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What's New: Facebook users want to see cute stuff

(from the latest issue of the Indie Hackers newsletter)

Facebook's "widely viewed content" report is out:

  • The report shows which posts were seen the most in the first half of 2021. Pro tip: The most popular posts are those that evoked emotion.
  • Cumulative funding in insurtech startups has jumped 200% since last year as people seek niche products during the pandemic era. With these new opportunities, insurance isn't so boring after all.
  • Founder Charity Majors talks her love for Friday deploys, making it work as an engineer with (previously) undiagnosed ADHD, and whether expensive scotch is really worth the money.

Want to share something with nearly 85,000 indie hackers? Submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter. —Channing

🦄 Facebook Users Want to See Cute Stuff


from the Growth & Acquisition Channels newsletter by Darko

Facebook's "widely viewed content" report is out, and the new insights can help founders level up their ads.

What's popular on Facebook

The news: Facebook just published its "widely viewed content" report, which reveals the websites, Facebook pages, and posts were seen by the most people in Q1 and Q2 2021.

The controversy: This report seemingly represents Facebook's latest attempt to show how it's distancing itself from political content and conspiracy theories. Facebook argues that the number of users who see a post is a stronger metric than the number of users who engage with it, and this report centers that claim.

Most popular on Facebook: Anything curious, interactive, and cute performed very well. In other words, popular posts evoked an emotion:


The opportunity: Inspiration. If you want to improve your ads or organic posts, these reports can definitely help. Look at some of the most popular posts and the pages that publish them, and incorporate some of the elements in your own content.

Twitter's Revue

The announcement: Twitter will allow you to promote your Revue newsletter directly from your Twitter profile. If you own a newsletter, you know how difficult it is to gain new subscribers. This update is big.

How it will work: Below your profile bio, you'll see a "newsletter" section with a Subscribe button. People can then click and read a sample issue, or subscribe immediately.

Who can use this: If you have a Revue newsletter (reminder: Twitter recently acquired Revue) you'll be able to activate this immediately. The only limitation is the number of people who will be able to see your newsletter.

For now, Twitter will show this newsletter section to just a small set of its users. The platform plans to slowly expand this, though, and show it to everyone.

Make your ads work in a post-privacy world

The problem: Apple Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) are the "allow to track" pop-ups that you now see on iOS. Since this has been implemented, ad costs have increased; the average CPM on Facebook has increased by 47% over the past year alone. It's become harder to track where your conversion comes from.

What you can do: Customer Acquisition put together a nice round-up post on the pains that founders and advertisers face as a result of privacy changes. At the end of the post, they included some pretty nice recommendations:

  • Create 20-50 new creatives. In other words, test more ads.
  • Remain consistent with creating news ads. According to some reports, winning ads last only 10 weeks before people start getting tired of them.
  • Consider doing more contextual and interest-based advertising if you’re seeing diminishing returns from Custom and Lookalike audiences (their effectiveness has decreased as a result of Apple IDFA changes).

I'd also like to add a few of my recommendations:

  • Use the contrast effect. For example, Twitter has recently re-designed its site to be high contrast and less blue. Can you find contrasting colors and use them in your Twitter ads to make them stand out?

  • Be careful not to land on the wrong (read: piracy) websites. This recent report will give you a pretty good idea of how big this market is, and give you tips on how not to end up on ThePirateBay's brother site for your cute social media SaaS.

What recommendations would you incorporate in your ads? Share in the comments below.

Discuss this story, or subscribe to Growth & Acquisition Channels for more.

📰 In the News

Photo: In the News

👀 OnlyFans has "suspended" its decision to ban sexually explicit content.

🏘 Airbnb will provide free temporary housing for 20K Afghan refugees.

📺 YouTube has removed 1M videos for dangerous COVID-19 information.

🧐 Instagram has improved its search function to be more like TikTok.

💒 The wedding industry, crippled by the pandemic last year, is now booming.

📑 Niche Insurance Products for a Post-Pandemic World


from the Hustle Newsletter by Julia Janks

The pandemic turned the insurance industry on its head, forcing incumbents to rethink their offerings and providing opportunities for startups to fill the void, such as gig workers and P2P models. After remaining stable at ~27% for the last five years, the proportion of the American freelance workforce that reports freelancing full-time grew to 36% in 2020. The shift has led to the emergence of new companies, models, and products.

