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The Shifting 2020 Social Landscape: How To Keep Audiences Engaged

Maddie RaedtsForbes Councils MemberForbes Agency CouncilCOUNCIL POST| Paid ProgramLeadership

Maddie Raedts is Co-Founder & CCO at IMA || Forbes 30 Under 30

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Most brands and marketers already know that a key element of a successful online presence is to understand your audience. Having informed and detailed information about who you want to target can assure that the content you create resonates with them much better. As a result, you can improve your brand perception, customer loyalty and boost your conversion rates.

That’s why you should keep track of the content your audience appreciates and interacts with the most, to ensure optimal social media presence in a holistic manner, which will serve as a bridge between the content you produce and the sales you make. But make sure to be paying constant attention, as the digital world is a fast-paced environment, and what audiences appreciate and even expect in the social media landscape is always evolving. 

Not so long ago, for example, content used to be highly curated and edited for the most part. It looked editorialized, aspirational and “perfect.” Nowadays, while we can still see this type of content around, audiences appreciate relatable, real and less far-fetched content much more, and posts that are too distant from reality tend to be scrutinized.

As a matter of fact, content is evolving once again, and new changes to the social media and influencer marketing industry are already on their way.

Audiences Are Becoming More Demanding On Social Media

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Because of all the events unfolding in 2020, audiences are moving to educate themselves on social justice and environmental issues while at the same time acknowledging that social media plays an important role in the content they consume daily, therefore heavily influencing their references.

For this reason, they are starting to become more critical about the content shared by the brands they follow — a flow started out by Gen Z, fostered by the coronavirus pandemic, and now turbo-boosted by the recent movements claiming for more equality, diversity and inclusion. They want their social media circle to be an extension of who they are and what they believe in.

But that’s not all. Followers expect brands to acknowledge their authority and adopt a lead position on conversations around important topics. This means not only that you should take a stance but also that empty words just aren’t enough anymore. Your audience expects you to be active in contributing and making a difference in the world.

Even though this sounds intimidating, in reality, these actions don’t have to be big — it’s all about recognizing unconscious biases, rethinking old behaviors, partnering with the right people and taking small steps to reflect this change.

However, it’s important that these efforts come from a place of authenticity, instead of a desire of merely jumping on the bandwagon just to a part of the conversation. A good starting point is, for example, reassessing things that need to be changed within the company before speaking up externally. Let your teams know what you stand for and engage them in a conversation about the changes that need to be made and how you can achieve this together. By starting internally, not only will you be able to mature your positioning before going public, but most importantly, you will have concrete actions that speak on your behalf.

The Right Influencers Can Move Your Brand In The Right Direction

To adapt to this new cultural landscape, there’s no magic formula; you need to start the transformation from within.

By attaching your brand narrative to influencers who already practice what you intend to preach, you can start moving the direction of your brand’s image before the eyes of your audience. The influencers you choose to work with can carry the message that you want to convey for you. And, what’s more, choosing to work with these people is already a message in itself, as it shows that instead of only storytelling, you are also “storydoing.”

Influencers can help define your brand into a persona, making it look more humanized and relatable. You will have someone to personify your values and what you stand for, a personal translation of your message with different ways of telling it that appeal to a huge range of audiences. This also allows you to foster personal connections that are much deeper and aligned.

Nonetheless, you have to keep in mind that people on social media are becoming savvier and more socially minded by the day, so it’s crucial that your influencer selection is aligned with your (new) values, rather than relying on influencers just to put you in a better light. Otherwise, this inconsistency will be passed on to your audiences, and you’ll risk coming across as inauthentic.

Authenticity in influencer selections is more complex than it sounds, but it basically means that you have to find the talents that match your brand harmoniously. So, the creators you work with have to be the right fit not only for the product or service you want to promote but also for your brand story, and not the other way around.

Start off by defining where your brand is and where it’s moving to, and you will be able to see more clearly the influencer personas that are right for the message you want to convey. Then, narrow down the pool of available creators by assessing whether you can seamlessly visualize your brand in their feeds, always making sure to analyze if their metrics are the right ones for your goals. These steps will ensure that you have a strong selection of influencers that are authentically aligned with your brand values and purpose.

