May 7, 2019 - Economy & Business

The topics that work best on the different platforms

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Data: Parse.ly; Table: Axios Visuals

When it comes to traffic referrals for media companies, certain topics and behaviors take off on some platforms but fall flat on others. Politics, for example, is the No. 1 show in town on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, while it gets smothered on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.

Why it matters: The majority of traffic referrals to online media companies isn't from direct sources, making it critical for publishers to understand which platforms are most likely to elevate specific topics.

"It's all about aligning with algorithms that you like," says Neil Vogel, CEO of DotDash, an IAC-backed media company that was created through the rebranding of version of About.com.

  • DotDash is home to several niche websites, like TripSavvy, The Spruce, Byrdie, MyDomain, Investopedia and others.
  • Vogel says that Google is a strong traffic distributor and publishing partner for some of DotDash's evergreen content on websites like TheSpruce, a home improvement site, and Investopedia. But Instagram is much better for others like Byrdie, a beauty brand, and MyDomain, a lifestyle brand.
  • Similarly, online publishers that focus on politics and hyper-partisan news tend to perform best on Facebook, according to analytics company Newswhip.

Yes, but: Just because a topic isn't well-aligned on a certain platform, doesn't mean it can't or won't perform well.

  • Overheard, for example, has millions of followers across multiple accounts on Instagram, but all of its content is words.
  • This means it could be beneficial for publishers to experiment with a variety of platforms.

Between the lines: The data suggests that the core function of each platform elevates certain topics because of the native format and the reasons users visit the platform.

  • On Instagram, the camera is the central format, allowing users to view and showcase desirable lifestyles.
  • On Snapchat, the platform similarly revolves around the camera, but because it doesn't showcase "likes," and involves 1-to-1 communication rather than 1-to-many, it doesn't incentivize users to play to an algorithm.
  • On Twitter, a string of text is the central format, allowing users to receive quick bursts of information in real time on evolving storylines.
  • On Google, a list of results is the central format, allowing users to sift through sources to find the specific information they seek.

Our thought bubble: Media companies are shifting from relying solely on Google and Facebook for news distribution to relying on other, more niche channels, including private networks.

  • This shift incentivizes media companies to produce higher-quality content to be effective regardless of the platform, rather than create content to game algorithms.
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Data: Axios research: Chart: Axios Visuals

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Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.