Learning From #StopHateForProfit July And If The Boycott Is Carrying Into August

With more than 1,100 businesses ultimately signing up for the Anti-Defamation League’s  #StopHateForProfit Boycott of Facebook and Instagram ads in July 2020, the campaign succeeded at getting both the press and the public’s attention. However, what facts actually changed on the ground for brands around social media? Now that July has ended, we answer those questions as well as look at if the boycott is continuing on into August. 

Here are the 5 most interesting insights ListenFirst found. 

Insight #1. Brands Shared –67% Less New Facebook Ads In July 

Methodology: Looking at the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands from the ListenFirst Data Co-op launched between July 2020 compared to the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands launched between July 2019.

Data from the ListenFirst Data Co-op shows that the #StopHateForProfit boycott resulted in brands sharing -67% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram in July 2020 compared to July 2019. While there are reports of a few companies increasing their Facebook spend in July, on the whole the level of brand participation in the Stop Hate For Profit boycott was fairly dramatic. 

Insight #2. The Facebook Boycott Isn’t Ending Just Because July Did 

Early evidence indicates that brands are advertising less going into August. During August 1-2, 2020; ListenFirst Data Co-op brands shared -97% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram compared to August 1-2, 2019. Adjusting that for the fact that August began on the weekend, brands shared -73% less new Facebook and Instagram ads during the first weekend of August 2020 compared to the first weekend of August 2019. 

Insight #3. There’s No Indication There Were Less Organic Posts Because Of The Boycott 

Methodology: Measuring the volume of new posts 485 Top Advertisers posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr during July 2020 compared to July 2019.

Looking at 485 Top Advertisers, they shared 54,540 new posts on social media in July 2020 which was an -11% decrease from the number of posts they shared in July 2019. Broken down by platform, Top Advertiser brands shared -20% less posts on Twitter, -14% less Instagram posts, and -1% less Facebook posts in July 2020 compared to July 2019.  While clearly Top Advertiser brands were sharing less organic posts across the board in July 2020, Facebook was the platform where Top Advertisers were the most hesitant to cut back on the amount of new posts they shared. 

Brands refusing to post ads on Facebook in July meant exactly that and didn’t extend to Top Advertiser brands also scaling back the amount of organic posts they were sharing on Facebook during the month.  At the same time, since 2018 we’ve seen a long term trend of Top Advertisers posting less organic posts on social platforms, which speaks to why the number of new posts on Twitter and Instagram are down year over year. 

Insight #4. The Ban Likely Did Affect Facebook Engagement

Methodology: ListenFirst Social Engagement measures the volume of post responses (likes, reactions, comments, shares, retweets, replies) and fan growth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram around 485 Top Advertisers brands during July 2020 compared to July 2019.

Overall, ListenFirst social engagement for Top Advertiser brands was up 7%  in July 2020 compared to July 2019, but at closer examination that growth has nothing to do with Facebook. Comparing July in 2020 to July 2019; Top Advertisers saw social engagement increase by 7% on Instagram, while social engagement decreased by -21% on Facebook. 

Since the social engagement signals of post responses and fan growth can both be impacted by paid amplification; Facebook engagement is likely down so significantly for Top Advertiser brands because their Facebook page and posts were much less likely to be amplified in July.  For instance, between January – June 2020 , Top Advertiser brands increased the amount of social engagement around them on Facebook by 12% compared to January – June 2019. Without that paid boost, Facebook engagement decreased. 

Insight #5. Sports, Not Summer (Streaming) Movies, Behind Lift In Instagram Engagement 

That Instagram social engagement around Top Advertiser brands was up 7% during July 2020 compared to July 2019 was a new and positive development during quarantine. For example, between April – June 2020; Top Advertisers saw their Instagram social engagement decreased by -22% compared to April – June 2019.  So what changed in July? As we’ve previously discussed, the return of the sports was a big factor, for instance around the basketball restart, the NBA increased their Instagram engagement by 67% in July 2020 compared to July 2019. Meanwhile in the same time period, ESPN generated 45% more social engagement on Instagram. 