All in all, as what you stand for starts gaining more and more weight in customers’ decisions regarding where to buy from, partnering with influencers can be a fast test-and-learn approach to start adapting your brand strategy and make it more relevant to what audiences expect from brands now and in the future.


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5 Tips To Build Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn in 2020

Since LinkedIn was founded in 2002, it has grown to a community of 660 million-plus members. LinkedIn has opened new arenas of usability for professionals on the platform. Benefits of using LinkedIn extend beyond networking, increasing job opportunities, finding business leads as the platform creates several intangible benefits like creating a personal brand name and increasing credibility.

“Everyone is trying to build their personal brand on LinkedIn. It’s not just top level management and well established leaders, but also students, freelancers, start-up founders and hustlers. Everyone recognizes the benefits of a large following and high engagement on the platform and users want to leverage the platform to take advantage of the benefits of personal branding,” according to Tannisha Avarrsekar, founder of Lokavyuha Strategy and Communications.

Though the platform can be leveraged to create several benefits for its users, gaining visibility and personal marketing on the platform has become increasingly challenging. The most common tips given by personal branding experts include posting a professional personal profile picture on the platform, updating skills, education and work, and posting regularly and commenting.

Since most of the users are now aware of these basic tips, there is no real profile differentiation or branding created by incorporating these strategies on the platform. Posting regularly is not the ‘key mantra’ for personal branding on LinkedIn anymore, because posting regularly may not increase your visibility or network. LinkedIn marketing in 2020, in the era of COVID uncertainty calls for a different approach for building a personal brand on LinkedIn.

Create Content Which Serves your Followers, Educates Them and Increases Awareness

LinkedIn as a platform is not only used by professionals to network and further growth prospects, but it’s use has also extended to being a source of information to professionals about trends in businesses and industries worldwide. LinkedIn also has a dedicated news section on the homepage of the platform called ‘LinkedIn News’. Users on the platform are looking for insights about jobs, companies and industries alike.

According to Vipin Kumar, joint secretary at the ministry of human resource development, “Your value on any social platform comes from the value created by your content for others. Posting content which will educate people about things they are unlikely to hear otherwise creates a differentiating factor in your content and also plays an important role in increasing respect within your network.” Posting content which educates people about social issues, problems in the workplace and other relevant topics increases the likelihood of people commenting on the post and tagging other people within their network. Content of this nature also increases your credibility on the platform and creates a personal brand which is reliable.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Around 87 million users on LinkedIn are millennials who are looking to learn more, gain insights and educate themselves. Hence, the niche for content which provides insights and boosts learning is large on the platform.

Share Posts of Other Influencers Which Are Relevant

Though most LinkedIn influencers recommend posting content on the platform regularly to increase engagement, often they take for granted that not everyone has the time to create original posts on the platform. Creating an original post or article may be time consuming and challenging to do on a daily basis. However, it may be easy for you to repost relevant content on the platform to keep your audience engaged.

“Sharing content of other influencers is a great way to leverage the platform to your advantage. You don’t need to have original content to post, reposting content which is different and giving the creator credit for it helps to boost your own profile. Your main aim should be posting great content, even if it means reposting articles, research papers or posts if you don’t have time to create content yourself,” says Avarrsekar. Reposting content of influencer’s also increases the quality of content on your feed itself, ensures high reach and engagement.

Moreover, sharing content of LinkedIn influencers increases your reach within the influencer’s network itself. Hence, the ‘share’ tool on LinkedIn is a quick way to increase engagement and build your network and it is definitely easier than posting original content.

On a Platform Where People are Trying to Specialize, be a Generalist

The best strategy to reach a wider audience on LinkedIn is to create content which resonates with a wider audience. Often, users try to create their own niche in a particular industry by only posting content related to that industry. Creating content which is not industry specific and can be applied by individuals in a variety of industries is a great strategy to increase engagement. In the COVID era, there are many professionals who are increasing their flexibility and are open to positions across industries. This has created a more flexible mindset among individuals looking for jobs on LinkedIn. Hence, generalized content will help you create your personal brand faster and connect with more people.

