Facebook Ads do not convert. Let us switch to #StopHateForProfit!
Coca-Cola takes a break from all social media advertising for 30 days. Patagonia, North Face and Arc’teryx decide to abandon Facebook Ads and head for the hills, following their own suggested way of living. 360i encourages clients to enter Facebook Boycott. Ben & Jerry’s puts Facebook Ads on hold. Upwork won’t advertise anymore in July. Just listen to this next one! Unilever halts something more than $1 billion spending in Facebook Ads.
Brands take a stand against Facebook’s power, demanding more control over sources that carry messages of hatred, racism, divisive discourse, and any tone of voice that is not politically correct. In the name of ethics over profit!
And it makes me wonder. Are billion and trillion companies ready to give up that easily on such a profitable communication channel and the (abnormal concept, if you ask me, of) sustainable development?
The Hidden BS
Yeah, I know. Enough is enough, right? Corporations have finally discovered that oftentimes there are serious incompatibility issues between profits at all costs and conscience.
Well, abandoning Facebook Ads might be the right choice in 2020 but, here is (IMHO) the true reasoning behind such a decision.
For starters, I will never accept the fairy tale about the giants of ad spending that decide to leave a highly effective communication channel. Not for a minute. Quite simply, as we all know but seldom discuss it in public, Facebook IS NO LONGER an effective communication channel. At least, not as it used to be. While budgets have skyrocketed during the last 5 years, response to ads inside the FB ecosystem clearly shows signs of fatigue. Giants nowadays spend a lot more to achieve a much lower ROI than in the old days and it all has a very simple explanation. 8-5 years ago, there were brands that mostly promoted content. And results were impressive. Based on these results, all brands, from the billion company to Mr Faded’s kiosk, decided to get on board. And they all started to chase Facebook users 24/7, waving their lousy sales messages everywhere. Feed, stories, right-column banners, marketplace, Instagram, Messenger, toilet time, living room, the grocery store and my grandmother’s house. Interminable noise of crap.
People gradually developed blindness towards empty messaging while companies continued to market to an imaginary audience of features-starved buyers. As a result, effectiveness of the network dropped. And agencies adopted the awareness narrative to create excuses for their ineffective campaigns. Shhh… I’m about to share with you a secret. Awareness requires the audience’s full attention and their limited choices. Hence, it still is a TV game!
It would be much more honest for those empathetic brands to say: "We are pulling our budgets from Facebook since we find it to be quite inefficient. And, we will rearrange our mix on our selected communication channels". But to blame Facebook for being tolerant of racist speech, that's something way out of line. I could blame Facebook for the exact opposite. Having already been burdened with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the platform has really made a mess by attempting to decide on what is fake news and what is not, what is hate speech and what’s not, and control the flow of user generated information. Celebrities get easily away with anything while low influencing accounts can easily be banned for being politically incorrect in the era of the politically correct cancer.
So, here is what really happened.
Remember awareness? The "still a TV game"? There is one other case where awareness works well and the awareness vehicle is social media. Politically correct movements and hashtags. The #metoo tsunami has been a typical such case.
So, what I'm saying is this. Facebook's greed and the countless Facebook Ads options have led the platform’s revenue to the sky under the title of there-is-no-alternative, but at the cost of slowly killing the platform’s marketing effectiveness. And this is whyyyy… The time has come for some companies to switch to the following strategy: "We are pulling our budgets from something with serious performance issues, while aligning our brands with the global narrative of political correctness, now focused on white supremacy (and the George Floyd inertia), in an attempt to reproduce the results of previous successful hashtag campaigns of true awareness. After all, we are so sensitive!"
Yes, hate speech exists. Yes, racist violence is still a thing in our western culture. And no, large brands don’t care about these things. They are just after the one marketing choice with serious awareness results. Campaigns that evolve to movements.
So, just please, #StopBSForProfit!
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