Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter will feel the recoil from brands pulling advertising budgets amidst negative news reports and posts from people on the platforms. But not all social media platforms see their users posting negative news.
In fact, the disruption bodes well for Pinterest, which saw an increase in use during the fourth quarter of 2020.
Technology-related searches surged on Pinterest in the U.S. between September 2019 and October 2020. The site saw a 67% increase in electronics-related searches year-over-year and a 3% increase in gaming-related searches YoY.
Pinterest doesn’t have a news feed that brings in negativity. It relies on positivity. “People think about their future on Pinterest -- what’s possible, finding new ideas, and being their best self without being judged by anyone,” said Pinterest CRO Jon Kaplan. “We’ve been talking for years about being a positive place for users, but the industry has only cared about it for the past six months.”
Brands may want to land their ads next to positive messages, but the “Biden presidency is negative for [Twitter] engagement,” Trip Chowdhry, managing director at Global Equities Research, wrote in a research note published Thursday.
Fourth-quarter engagement rates were “solid,” but the negative impact of reduced engagement as a result will begin to show up in the quarter that ends in June 2021. “It includes Facebook and Snapchat, too,” he wrote in an email to Search & Performance Marketing Daily.
Like it or not, Chowdhry believes Trump is “essential” to keep up engagement levels on social media platforms. Keeping Trump off Facebook and Twitter means revenue will fall, he wrote.
When Reddit removed r/The_Donald, which was banned in June 2020, it was not an official subreddit hosted by Donald Trump. The subreddit was a political one dedicated to supporting President Trump. Nonetheless, Reddit engagement rates declined by 57%, according to Chowdhry, who warned investors that as Biden becomes the new U.S. president, engagement levels on Twitter will fall by at least 10%, and the site may not be quick to recover. The decline rate was not certified by Reddit, but rather the analyst.
On Wednesday after a violent mob stormed Capitol Hill, Facebook accused Trump of instigating the chaos and posted that the company would lock his account for at least 24 hours, and permanently suspend the account if it continued.
In a response to the violence in Washington, Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity, and Monika Bickert, vice president, Global Policy Management, wrote: “we believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great, so we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks.”
Brands want their messages to show up in a welcoming environment. Pinterest’s Kaplan said the company can make that happen.