Range: Why generalists triumph in a specialised world by David Epstein highlights how generalists stand out from the crowd where individuals are focused on specializing. According to Epstein, generalists have a variety of interests and skills which they can leverage to form connections. While specialists can only comment on a narrow topic, generalists have more diverse experiences which make them winners in this world.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Posting content on LinkedIn which can be applied to a variety of fields and resonates with people across industries is a clear way to win over a larger audience and build a stronger personal brand. It is also an efficient way to connect with people across industries and tap new networks.

Leverage The Power of Storytelling to Enhance Your Personal Brand

Sharing your personal story on the platform creates a more human touch and makes your personal brand relatable to other users on the platform. Moreover, this strategy is easy to use because writing about your own experiences from memory takes less time than doing research to create a post.

Harsh Karamchandani, co-founder of ed-tech start-up Edunify, explains “You don’t need to be a popular personality to establish your personal brand on the platform. The platform empowers everyone because it gives everyone a voice. You can use the power of storytelling on the platform to highlight your personal life experiences which other people can learn from. Being the co-founder of a start-up, I use the power of storytelling to narrate my journey, experience and challenges, and my stories resonate with other aspiring start-up entrepreneurs which increases my engagement.” Storytelling also creates a personal brand which is more genuine and real because users can see the real person behind the LinkedIn profile.

Most often people hesitate before posting their failure stories on LinkedIn. Posting about failures on LinkedIn can increase engagement and depict a strong personality based on constant learning. According to an article written by Vani Kola, managing director of Kalaari on LinkedIn “Is failure the new success?”, failure creates constant learning in one’s life and reflecting on failure is the path to improvement. Owning up to your failure’s on LinkedIn shows that you are willing to own up to your mistakes, learn from them and grow.

Posting about failures is an important part of personal brand building because it resonates with the audience via storytelling. Personal stories are likely to get more engagement and reach on the platform because they directly connect with the audience and display the real person behind the LinkedIn profile.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The power of storytelling can also be extended to highlighting the stories of people associated with your brand. Prerna Mukharya, founder of Outline India, a data firm focused on ground level impact, explains how Linkedin can be a powerful tool to meet the right people. “One of our initial projects at Outline India was through linkedin and I have not forgotten that. It is essential to stay authentic as one tries to make a point. Personal stories (stories from the field in our case about data collection), have been instrumental in reaching out to our target audience. I receive about 7-10 messages each week from people across the spectrum, sharing appreciation, kind words or looking to contribute to our greater goal of – creating social impact through data. In most cases, I do not know these people, but they are willing to offer their expertise, and their time to know about our story at Outline India.” Mukharya says. Hence highlighting stories of people who you are working with and interacting with is a part of your own storytelling and can be leveraged to create your personal brand.

Don’t Forget to Leverage the Power of a LinkedIn Article

While communication experts recommend making posts on LinkedIn regularly, very few focus on the power of writing articles on the platform. Around 45 per cent of the article readers on LinkedIn comprise upper level management. Hence, writing articles on the platform increases the possibility of you connecting with upper level management which increases your rating on the platform and boosts your following. Moreover, building relationships of increased engagement by top level management and getting their comments on your posts ensures more credibility towards your personal brand.

Though it may be challenging to increase the visibility of your posts, increasing visibility in an article can be much easier because only 0.2 per cent users on LinkedIn have published articles on the platform.

Here are a few general tips you can keep in mind when you are writing an article to create your personal brand on the platform. The tips are based on research conducted on LinkedIn publisher statistics:

–         Write long form articles, around 1,900 words to get the best engagement.

–         Post “how-to” and list format articles because they get higher number of shares

–         Split the article into 5, 7 or 9 sub headings

–         Ensure that the article title is 40-49 characters

–         Do not add videos to the article unless absolutely necessary

–         Try to add exactly 8 photos to the article

–          Post some original images with people’s faces in the article

How to Create 4 Facebook Custom Audiences That Convert

by PAUL RAMONDO / AUGUST 10, 2020 

Want better Facebook ad results? Do your Facebook ads reach the right people at the right point in the customer journey?

In this article, you’ll learn how to develop Facebook audiences for cold, warm, and hot prospect targeting and deliver ad creative that reaches hot prospects who abandon their carts mid-purchase.