On the other hand, social engagement for streamers wasn’t necessarily up in July, even as people were home more this Summer compared to last. Netflix might have been the Top Advertiser brand with the third most Instagram social engagement in July 2020, but that was still down -6% from the amount of Instagram social engagement Netflix generated in July 2019. The biggest difference appears to be last year Netflix was promoting a new season of Stranger Things, and while The Kissing Booth 2 did come out in July for Netflix and is incredibly popular, it still didn’t provide Netflix with a Stranger Things sized lift on Instagram.   

Want to learn more about how ListenFirst can help brands understand the big picture around social media and activate around those insights? Request A Demo Today! 

Why The #StopHateForProfit Boycott Isn’t Benefiting Twitter

This is the third in our series of check ins on how the #StopHateForProfit boycott asking brands to stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram is impacting social media and brand’s relationship to those platforms. In this week’s installment, we share a general update while also specifically focusing on how Twitter is or isn’t being impacted by the boycott of their competitors. 

It Appears The Boycott Is Going To Hold Through All Of July 

Methodology: Looking at the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands from the ListenFirst Data Co-op launched between July 1 – 26, 2020 compared to the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands launched between July 1-26, 2019.

As we head towards the end of July, data from the ListenFirst Data Co-op shows the #StopHateForProfit boycott continues at the same rate of participation. Brands shared -70% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram, comparing July 20-26, 2020 to the same time in 2019. That’s consistent with what we’ve seen looking at the entire month so far with -73% less Facebook and Instagram ads by brands from July 1-26 compared to the same period in 2019. 

Will brands return to those platforms in August, when the one month advertising boycott is lifted?  

The Spending Freeze Hasn’t Necessarily Benefitted Twitter 

Twitter Paid Spend, on the other hand, while down -42%, is down less than Facebook and Instagram. The money brands aren’t spending on Facebook and Instagram hasn’t translated to brands spending more on Twitter ads. 

During The Boycott Top Advertisers Posting Less Organically On Twitter

Methodology: Looking at the volume of new posts 485 Top Advertisers posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr between July 1-26, 2020 compared to July 1-26, 2019

While the #StopHateForProfit boycott is centered on Facebook owned companies, in terms of organic posts it’s actually Twitter where brands have proportionally become most hesitant to post. Comparing July 1-26 during 2020 to 2019, the amount of new posts Top Advertiser brands shared on social  decreased by -18%. Breaking that down by platform, comparing July 1-26 in 2020 to 2019, the volume of posts Top Advertiser brands posted on Twitter decreased by -24%, with the number of Top Advertiser brands posts decreasing by -18% on Instagram and by -4% on Facebook. 

The fact that Top Advertisers are decreasing the amount of posts they are sharing on Twitter more than on Facebook and Instagram speaks to the lack of live events occurring. Twitter is the social platform most used for real-time reaction; and there’s just isn’t that much going on right now to react to. Other than protests, public in-person events have stopped happening entirely; sports are only beginning to start up again, and there’s only so much people can talk about the coronavirus.    

Cancel Culture One Topic That Is Being Talked About More On Twitter 

Methodology: Looking at the volume of Tweets using either the phrase “Cancel Culture” or the hashtag #CancelCulture between July 2019 through July 27, 2020. 

One topic that people have been talking about more on Twitter is Cancel Culture. Since George Floyd died on May 25, sparking an unprecedented level of grass root protesting, there’s been a huge increase in the volume of Tweets discussing Cancel Culture. There were 127,631 Tweets mentioning Cancel Culture in April 2020, which increased to 320,933 Tweets in May, to 1,297,423 Tweets in June, to an amazing 2,299,211 Tweets discussing Cancel Culture so far in July.

It’s important to make the distinction that Twitter conversations about Cancel Culture are often framed around the point of view that Cancel Culture has gone too far, meaning the person posting is advocating for a specific person or thing not to be canceled. Additionally, of course brands like Ben & Jerry’s have received incredible amounts of positive feedback for posting about social justice issues, including defunding the police to great acclaim. Still it’s a trend that brands should be aware of, as they participate in the real-time conversation occurring on Twitter.     

