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Boycott or Not, Facebook Remains an Effective Platform for Driving Performance
07.31.20 | Hailey Riggle, VP Client Solutions + Brandon Liu, Senior Performance Analyst

As discussed in our last POV, a handful of brands decided to take part in the “Stop Hate For Profit Campaign” - a boycott against advertising on Facebook through the month of July called for by a number of civil right activist groups including the Anti Defamation League, Color of Change, and Sleeping Giants.

What started as a handful then has grown into much more. The call to arms gained traction in June, with brands including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Ford, Best Buy, Verizon, Starbucks, Lego, Ben and Jerry's and Diageo temporarily pulling their ad spending from the social network. Today, over 1,000 companies have taken part in the campaign. While a number of brands have decided to re-activate on Facebook in August, seeing progress in the work Facebook is making, a handful of brands have announced they will stay dark on the platforms for the remainder of the year.

Facebook is one of - if not the most - efficient and effective advertising platforms on the planet. It is a destination that consumers will continue to frequent and a place for marketers to reach their customers. Facebook knows it must address these issues and throughout the month of July, has worked to make strides to fight online hate. The company has taken a variety of steps to improve across critical areas such as hate speech, voter suppression, and misinformation:

All this said, Mark Zuckerberg and other senior staff from the company met with groups leading the boycott but those groups said the response was unsatisfactory. In a new joint statement published on July 30th, the coalition of civil rights groups behind the movement accused the Facebook CEO of failing to address the "deadly consequences of his choice to profit from hate" and pledged that it will "not go away."

Facebook stated it remains “more committed than ever to deliver on our mission and principles to bring the world closer together, give everyone a voice, and keep people safe.” The company is keeping the public abreast of its efforts to stop hate on the Facebook for Business Blog.

During July, the impact of the Boycott on Facebook performance was minimal on brand’s advertising performance.

  • At the beginning of July less than a third of consumers were aware of the boycott.
  • SocialCode observed a slight decrease in CPM and a slight increase in cost per acquisition when comparing June 2020 to July 2020 however both CPM and CPA were down when comparing July 2019 to July 2020.
  • In the last week or so performance has actually increased above what we saw in June for brands who have stayed live on the platform.

SocialCode cannot make a final decision on what action brands should take with regards to Facebook activations for the rest of the year - this should be a decision based on a brand’s objective, audience and values. Still, we’re continuing to see Facebook be an effective platform with engaged consumers who are willing to take action and shift perception based on the advertising they’re seeing on the platform.

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