How to Create 4 Facebook Custom Audiences That Convert by Paul Ramondo on Social Media Examiner.

To learn how to create audiences for the top, middle, and bottom of your marketing funnel, read the article below for an easy-to-follow walkthrough or watch this video:

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#1: Create a Properly Sized Facebook Lookalike Audience for Targeting Cold Audiences

It’s important to work out what stage of your marketing funnel your audience is in. We’re going to start at the top of the funnel targeting cold audiences. One of the best audiences you can target at this stage are lookalikes.

In its simplest form, a lookalike audience is exactly what it sounds like: You provide Facebook with an audience of your past customers and its magical algorithm will find people most similar in terms of the interests, demographics, and sociographics of your original seed list.

To create a lookalike audience, hop into Ads Manager and click on the Audiences option.

screenshot of the Audiences option circled in red in Facebook Ads Manager menu

When the Audiences section of Ads Manager opens, click Create Audience and then choose Lookalike Audience from the drop-down menu.

screenshot of the Lookalike Audience option circled in the Create Audience drop-down menu in Ads Manager

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From here, you can either select an existing data source or create a new source audience.

screenshot of the Select Your Lookalike section circled in red in the Create a Lookalike Audience window

Some of the most powerful lookalike audiences you can create are based on customers who purchased from you in the past. If you have a CSV file that you can export from your content management system (CMS), click Create New Source and then upload that file.

screenshot of the Create New Source drop-down menu circled in red in the Create a Lookalike Audience window

For this tutorial, we’re going to keep things simple and imagine we’ve already uploaded a CSV file with the email addresses of past customers.

In the Select Audience Location field, we’ll choose Australia as the location of this audience.

Next, we need to select the number of lookalike audiences to create. Keep in mind that the larger your lookalike audience, the more inaccurate it becomes. The reason is that as they grow in size, Facebook has fewer data points to match with the original seed audience.

A good rule of thumb is to have at least 1,000 emails in your original seed audience list before you create a lookalike audience. The more data you can give Facebook, the better. If you have a lookalike audience of 1%, it will be more relevant than a lookalike audience of 1% or 2%. For this example, we’ll use a 1% lookalike audience.

Once you’ve filled in all of the details about your lookalike, click the Create Audience button. Note that it can take up to 48 hours for your lookalike audience to propagate.

screenshot of the Create a Lookalike Audience window fields filled in to create a %1 lookalike audience based on a customer list custom audience

#2: Build Website and Engagement Custom Audiences to Retarget Consumers Who Viewed Your Offer

Now that you have some audiences to target at the top of the funnel, let’s look at some audiences to create for the middle of the funnel to target people who have more of a relationship with your business.

Website Custom Audiences

Go back into the Audiences section of Ads Manager, and this time, select Custom Audience from the Create Audience drop-down menu.

screenshot of the Custom Audience option circled in red in the Create Audience drop-down menu in Ads Manger

Some of the best audiences you can target in the middle of your funnel are website custom audiences so select Website as your source.

screenshot of the Website option selected as source for a Facebook custom audience

For a website custom audience, you can target everyone who has visited your website in the last 180 days (or less). If you want to get a bit more specific, Facebook lets you target people who visited specific web pages. You can even target people based on how much time they spent on your website.

Let’s say on average, people spend 15–20 minutes (in total) on your website before they make a purchase. You want to retarget them with an incentive-based offer because you know this segment of your audience is the most likely to purchase.

screenshot of the All Website Visitors drop-down menu options in Create a Website Custom Audience window

Another cool thing you can do with website custom audiences is retarget and build audiences based on people who engaged with the custom events you’ve set up on your website.

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There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to running Facebook ads. I really encourage you to look at your data. Review your Google Analytics to determine which audiences and web pages are performing best. To illustrate, if you know that people who visited your website in the last 45 days are your most engaged audience or most likely to buy, you probably want to retarget everyone who has been to your website in the last 45 days.

