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! 

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!

How 5 Home Furnishing Brands Are Increasing Engagement During the Coronavirus

As has been the case with every industry, Home Furnishing brands have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic, and with people staying home more around social distancing, Home Furnishing products are even more front and center in people’s lives. 

In that context, many Home Furnishing have actually increased the amount of posts they’re sharing, for instance in April 2020, 11 Home Furnishing Brands shared at least 75% more posts on social media compared to March 2020. That includes Ralph Lauren Home sharing in 21 social media posts in April and Beautyrest shared 7 posts, which in both cases was a +600% increase from the volume of posts they shared in March. Sleep Country Canada, LoveSac, Zara Home, Walmart, Burrow, Arhuas, The Container Store, AptDeco, and Feather are the other Home Furnishing brands that increased the volume of their social media posts by at least 75% in April. 

However, since an uptick in New Posts is generally met with an increase in Engagement, looking at Overall Engagement is not going to be an effective KPI to understanding which Home Furnishing brands are having the most success with their social strategy. Instead, we’re going to measure success on Average Response per post and answer the question, “What creative sparked more interest among users?”

Looking at the 157 Home Furnishing brands ListenFirst is tracking, only 5 of these brands saw an increase in Average Responses per post in April compared to March. 

Home Furnishing Brands That Saw The Biggest Increase In Responses Per Post I April 2020 compared to March 2020       

RankBrandAverage Responses/Post% Change
1Beautyrest174+168%
2Burrow120+157%
3Feather146+66%
4AptDeco134+59%
5Zara Home9,725+4%
6The Container Store679-16%
7Arhaus1,753-23%
8Walmart4,003-35%
9Lovesac870-40%
10Ralph Lauren Home4,291-41%
11Sleep Country Canada222-69%
Methodology: Average Responses per Post divides the volume of responses (likes, reactions, comments, shares, retweets, replies) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by the total number of New Posts across those social platforms during April 2020 compared to March 2020 across 157 Home Furnishing brands

With that in mind, there what each of those 5 brands did to increase the amount of engagement around their social media posts: 

BEAUTYREST

Ready to upgrade the way you sleep? Here’s your chance to experience Beautyrest and Sleep First Class. Join our First…

Posted by Beautyrest on Monday, April 20, 2020

Especially in an environment with so much economic uncertainty, offering the chance to win free stuff proved a winning formula for Beautyrest. They stood out around a campaign asking people to join their “First Class Sleepers sampling program” where in exchange for posting honest reviews, that would enter you into the chance to win free products including a mattress.

BURROW

Proving there’s more than one way to run a Home Furnishing promotion, Burrow saw an uptick in engagement with a slightly different strategy than Beautyrest where they offered users a chance to win $600 worth of goods. In a post that generated 591 responses on Instagram, Burrow asked users to keep the conversation on social by commenting and mentioning a friend as opposed to signing up for a program linked out to their website. Burrow also turned to man’s best friend to showcase the upside of being stuck at home, generating 379 responses around two Instagram posts reminding people that sheltering in place means quality time with your dogs. 

FEATHER

Given everyone’s hope for this temporary way of living in quarantine paired with FEATHER’s business model of renting furniture, FEATHER saw an uptick in responses this month. The brand focused on Instagram, sharing nearly quadruple the amount of posts to this channel and halted posts published to Facebook – driving their +66% uptick in average responses. FEATHER oftentimes referenced the current public health crisis in the copy of some of their most engaging posts like, “Working from home? Get a setup that supports you.” and “This is not your office

APTDECO

The world outside might not be funny right now but AptDeco still is. The brand earned their engagement lift in April with a more irrelevant take, for instance they received 761 responses on an Instagram post referencing Tiger King, asking if Carol Baskin killed her husband or not.  Meanwhile a cartoon drawing, joking about how working from home is slowly driving people nuts earned 288 responses for AptDeco. If your brand’s tone was more comedic before pandemic started, that’s the tone that self selecting social media followers will still be expecting going forward. 

ZARA HOME

With the audience not allowed to visit people in person because of social distancing, Zara Home got an engagement lift by letting people be virtual house guests. They generated 38,535 responses around an invitation on Instagram to view a breakfast with the Campbell-Rey design team on Instagram Live. The audience still craves group events and in the short term, using social media to create virtual events is in many cases the best option available for the audience to scratch that itch. 

Conclusion 

If it’s through creating contests, directly addressing ways to get through working from home, using humor as a way to release stress or creating virtual events, there are a number of ways that Home Furnishing brands are successfully connecting with the social media audience during the age of the coronavirus. By working with a social media analytics platform able to provide insights across the entire Home Furnishing ecosystem, brands will gain a better understanding of what social tactics are working, and what will be most effective for your brand specifically around outreach. 

To learn more, download ListenFirst’s Home Furnishings Industry Special Report: Social Media in the Time of Coronavirus