Want to learn more about how ListenFirst can help brands understand social media trends around owned, earned and paid content ? Request a Demo Today!

Week 3 Data Around Brands Embracing “Stop Hate For Profit”

With many brands pausing their Facebook and Instagram ad spending during the month of July to protest the use of hate speech, ListenFirst continues to monitor how the boycott is impacting the social media ecosystem.  

Following up on the data we shared last week, here are our top findings for the week of July 13-19, 2020:

Methodology: Looking at the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands from the ListenFirst Data Co-op launched between July 1 – 19, 2020 compared to the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands launched between July 1-19, 2019. 

Finding #1: Brands Have Stuck With The Boycott 

Through the third week of July, brands continue to participate in the July boycott of buying Facebook ads. Between July 13-19, 2020 brands shared -72.05% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram compared to July 13-19, 2019. That’s consistent with what we’ve seen through the entire month, as during July 1-19, 2020 there were -74.26% less new Facebook and Instagram ads compared to the number of new Facebook and Instagram ads during those 19 days during 2019.

Finding #2: The Real Time Conversation Around #StopHateForProfit Slowed, Except Around Disney 

Around the news that Disney, Facebook’s biggest advertiser during the first half of the year, would be suspending their Disney Plus and Hulu ads on Facebook, there were 5,477 Tweets mentioning both Facebook and Disney between July 18-19, 2020 with 237 Tweets mentioning the #StopHateForProfit hashtag specifically. The phrase “Well Done” appeared in 11.52% of those Tweets.

However other than additional companies opting into the pause on paid,  the July boycott was far more talked about on social media before it started. There were 68,743 Tweets mentioning the #StopHateForProfit hashtag between July 1-19, 2020 which was a decrease of 53.96% from the 149,315 Tweets mentioning the hashtag between June 12 -30, 2020.

Methodology: Looking at the volume of new posts 485 Top Advertisers posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr between July 1-19, 2020 compared to July 1-19, 2019

Finding #3: Advertisers Are Not Increasing Organic Posts During The Boycott  

There were 31,599 posts that Top Advertisers shared on social media between July 1-19, 2020 which was a -22.36% decrease from the volume of posts they shared during those 19 days in 2019. Brands are not sharing more organic content on social media, to try and make up for the loss of reach, now that they’re running so many less Facebook and Instagram ads.  

Methodology: ListenFirst Social Engagement measures the volume of post responses (likes, reactions, comments, shares, retweets, replies) and fan growth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram around 485 Top Advertisers brands during July 1-19, 2020 compared to July 1-19, 2019.  

Finding #4: The Return Of Sports Is Starting To Lift Organic Engagement 

While social engagement around Top Advertiser brands had been down –17.97% during July 1-12, 2020 compared to July 1-12, 2019; there was actually 22.10% more social engagement around those brands during July 13-19 in 2020 compared to 2019. That turnaround was largely about Instagram specifically, as there was 22.63% more Instagram social engagement around Top Advertisers brands during the past week compared to July 13-19, 2019.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCljdfInJfo/

The NBA, which made up 20.58% of all Top Advertiser social engagement on Instagram between July 13-19, 2020, had a social engagement score of 21,420,835 during that time, which was an increase of 52.7% from the NBA’s Instagram social engagement score during July 13-19, 2019. Meanwhile, the NFL which accounted for 7.53% of all Top Advertiser social engagement on Instagram between July 13-19, 2020, had a social engagement score of 7,831,968 during that time which was a 34.13% increase from the NFL’s Instagram social engagement score during July 13-19, 2020. Around NBA activity in the Orlando restart bubble heating up and around the NFL revealing which players are getting a 99 rating in the upcoming Madden 21 video game; sports both real and simulated is starting to generate more engagement on social media.    

Want more information about how ListenFirst can help your brand monitor trends around Facebook, Instagram and the rest of social media? Request a demo today!