To create a website custom audience to retarget those visitors, select All Website Visitors and choose 45 for the number of days. For the audience name, type in “(v45)” (“v” for views and “45” for the duration) and the URL those visitors came from.

screenshot of the Create a Website Custom Audience window fields filled in to create a custom audience of All Website Visitors in the last 45 days

If you want to get more specific, you can target people who viewed your latest promotion. To create this audience, select People Who Visited Specific Web Pages in the last 45 days. Then select Contains and type in the URL. After you name your audience (“(v45) yourwebsite.com” for instance), click Create Audience.

screenshot of Create a Website Custom Audience window fields filled in to create custom audience of People Who Visited Specific Web Pages in the last 45 days

Because the day-range limit inside website custom audiences is dynamic—meaning Facebook is constantly updating it in the back end—you don’t have to worry about changing or creating new audiences. Facebook does all of that heavy lifting for you.

Engagement Custom Audiences

Another effective type of audience you can target in the middle of the funnel is the engagement audience. Facebook lets you retarget people who engaged with your Facebook page or Instagram business profile.

To build these audiences, create a new custom audience and select either Instagram Business Profile or Facebook Page as the source.

screenshot of the Create a Custom Audience window with the Instagram Business Profile and Facebook Page options circled in red

Let’s say you want to create an engagement audience based on people who engaged with your Instagram business profile. The default is to target anyone who engaged with your business in the last 365 days so it’s very broad.

screenshot of the Create an Instagram Business Profile Custom Audience window with the default settings of Everyone Who Engaged With Your Business in the last 365 days

If you want to narrow this audience, you can target anyone who visited your profile, people who engaged with the post or ad, people who sent you a message, or people who saved your post or ad.

screenshot of the Everyone Who Engaged With Your Business drop-down menu options in the Create an Instagram Business Profile Custom Audience window

Some of the best custom audiences you can target are people who engaged with your business profile most recently. And you can replicate the same strategy and also build very similar audiences based on people who engaged with your Facebook profile.

Pro Tip: If you want to increase the number of people you’re reaching in these audiences, combine your Facebook engagement audiences and Instagram engagement audiences at the ad set level.

#3: Develop Website Custom Audiences to Retarget People Who Abandoned a Cart

Now let’s look at the bottom of the funnel, which targets hot audiences. One of my favorite hot audiences to target is people who abandoned a cart. If you don’t do eCommerce, the equivalent to abandoned carts would be somewhere on your website where a lead is falling off or maybe just before you’ve asked people to fill out your lead form.

What I’m going to show you now is one of the easiest ways to set up a very simple abandoned-cart audience for retargeting. Start by creating a new website custom audience. When you see the website custom audience creation window, select InitiateCheckout from the drop-down menu.

screenshot of the InitiateCheckout option circled in red in the Create a Website Custom Audience window

You want to run ads to people who abandoned their cart in the last day but not people who already purchased in the last day. So change the number of days to 1.

Next, click Exclude People and then exclude everyone who purchased in the last 30 days. They don’t need to see this ad again because they’ve already purchased from you. You also want to avoid a negative brand interaction by showing up in their news feed and offering a discount that’s no longer relevant to them.

The last step is to name your audience; for example, “Abandoned Carts (Last 1 Day).” Then click Create Audience.

screenshot of the Create a Website Custom Audience window with the settings InitiateCheckout in the last 1 day and exclude purchases in the last 30 days

Now that you’re armed with an abandoned-cart audience in the last day, ask yourself what stops people from actually getting out their credit card to purchase your product or service.

One thing might be that shipping is too expensive. In this case, you could retarget this abandoned-cart audience with an incentive-based retargeting creative: “Free shipping 24 hours only” or “Oops, it looks like you left this item in your cart. Use the code FREE SHIPPING in the next 24 hours.” You’re taking away a potential objection along the path to purchase and giving yourself an opportunity within 24 hours to make the sale.

Conclusion

Product, price, promotion, and place are all important variables when it comes to running Facebook ad campaigns. However, all of your careful planning and effort could be in vain if you’re not targeting your ads at the right people. The four audiences above can help you drive the most profit from your Facebook ads at different stages of your marketing funnel.

Remember: One of the most important things with these audiences is that you want to test, look at your data, iterate, and optimize for what performs best.

