Less than a third of consumers aware of Facebook ads boycott, Gen Z most engaged

There are now nearly 1,000 advertisers that have formally signed on to the Stop Hate for Profit Facebook ads boycott. The organizations behind the campaign have lobbied brands to promote the boycott and its objectives, but there has been limited effort to build public awareness and support.

Seeking consumer sentiment. To determine consumer sentiment toward the boycott, I conducted a Google Consumer Survey of more than 1,000 US adults between June 30 – July 5. (I did not screen to see if they were Facebook users.) The single question was, “Which best describes your feelings about the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ Facebook advertiser boycott?” They were given four randomized choices: “I was not aware of the boycott,” “approve,” “disapprove” and “not sure how I feel about it.”

Which best describes your feelings about the “Stop Hate for Profit” Facebook advertiser boycott?

Source: Google consumer survey, (n=1,100 U.S. adults 7/30 – 7/5)

The largest group (38.8%) of respondents said they weren’t aware of the boycott. After that, 29.4% said they weren’t sure how they felt about it. However, “not sure” itself also suggests a lack of knowledge or incomplete awareness. Among the remaining roughly one-third, 19.3% were supportive, while roughly 12.5% disapproved.

Gen Z men most supportive of boycott. Google Consumer Surveys infers demographic information, so it may not be entirely accurate. However, men were both more approving (22%) and disapproving (17%) of the boycott than women, a higher number of whom (44%) said they were unaware of it.

Segmented by age, those with the highest boycott awareness were 25 – 34, while those 55 – 64 had the lowest awareness. The highest approval of the boycott came from 18 – 24 year olds, though those 65 and older were a very close second. The highest disapproval rate came from those in the 45 – 54 age group. Overall, Gen Z males were the most supportive of the campaign.

In a separate, anonymous survey of 53 Facebook employees conducted by Blind last week found a high level of support (68%) for the company’s new content guidelines as well as Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership (83%). However, 42% also expressed concern about brands pulling ads from Facebook.  

Why we care. The group behind the Stop Hate for Profit campaign has a list of policy changes and recommendations it would like to see adopted. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly believes disaffected advertisers will return relatively soon and is unlikely to fully embrace the proposals — at least at this point.

Surprisingly, nearly 70% of consumers in the Google consumer survey were either not aware of the boycott or uncertain about how they felt, which could be considered a PR failure for the campaign. It’s curious why there wasn’t more effort expended on consumer outreach, given how successful the campaign appears to have been with advertisers.

Limited consumer awareness means brands that continue advertising on Facebook during July may not suffer any consequences or stigma, which might exist with broader public awareness and support for the campaign.

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About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

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