On June 17, 2020, a coalition of civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign. More than 1200 businesses and nonprofits stopped advertising on Facebook during July in a Facebook Ads boycott. They demanded the platform take responsibility for and action against hate speech prevalent on the site.
The Boycott was Big With Brand Advertisers But Not Others
The boycott was picked up and led by some of the biggest brands in the country. Outdoor retailers REI, The North Face and Patagonia, were the first to join the campaign. Companies like Unilever, Adidas, Starbucks and Coca-Cola quickly followed.
eCommerce Brands Weren’t Keen on the Facebook Ads boycott
It won’t have passed your notice that the brands returning to Facebook are retailers. This isn’t a surprise. One industry less affected by the boycott than any other: eCommerce.
It’s Particularly Hard for DTC Brands to Go Cold Turkey
There’s a reason Birchbox struck a lonely DTC-figure in the boycott; it’s hard for digitally native brands to quit Facebook. Part of the problem lies in the DTC model, says blockchain security specialist Reuben Jackson. By cutting out middlemen like marketplaces and third-party retailers, DTC brands depend on targeted advertising to attract consumers.
The Boycott Isn’t Likely to Hurt Facebook in the Long Run
It’s not clear whether the boycott will significantly impact Facebook in the long run, says CNN’s technology reporter Brian Fung. “That’s partly due to the number of participating brands, the timing of the campaign, and ambient factors such as the pandemic that may make it challenging to link any potential dip in Facebook revenue directly to the boycott,” he writes. There’s no other platform that can offer advertisers the reach and targeting of Facebook, either.