting Reels: ‘I haven’t had this growth in a long time’
More stories we’re reading:
- Behind a secret deal between Google and Facebook (The New York Times)
- As delivery exploded during the pandemic, these 5 startups offered restaurants alternatives to DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub and their hefty fees (Business Insider)
- Four years in the front row (Elle)
- Retailers like Sephora are beginning to deliver on diversity pledges, but experts say more work needs to be done to push industry efforts beyond lip service (Business Insider)
- Panera hopes ‘Virtual Catering’ will win back major clients and revive its part of the $60 billion industry (Business Insider)
- The ‘Fourth Quarter’ Of Sports Media: Streaming Invites New Bidders For Events And League Rights (Sportico)
Thanks for reading, and see you back here next week.