What do you think? Which of these Facebook audiences will you use to reach consumers at different stages of your funnel? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

U.S. hospitals are losing millions of dollars per day in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic — and recovery may take years

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PUBLISHED TUE, MAY 5 20206:02 PM EDTUPDATED TUE, MAY 5 20207:15 PM EDTChristina Farr@CHRISSYFARRKEY POINTS

  • Hospitals have seen revenues flatline during the pandemic. 
  • That’s because they have delayed non-emergency medical procedures during the spring. 
  • The financial situation could be bleak for several years, medical experts say. 
Medical workers wearing masks walk past a 'Thank You' sign outside of Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 3, 2020 in New York City.

Medical workers wearing masks walk past a ‘Thank You’ sign outside of Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 3, 2020 in New York City.Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

When hospitals across the United States halted elective procedures back in March, they immediately started hemorrhaging revenue.close dialogStream live CNBC TV from around the world.START FREE TRIAL

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That’s in large part because U.S. health systems make a sizable chunk of their revenues from high-priced, non-emergency procedures. Conservative estimates indicate that U.S. hospitals are losing more than a billion dollars per day by complying with the guidance from policymakers and the leading medical associations to preserve resources for Covid-19 patients. 

In the medical profession, elective procedures are surgeries that can be scheduled in advance, including many that are medically necessary. They are the financial foundation for many hospitals. Health systems bring in about $700 more per admission than emergency room admissions and surgical stays account for roughly 48 percent of hospitalization costs, studies have found.

The American Hospital Association is now reporting that hospitals are bleeding more than $50 billion per month. Private equity investor and public policy professor Meghan Fitzgerald, estimates through her own research that it’s about $1 to $1.2 billion per day. “Many of these procedures were medically necessary, and — yes — profitable, enabling these institutions to serve all patients,” she said. 

Many hospitals won’t publicly disclose their revenues. But the chairman of the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco, Dr. Bob Wachter told CNBC that his hospitals lost more than $5 million per day in April alone, and that many of the wards are sitting mostly empty. 

“It’s ironic in a middle of a pandemic that health care spending would be down,” said Larry Levitt, the executive vice president for health policy at the nonprofit research group, the Kaiser Family Foundation. “But the losses in March and April have been astounding.”

Making matters more challenging, many hospitals say they are currently spending big sums to treat patients and keep their staff safe during the pandemic. There’s some reimbursement revenue associated with Covid-19 patients, but it’s typically not on par with what they typically make from elective procedures. And some hospitals, particularly those in rural areas, haven’t yet had a flood of Covid-19 cases. In addition, many patients are delaying primary care, and emergency rooms are less packed than usual as even patients with life-threatening conditions worry about exposure and avoid coming in.

“The places that will lose the more revenue are the ones that did everything right,” said Stephen Klasko, CEO of Jefferson Health, a health system in the Philadelphia region.  “They stopped elective surgery earlier in the spring, they paid for the inflated costs of medical supplies for their staff, and rolled out testing as soon as they could,” he continued.

Klasko said that medical gowns used to cost 22 cents prior to the pandemic, and are now selling or $11 or $12. “To give you a sense of costs, just our hospitals use up to 15,000 to 20,000 of these gowns alone per day,” he said. 

That situation is not sustainable for long. Some hospitals are laying off staff, cutting hours for medical providers, and even filing for bankruptcy. The federal government has set aside some assistance, but reports show that it’s far from enough and some of the poorest hospitals are getting bypassed altogether. 

Recovery could take years

The current situation has exposed some of the most gaping problems of the U.S. health economy, medical experts say.

The system is fragmented, and payment is for the most part based on procedures, not patient outcomes. That kind of system will struggle during a pandemic.

“The way that hospitals can survive in the messed up system is the recognition that you see a lot of patients where you lose money but do the right thing, like those on Medicaid and Medicare — and you make up for it in elective procedures,” said Klasko. “What the coronavirus pandemic did is it laid bare the problems of the current system, including the broken supply chain that we’re relying on to treat the critically sick.”

“If hospitals are preserving capacity to prepare for a potential increase in Covid-19 patients, they aren’t getting paid,” said Dr. Robert Mittendorff, a health care investor at Norwest. “But who is getting paid: the insurers.”

