Stripes Agency 07/31/2020

Facebook Boycott: Big fish, small fish 🐠

Media buyers predict that bigger businesses will continue to boycott Facebook, while smaller ones can’t afford to stick it out much longer. Fair enough. But from where we’re standing, there’s more to the story. Let’s dig in.

Digiday Predictions for the Facebook Boycott: Small Fish Return, Bigger Fish Stay Out
With July and the Stop Hate for Profit boycott about to end, Digiday reports smaller brands who count on Facebook for ad revenue will return first — while bigger brands will withhold their ad dollars until they see more substantive changes. The boycotters seek to solve what’s known as the “adjacency problem,” where advertisers worry their ads may appear next to hateful content. Facebook has yet to promise a solution. Read more.

That’s Digiday’s opinion. Want to know ours?


Some of these brands aren’t as virtuous as they want you to think. 

REI and The North Face were first to join the Stop Hate for Profit boycott. So we took a peek under the hood of REI and The North Face’s Facebook media spend…

Neither brand was spending much on Facebook when they announced they were pulling all ad dollars from the platform. The graphs below speak to the direction the advertisers’ spends were already trending leading up to the boycott:

REI Facebook Ad Spend January 2019 – May 2020

The North Face Facebook Ad Spend January 2019 – May 2020

It’s hard not to conclude that REI, The North Face and other brands are using the boycott for free brand marketing. *sigh*

Is it all virtue signaling? No.

Other brands had substantial Facebook spend in leading up to the boycott in July. Take Clorox and Microsoft, for instance:

Clorox Facebook Ad Spend January 2019 – May 2020

Microsoft Facebook Ad Spend January 2019 – May 2020

Our point is: a brand’s participation in the boycott isn’t the sole determinant of its goodwill. 

A more meaningful measure of a brand’s goodwill is not how quickly one responds to the movement, but rather how one’s participation impacts its bottom line.

In other paid media news…

Instagram Reels Seek to Attract Top TikTok Creators
Instagram is preparing to launch Reels, its TikTok competitor, in the U.S. next month. And they’re offering financial incentives to major TikTok content creators to join. TikTok then countered Instagram’s offer, announcing a $200MM fund to reward creators’ dedication to post innovative content on the platform. Let the showdown begin! Read more.

TikTok Punches Back
After the U.S. government launched an investigation into TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government last fall, U.S. TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer finally issued his first public statement this week. (Meanwhile, tech giants Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple were enduring hours of questioning during a House antitrust hearing.) Mayer’s statement emphasizes that “TikTok has become the latest target, but we are not the enemy.” Read more.

Snapchat Releases Report on Mobile Video
Snap’s latest report summarizes the shift in Gen Z and Millennial behavior as it relates to video consumption, citing that “73% of consumers [are] watching more video on their smartphone than they did a year ago.” In addition, the data shows that the majority of video viewers prefer premium short-form content to keep up with current events. “Gen Z and Millennials are all about efficiency.” Read more.

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