Insurtech insurgence

The Signal: Cumulative funding in insurtech startups jumped ~200% YoY from $6.4B in Q3 2020 to $12.6B in Q3 2021.

Niche Insurance Products for a Post-COVID World

*Source: Crunchbase

As a result of the trend in freelancing, new products have emerged, including:

  • Collective Benefits: Gives gig workers access to a full range of protections and benefits, and has raised ~$13M since February 2020.
  • Duuo: A Canadian on-demand digital insurance brand that recently launched a new gig liability product based on a per-day rate.
  • Dinghy: Provides pay-as-you-go business coverage for freelancers.
  • Snack: Offers microinsurance policies for Grab drivers (a ride-hailing service in Asia).

*Source: Freelance Forward 2020 (Upwork report)

Last year, we wrote about Bread Funds, a pioneering model of self-organizing, P2P insurance in the Netherlands, which emerged as early as 2006 and provides income protection to the self-employed.


Platform play:

VouchForMe in the UK provides an online platform that enables freelancers and founders to form and manage their own P2P income protection insurance groups. The company charges users a one-time activation fee of €100 (~$117) and a monthly platform fee of €5 (~$6).

You could do the same, but without limiting your offering to freelancer insurance. Allow groups to self-organize across a number of niche products, including motor, extreme sports, and even bicycle insurance.

Laka, a London-based brand organized as a collective (rather than a for-profit company), focuses on providing niche products specifically for cyclists. They have raised ~$9.4M since launching in 2017.

Pandemic-Proofing and Usage-Based Insurance:

COVID-19 forced the industry to innovate for a new world in which deadly global virus outbreaks are possible (probable? Please, God, no).

Airlines, for example, now offer COVID-19 insurance, with some even covering medical expenses and quarantine costs.

Companies like SpottedRisk and Elite Risk have started offering insurance products for more niche markets, like the indie film industry, protecting production companies against cast members falling sick with COVID-19 during filming.

Machine Cover, which uses various nontraditional metrics to address risk, are also innovating in this space. For example, the company uses traffic data around businesses like beauty salons and restaurants to determine if and when a policy should automatically pay out.

Demand for more flexible solutions and usage-based insurance (UBI) options like these is soaring.

A 2020 report by Capgemini found that consumer demand for UBI increased from 35% in 2019 to 51% in 2020. The size of the UBI market is expected to balloon 525% from $24B in 2019 to $126B by 2027.

*Source: Insurance Business Magazine

There's an opportunity to provide niche UBI products, like pay-as-you-drive motor insurance for WFH employees, or for specific events that are canceled on account of a positive COVID-19 test.

You could build an insurance marketplace similar to Lloyd's (which has its eyes set on becoming the world's most advanced digital insurance marketplace), but with a focus on niche UBI products.

Blockchain and DeFi:

Automatic, self-executing insurance policies like the ones offered by Machine Cover are often enabled by blockchain technology and smart contracts.

Decentralized insurance applications like EtheriscGuardtime, and Lemonade will become more commonplace as adoption of blockchain technology continues.

There's also an opportunity to provide insurance products to blockchain companies and users. Nexus Mutual, for example, provides cover against bugs in smart contract code, as well as crypto wallet cover.

There will be opportunities for niche products as the DeFi industry continues to expand.

Would you enter the insurtech space? Share in the comments!

Subscribe to the Hustle Newsletter for more.

🧠 Harry's Growth Tip

Cover Image: Harry's Growth Tip

from the Marketing Examples newsletter by Harry Dry

We've done the hard selling. It's time for our second call-to-action (CTA).

This time, we've got the luxury of space. So instead of dropping one measly button, remind the customer why they're clicking.


Go here for more short, sweet, practical marketing tips.

Subscribe to Marketing Examples for more.

💻 Charity Majors Believes in Friday Deploys


by Charity Majors

Hi indie hackers! I'm Charity Majors, cofounder and CTO of Honeycomb and co-author of O'reilly's database reliability engineering (and the upcoming observability engineering). I've worked at Linden Lab, Parse, and Facebook. I tweet a lot about Friday deploys, why shipping software shouldn't be scary, testing in production, and why monitoring is not the same as observability.

