Should Your Ad Spend Change After #deleteFacebook?
On March 20, after several days of news regarding Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data, Mark Zuckerberg’s worst fears were confirmed when Brian Acton (co-founder of messaging juggernaut WhatsApp) tweeted “It is time. #deletefacebook.”
What followed was a flurry of celebrity Facebook deletions—Cher, Elon Musk—followed by your techie cousin and your conspiracy-loving neighbor. Media coverage on tech-centric and mainstream outlets started offering tutorials to the general public on how to abandon the platform. After all, our friend networks, likes and messages had been weaponized to power political campaigns and push forward extreme ideological agendas.
Finding out that our collective data is the product that Facebook offers to advertisers and publishers (on the tail-end of large, private data breaches that occurred over the last 36-months), alongside recent concerns about how social media affects our mental health and personal interactions, impacts the average user. For many, it changes the conversation about the place social media should have in our lives.
Facebook Is Still Here
It is unlikely, however, that Facebook is going to end. At least, #deletefacebook is not going to be the silver bullet that extinguishes the technology giant. The account deletions would have to hit the tens of millions to affect the platform’s bottom line enough to risk its extinction. In comparison, the #deleteUber movement from 2016 only managed to affect 200,000 accounts at its peak. There will be a tour of apologies, there will be updates in business practices, there will be a goodwill tour. The Olivia Popes of tech will stretch their reach far and wide and eventually there will be a new normal. We will move on.
At Growth Guild, we’ve been fielding questions from clients and prospects about how this movement away from Facebook should affect how advertising dollars are allocated and whether the loss of data is going to impact audiences. Big accounts have taken their money away from Facebook due to the fallout of Cambridge Analytic, including Commerzbank and Mozilla. But Adweek reports that most marketers are not shifting budgets just yet—and the larger group of publishers is still more concerned about how the shift in the algorithm is raising their CPC rates, reducing their organic reach to the point of extinction and de-emphasizing the priority of their postings on users newsfeeds.
Facebook is Still A Growth Tool
We operate under a mission of full transparency, and we are a platform-agnostic agency, with experimentation as our guiding light. Facebook is a tool in our arsenal, one that we use to determine baseline ad spend and test early messaging, but not the only platform we have seen deliver results for our clients in the long run. We will adapt to Facebook’s business practice changes, and hope the actions they take are enough to change the public opinion tide. We hope they continue providing the precise audience targeting business tools they’ve become known for (but in ways that don't violate privacy). But if they don’t, there will be another platform ready to take over. In Silicon Valley, there is always a next-best-thing waiting in the wings.
Because growth is the product of a healthy mix of strategy and a diversified portfolio of channels, we'll keep using Facebook—and other channels—until the ROI tells us to stop. You can read more about how we approach growth here and here.