Ad Boycotts Will Hurt Companies – Not Facebook

By Ben Hamill - July 04 2020
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Ad Boycotts Will Hurt Companies – Not Facebook

Smaller businesses and companies pulling their ads from Facebook in support of a cause, even for a month, is tantamount to someone cutting off their own nose in an attempt to spite their face. This according to several business analysts on the matter of whether the social media giant should be concerned about the possibility of it suffering significant damages due to an advertisement boycott over Facebook’s controversial policies on hate speech.

While it may be true that literally billions of dollars of its market value have disappeared into thin air, its also true that Facebook isn’t likely to bear any significant form of brunt or consequence over some small- as well as big-name advertisers’ decision to boycott the company by pulling their ad-support.

And as for the business owners themselves, they’re not likely to be willing to run the risk of ruining their bottom-lines over hate-speech or any other social issue.  Small businesses typically drive the sort of bottom-line that would be instantly damaged by limiting their exposure on Facebook – and in many cases, potentially for good.

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Profits Or Change?

The mentioned boycott actions are a collective response to the “StopHateForProfit” boycott rally led by a collaboration between several civil rights groups acting on behalf of Black Americans and other minority groups.

Even though Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed the company’s willingness and intention of changing its controversial policies so as to ensure the prohibition of advertisements that imply people belonging to specific “minority” groups to be a risk to the lives of others, it seems to be a case of too little, too late.

A Drop In The Ocean

But even though the boycott isn’t showing signs of letting up soon, those currently boycotting the company represent but a small fraction of the social media giant’s advertisers’ portfolio. In order for a significant impact to be seen, literally thousands of big brands would have to pull their ads. And according to Mari Smith, who is the co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, this isn’t at all likely to happen. Especially not now.

Smith’s understanding is perfectly on the money, says Beth Ellen Egan, associate professor of advertising at Syracuse University. Since Facebook’s 100 top advertisers – we’re talking commercial and retail giants like Walmart and Proctor and Gamble – represent only about 6% of the company’s total advertising revenue, a motion in any which direction will prove equal to no more than a drop in the ocean.

Since Facebook is and continues to be where the consumers are, big brands will continue to want to be seen there too.

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