I was homeschooled, and have never graduated from any sort of formal schooling whatsoever. I went to college on a piano scholarship. I live in San Francisco, and have recently taken up art lessons (watercolor, acrylic, oil, colored pencil, line drawing, and calligraphy). I was diagnosed with ADHD last year, which came as a shock to me.

You can ask me whatever you want about single malt scotches, columnar stores and other database crap, managing teams, and the engineer and manager pendulum.


How did you learn to code?

By necessity. I learn whatever I need to know to solve the problem at hand. I am highly motivated by necessity in general.

I don't learn well in a classroom setting, but a lot of people do. I think the most valuable thing that people get from traditional schooling is connections, opportunities, certain ties, etc. Hard to replicate that in a solo study environment!

How have you coped with being an engineer and having undiagnosed ADHD?

It took me years to learn how to make my brain work for me as an engineer, but ultimately it worked quite well because I'm great at hyperfocusing. It wasn't until I became CEO, and my day consisted of meeting-break-meeting-coffee-break-meeting, that everything all went downhill again.

I'm on Adderall and Wellbutrin now, and still struggling a bit. I'm still working on it.

In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense why I always gravitated towards operations engineering. I am great in a crisis; everything gets dead calm and clear, and I feel outright giddy. The idea of writing code day after day, week after week, with hardly any adrenaline to speak of, bores me to tears.

Did you ever have doubts about becoming a founder?

The plan was never originally for me to become a founder. I started the company fully expecting to fail and then go write Golang for at least two years. We had a third cofounder who was supposed to be CEO. He didn't last long. To answer your question, yes, I had nightmares every night for nearly two years after becoming CEO. Nightmares that nobody would ever hire me again for anything technical, that I would be written out of the technical story of the company, and that I would never be anything but a project manager again.

My doubts drove me crazy, and I got extremely depressed. Nobody could talk me out of it using "rational arguments" or "logic."

How do you maintain productivity?

At one time, I was over-working. I may not have had a predictable sleep schedule, I may not have learned a subject in class, but I compensated by working 18 hours a day, sleeping in the office, and, well, brute force.

Hyperfocus is my tool. It's pretty much the only tool in my toolbox, but it lends itself well to engineering problems.

Is more expensive scotch really worth the money?

Smoother, more gentle, better blending of flavors definitely correlates with more time spent in the barrel. (Pro tip: You can get more for your buck if you try the high end rums. They're cheaper because they take fewer years to age in the hot climate.)

I recommend getting a membership to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. They specialize in procuring small experimental batches of barrels from established labels like Lagavulin and Laphroiag. You'll either love or hate each bottle, no one else will have them, the notes make for great reading material, and they are an avid source of conversation.

Discuss this story.

🐦 The Tweetmaster's Pick

Cover image for Tweetmaster's Pick

by Tweetmaster Flex

I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:

🏁 Enjoy This Newsletter?

Forward it to a friend, and let them know they can subscribe here.

Also, you can submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter.

Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the illustrations, and to Darko, Julia Janks, Harry Dry, and Charity Majors for contributing posts. —Channing

  1. 0

    I'm sorry to say that I have to unsubscribe from this newsletter, even though it's been generating value for me. Points like "1M videos removed for dangerous COVID-19 information" are a clear display of the establishmentarian tone-deafness that I'm finding increasingly more prevalent and infuriating in these newsletters.

    As an example, I think anybody who has looked into this topic for more than 5 minutes with an open mind can see that the videos that is being removed are those that share facts and evidence demonstrating how the mRNA gene therapy is killing people en-mass (primarily with heart-related issues and blood clotting). I know personally 5 people who died immediately after getting jabbed. This is my experience, and the experience of many others. If you think sharing this is "harmful information" ... you're a danger to humanity.

    I thought this was a community of people who explore, push the limits, and challenge the status quo. Not simply fall in line and accept fashionable propaganda as gospel truth.

    It would be interesting to see if this comment itself actually gets removed.

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