Should you join Unilever, Patagonia and Coca Cola and boycott Facebook this July? Yes - of course you should, but that’s only half the story!
The campaign #stopprofitforhate is gaining momentum with numerous brand now boycotting Facebook advertising this July. The rationale is simple: the platform is a peddler of hate speech and fake news profiting from social unrest and polarization. Facebook is linked to genocide, murder and an increase in self harm and depression among teenagers - all for profit of its shareholders. In the words of Sacha Baron Cohen: «Facebook would have let Hitler buy ads for 'final solution' (read more here)
So what’s the problem with a boycott? Well, although nearly all of Facebook's 2019 revenue (roughly $70 billion) came from advertising, the highest-spending 100 brands account for only 6% of the platforms income. The majority of FBs spending comes from small-to-medium businesses that have little or few options when it comes to engaging audiences. Because let’s face it: FB is an awesome advertising platform, especially when it comes to the SMB market.
Advertising in «traditional media» is both cumbersome and expensive. The lack of self-service integration, width and depth of reach based on context and interest offered advertisers by legacy media companies is still a miserable reality compared to the Facebook Business user experience.
And this is the other half of the story: When FB has become the advertising mastodon it is, the alternatives must up their own game. If they don't - big brands will return to FB feeling good about themselves without really making any impact on the problem. Remember when brands boycotted YouTube? Turns out the long term impact on YouTube was a giant nothing-burger. Rather than being bystanders watching the exodus of advertising revenue in favor of the Californian behemoths, media companies founded on the value of quality journalism must «up their own game». Crying about it simply won’t make a difference!
Granted: the idea of Strossle writing a post about why you should support a boycott of FB is a bit like Coca Cola suggesting you should give Pepsi a wide berth (if Pepsi was adding Cyanide to their drink that is). But Strossle is founded on the belief that the digital advertising complex is fundamentally broken and that there are better ways of engaging consumers. Strossle believe in Privacy safe, non intrusive advertising that relies on quality journalism that creates engagement. And this engagement creates a brand-safe distribution opportunity for advertisers. We’ve built a self-service platform aimed at all levels of advertisers and created content verticals that enables you to identify user engagement criteria to contextually target your message.
Have we tried to learn from FB when it comes to creating a fantastic self-service platform? OF COURSE we have!!! The result is an improvement on the solution FB offers that directly supports local media companies and great journalism. It's a way for brands can support progress and still sustain audience growth.
We believe advertisers and users should be wary of Facebooks gigantic influence and power, and we support a flourishing and diverse media landscape.
So dear advertisers: choose to boycott FB or not based on what you believe matters and is ethically and financially right for you. But please don’t give up on local media! Shift your advertising dollars and show FB that you care about great content and real journalism.
We’re happy to help you reach your audience in direct collaboration with over 700 European media companies. Contact us to learn more about our work.