illustration of the number five, representing the five subscription business topics for this column, Five-on-Friday

Five on Friday: Donors, Dollars and Data Breaches

Featuring NewsMatch, App Annie, Facebook and the Institute for Advertising Ethics

In this week’s edition of Five on Friday, we share highlights from App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report; NewsMatch’s impressive 2020 results including more newsrooms, donors, dollars and local matches; and another data breach from Facebook. Also, the Institute for Advertising Ethics says the industry needs guidelines and standards, and we explain why having a fast website is so important to customer acquisition and retention.

App Annie State of Mobile 2021 Report

With most of us stuck at home during the pandemic, many of us turned to our mobile devices for productivity tools, news, information and entertainment. In its State of Mobile 2021 report, App Annie shares some key highlights and trends from last year. Here is the executive summary which shows double-digit growth in all categories but downloads.

App Annie Executive Summary from State of Mobile 2021 report.

App Annie reported the following Macro Mobile trends:

  • Consumers spent $143 billion on mobile apps last year.
  • Users spent 3.5 trillion hours on Android devices each year.
  • The average American watched 3.7 hours of live television each day, compared to the four hours they spent on their mobile devices.
  • 97% of publishers who monetize their apps through the iOS App Store earn less than $1 million annually. This would qualify them for Apple’s small business program which reduces Apple’s revenue share from 30% to 15%.
  • Last year, outside of China, the amount of time spent using Finance apps increased 45%. Mobile app usage in Finance decreased in China due to new regulations.
  • TikTok was the most popular social app in the U.S. in terms of hours per user. The app is on pace to hit 1.2 billion active users this year.
  • Last year, 40% more hours were streamed on mobile than the prior year.
  • In terms of time spent on SVOD services, Disney+ took the #1 spot, followed by Roku, Tubi TV, Twitch and Amazon Prime Video.
  • In the U.S., the top food delivery apps were DoorDash, Recipes Home, UberEATS, Instacart and Grubhub.

For the complete report, visit

NewsMatch’s 2020 Campaign Breaks Records, Yielding $47M for Nonprofit Newsrooms

The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) reports that the fifth annual NewsMatch campaign yielded record-breaking results, yielding $47 million raised by nonprofit newsrooms. If you aren’t familiar with NewsMatch, it is a national matching-gift campaign that supports members of INN by helping them find funding to support independent journalism. The program was initiated by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, starting with a fund of $1.5 million. Since 2016, NewsMatch has helped newsrooms raise more than $150 million. This is done through:

  • Contributions to the NewsMatch fund which matches donations collected by a nonprofit newsroom
  • Creating special funds for a cohort of newsrooms that meet specific criteria
  • Creating a local matching grant
  • Direct donations to nonprofit newsrooms

As a result of their efforts, the 2020 campaign yielded the following results:

  • Leveraging a pool of $6.7 million in matching funds, newsrooms attracted more than $47 million from individual donors, compared to $43.5 million 2019, setting a record.
  • A total of 260 organizations participated in NewsMatch in 2020, a 33% increase over the prior year. This indicates that newsrooms are increasingly relying on individual donations for financial sustainability.
  • More than 430,000 people made over 1 million donations during the NewsMatch campaign, 65% more than the 2019 campaign.
  • More than 350 local supporters including community foundations, philanthropists and small businesses donated $3.1 million in matching funds, double the 2019 total.

“NewsMatch has become a powerful and simple way for foundations to support local journalism at scale,” said Josh Stearns, director of the Public Square program at Democracy Fund, which funds NewsMatch. “The past year has shown that quality news and trustworthy information is vital to the communities and causes foundations care about — from healthcare, to racial justice, to fair and safe elections. Democracy Fund is proud to partner with so many other foundations to build the movement for nonprofit news across the country.”

Among the 2020 donors are the Google News Initiative and Abrams Foundation who invested a combined $1 million donation.

Nine Principles for Ethical Advertising

In a recent interview, Wally Snyder, president of the Institute for Advertising Ethics (IAE) said the advertising industry needs ethics standard and guidelines, reports Media Post. The industry should regulate itself, rather than wait for the government to impose regulations instead.

“Consumers have the ability to find out anything about an ad or company, … but that wasn’t true 20 years ago,” Snyder said in an interview with Lynne Kjolso, vice president of corporate sales at Microsoft Advertising. “From our research we know they expect to be treated ethically and fairly.”

Snyder also said brands have an opportunity to be transparent and to reach consumers one-on-one. These interactions can lead to resolutions and to positive customer relationships. If you’ve heard about the Cinnamon Toast Crunch-shrimp tails debacle, you know how damaging negative interactions can be. To help improve ethics in advertising, IAE has developed a checklist that includes nine ethical principles and guidelines for advertising.

