Facebook Ad Boycott Had Little Impact on Its Revenue

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While the advertisers who have boycotted Facebook since June, in protest of the platform’s inaction in tackling hate speech, managed to make headlines around the world, they have barely made a dent in Facebook’s earnings.

The takeaways:
  • Facebook beat Wall Street revenue expectations for Q2, up 11% year-on-year to  $18.7 billion.
  • Ad revenue growth rate during the first three weeks in July was the same as last year during the same period, at around 10%.
  • The boycott, comprised of some 1000 big brands, achieved minimal impact on revenue. This indicates the platform’s reliance on small businesses – who have few alternative advertising options – for its ad revenue.

What the numbers say:

  • Facebook’s CFO David Wehner reported that the company’s top 100 advertisers contributed 16% of its total quarterly revenue last quarter. This was a lower percentage from last year, indicating that Facebook has diversified away from relying on big brands.
  • During the first three weeks in July, at the peak of the boycott, total ad revenue grew by 10% year over year.
  • Despite the 1000 brands participating in the boycott, Facebook announced Thursday that it now has more than 9 million active advertisers, up from 8 million in January.

What’s next for Facebook: Despite the mounting pressure, Facebook seems to be continuing business as usual. This is in spite of the ongoing Congressional hearing and an industry-wide ad boycott, all amid ad-cuts following the pandemic.

  • “We completely agree that we don’t want hate on our platforms, and we stand firmly against it,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said. “We don’t benefit from hate speech, we never have. Users don’t want to see it. Advertisers don’t want to be associated with it.”

What’s next for the boycott: The boycott organizers said in a statement:, “This movement will not go away until Facebook makes the reasonable changes that society wants. The ad pause in July was not a full campaign — it was a warning shot across Facebook’s bow.”


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