So while hospitals are struggling financially, health insurers are seeing a bump in profits. As people delay elective surgeries and avoid preventative care during the pandemic, declines in spending have more than offset the added costs of paying for COVID-19 care.

Worse yet, experts say that it could take years for hospitals to bounce back. 

In the coming weeks, hospitals across about 20 states are starting to ramp up surgical procedures, and will begin going through the massive backlog of patients needing care.

But the doctors won’t be able to treat these patients at typical capacity until there are proven treatments or a vaccine for Covid-19. To maintain social distancing, they’ll likely take in patients at a 30 to 40 percent normal levels, and will face some tough decisions about which of their patients to treat first. 

“The average not-for-profit hospital system that was running at about 1 to 2 percent net operating margin,” said Dr. Klasko. “Let’s say it takes 12 to 18 months to recover the volumes, but then you have to make up the revenue that’s been lost for months. That could be three to four years.”

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that health insurers are seeing increased profits, not revenues.WATCH NOWVIDEO04:10Can expect a spike in areas where they haven’t met guidelines: Dr. Faust

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Google Offers Ad Transparency with New Chrome Extension

Jack TurnerAugust 4th 2020 8:00 am

Google has announced a new extension for its Chrome browser that aims to remove some of the mystery behind online adverts.

Dubbed ‘Ad Transparency Spotlight’, the add-on reveals just who is tracking data, and what sort of information companies are collecting about individuals.

Google hopes that a more transparent approach to adverts will curtail use of ad-blockers, which have been gaining popularity as advertising becomes more invasive.

What is the Ad Transparency Spotlight Extension?

Google’s Ad Transparency Spotlight Chrome extension aims to show users exactly who is serving up the adverts to them on a website, the demographics that they aimed at, as well as other data that previously has been somewhat trickier to collect.

It’s another positive step from Google towards more openness around its advertising, which in the past has included its ‘Privacy Sandbox‘, which gave advertisers general information about user types, rather than specific personal data.

The extension isn’t quite all-encompassing just yet, as it only covers adverts served up by Google, although with a market share of around 70%, you’ll still be able to see a lot of data about the adverts being served to you. As the API relies on metadata to show the information, users are also dependent on the advertisers filling in this information. This means that those creating deliberately disingenuous adverts won’t willingly give up their secrets.

Google hopes that other advertisers will adopt similar APIs for a more universal approach to advert transparency.

What Information Does the Extension Reveal?

When installed, users can delve into a wealth of data about the advertisers in the site they are visiting, assuming those advertisers have submitted the relevant information to Google. Click on the extension’s icon, and you’re presented with the following:

  • Number of adverts on the page
  • Companies behind the adverts
  • Reasons you’re being shown the adverts, including your location, demographics, related topics, and information about you, given by consent or inferred

The extension doesn’t just stop at the advertisers either – it gives users a peak behind the curtain at the companies which prop up the online advertising industry. A cursory glance at the front page of the CNN website via the extension shows no less than 48 companies, providing services such as cloud storage, analytics and data storage.

Those looking to find out just why these companies are collecting data about them, and what they’re doing with it are directed to read the privacy policy for each organization, with a direct link to each.

Why is Google Invested in Transparency?

The reason for Google investing in more transparency with its adverts depends on who you ask, and whether you have your optimistic or cynical hat on. Google would argue that it is empowering internet users by giving them the tools to see exactly who is serving them adverts, and what for. This protects the user and shifts the balance of power away from the advertisers.

A more cynical answer would be that advertising is big business, and Google don’t want to see anything upset its golden goose. Advertising makes around $160 billion for Google each year, and makes up 70% of the company’s revenue. However, users are getting savvy, and with the use of tools like ad blocker currently sitting at around 30%, there is a portion of internet users that aren’t seeing the adverts that Google is paid to display.

Google is well aware of this trend, and even has its own tools to help site owners remove ‘annoying ads’, citing that ‘these experiences can cause people to install ad-blockers’.

The Ad Transparency Spotlight extension is currently in an alpha phase, with Google asking users to give feedback to help improve it, so more features may be forthcoming.