Facebook And Advertising’s Strange Path Forward

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Will big brand’s boycott of Facebook advertising change Facebook and the state of social media?

With every passing day, more and more advertisers are boycotting Facebook advertising (and other social media platforms). They are worried about something called “brand safety” (tldr: We don’t want our ads running next to content that might be contentious, political, religious, racist, sexist, fake news, conspiracy theories, you name it…). For brands it is perceived that ads running next to content like that is a signal that they support the message. For many, this is seen as an “about time” moment, and they are hoping that Facebook (and others) change their policies, in terms of what content gets published. I’m a little more cynical, and think that the timing is questionable. Do you believe that this is about brand safety and integrity, or is this just an easy “out” for brands? Meaning, instead of looking bad about cutting staff and marketing budgets (which is happening because of the pandemic), they can use this moment as an excuse, and it lays blame on Facebook instead of how these brands are shrinking/killing budget/letting go of employees? This is only happening (for now) in the US (the rest of the world has similar issues), and I’m left wondering if brands are living their true purpose (hence, the boycott), or if they’re using a moment in time to deflect the bad that is happening within their own organization? It feels more like virtue signaling verses a true concern (if brands were concerned, what took them so long?). This, and other current topics (driven by the questions above) were discussed along with Wendi Cooper (C Spot Run Productions), Bob Hoffman (Ad Contrarian), Joseph Jaffe (Corona TV), and host Bob Knorpp (always a good human) on the very excellent BeanCast Podcast (which I’ve been fortunate to be a guest on in the past). I don’t know what it is about BeanCast, Bob Knorpp and these other panelists, but there is always “something in the water” when we record these conversations that brings out a lot of stimulating ideas and insights (and some friendly disagreements too!).

Are you ready for this deep dive into the world of marketing? Here is: BeanCast #599 – Go Directly To Jail.

For about an hour, we discussed and debated the following topics:

Take a listen and jump into the fray