Principle 1: Advertising, public relations, marketing communications, news, and editorial all share a common objective of truth and high ethical standards in serving the public.

Principle 2: Advertising public relations, and all marketing communications professionals have an obligation to exercise the highest personal ethics in the creation and dissemination of commercial information to consumers.

Principle 3: Advertisers should clearly distinguish advertising, public relations and corporate communications from news and editorial content and entertainment, both online and offline.

Principle 4: Advertisers should clearly disclose all material conditions, such as payment or receipt of a free product, affecting endorsements in social and traditional channels, as well as the identity of endorsers, all in the interest of full disclosure and transparency.

Principle 5: Advertisers should treat consumers fairly based on the nature of the audience to whom the ads are directed and the nature of the product or service advertised.

Principle 6: Advertisers should never compromise consumers’ personal privacy in marketing communications, and their choices as to whether to participate in providing their information should be transparent and easily made.

Principle 7: Advertisers should follow federal, state and local advertising laws, and cooperate with industry self-regulatory programs for the resolution of advertising practices.

Principle 8: Advertisers and their agencies, and online and offline media, should discuss privately potential ethical concerns, and members of the team creating ads should be given permission to express internally their ethical concerns.

Principle 9: Trust between advertising and public relations business partners, including clients, and their agencies, media vendors, and third-party suppliers, should be built upon transparency and full disclosure of business ownership and arrangements, agency remuneration and rebates, and media incentives.

Facebook Faces Another Data Breach; 533M Users Affected

Last week, Facebook got an ugly April Fool’s joke. A hacker posted personal data (phone numbers, names, locations, email addresses, birthdates and biographical information) of more than 533 million Facebook users in 106 countries on a “low-level hacking forum” for free, according to Business Insider. Security experts say the data could be used for identity theft and fraud.

Facebook, however, said it’s no big deal. They say they patched a vulnerability in 2019, so the data was scraped prior to the September 2019 patch.

“We believe the data in question was scraped from people’s Facebook profiles by malicious actors using our contact importer prior to September 2019. This feature was designed to help people easily find their friends to connect with on our services using their contact lists,” said Mike Clark, Facebook product manager director, on April 6.

“When we became aware of how malicious actors were using this feature in 2019, we made changes to the contact importer. In this case, we updated it to prevent malicious actors from using software to imitate our app and upload a large set of phone numbers to see which ones matched Facebook users. Through the previous functionality, they were able to query a set of user profiles and obtain a limited set of information about those users included in their public profiles. The information did not include financial information, health information or passwords,” Clark added.

Alon Gal, the CTO of Hudson Rock, a cybercrime intelligence firm, discovered the leaked information on Saturday.

Gal told Business Insider, “A database of that size containing the private information such as phone numbers of a lot of Facebook’s users would certainly lead to bad actors taking advantage of the data to perform social-engineering attacks [or] hacking attempts.”

Facebook’s solution? Telling people how to keep their data safe from “malicious actors”:

  • Do regular privacy checkups.
  • Use two-factor authentication.
  • Align your privacy settings with what information you want shared publicly.

5 Ways a Fast Website Helps You Acquire and Retain Customers

  1. Attracting a site visitor – Have you ever visited a website (on any device) and abandoned it because the site took too long to load? We are so used to instant everything, and websites are no different. When we click on a link, we want to go to that site, or its mobile app, immediately. If we can’t get there fast enough, we give up and move onto something else. Google backs this up. According to Google, improving site speed by as little as one-second can increase mobile conversions by 27%! Website Builder Expert estimates that 1 in 4 visitors abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
  2. Loyalty – We all know it is cheaper to keep an existing subscriber than it is to find new ones. This means we need to keep our customers happy. If they are shopping on your site, or you’ve upsold them to another subscription tier, they may abandon the upsell if their user experience is not a good one, says Shopify.
  3. Better Google ranking – Shopify also says that, as of May 2021, faster sites will rank higher on Google Search and increase page views. If you want to be on that first page of Google Search, and ideally at the top of the page, your site needs to be optimized for speed.
  4. Better conversion – Hubspot reports that the first five seconds of load time have the highest impact on conversion rates. With each additional second, conversion rates drop by 4.42% and users will leave your site. The highest ecommerce conversion rates happen with load times ranging between 0 and 2 seconds.
  5. User experience – Website Builder Expert says that one-second page load times help users to feel like they are in control, reducing their stress and increasing their likelihood they’ll stick around. This keeps your bounce rate lower and your customer’s attention on your products and services, not how slow your website is.

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