The advertising world has begun a debate on the direction of its moral compass, with the Facebook advertising boycott. But for financial firms, there isn’t an awful lot to boycott in the first place.
Facebook and Twitter offer the cheapest way to access a mass-market audience, with the ability to use generic segmenting to hone the audience down by age, gender, demographic, and interests.
But the debate is raging about whether or not to withdraw support from social media platforms, when those platforms, and Facebook particularly, have turned a blind eye to the promotion of hate speech and extreme content, at a time when unity and collective action matter most.
Big companies like Pfizer, Microsoft, and Starbucks have all joined the boycott so far. All three were in the list Facebook’s top 25 advertisers, while huge conglomerates such as Proctor and Gamble have announced a comprehensive review into advertising channels.
This portends more damage on the horizon for Facebook. But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg seems defiant, believing this to be a small bump in the road for the social media giant. He believes big spenders will be back soon enough.
But is he right? CCM have considered how the reaction in Financial Services will unfold.
A well-known truth of financial services advertising is that as a sector we are constantly playing catchup with the latest marketing best practices. Facebook and social media have been no different. While there has definitely been an uptick on direct-to-consumer wealth management campaigns on social channels, large amounts of advertising budgets still goes direct to publishing houses, with the trend only recently shifting.
The debate, and potential boycott we may see from financial services firms, will in part be down to uncontrollable elements running alongside advertising. Any remotely controversial content risks raising big red flags for financial firms looking to keep a clean image.
Financial firms already lag behind in the use of programmatic advertising, and the risk of toxic content is not going to help make a change. This is only fueled further by the Facebook ad boycott.
Advisers still prefer to receive PDF’s, video material, video calls (Zoom etc.), and podcasts over social media updates, a recent study conducted by Research in Finance, friends of CCM for many years, has highlighted. It found only 12 % prefer to receive relevant comms through social media updates.
This same trend is evident when looking at how advisers like to receive communications from sales contacts. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are the ‘favored channel’ for only 0-3% of those surveyed.
With this new information on asset managers and their limited use of social media, the rolling Facebook debate will be much less of a problem for B2B, the main impact will be on mass market D2C companies and investment platforms.
But with a few high-profile companies pulling budget, and a general industry reluctance to trust Facebook’s advertising, spends remain low compared to other sectors anyway. Especially with CCM’s clients, there is very little budget to pull.
John Empson is an account manager at Capital City Media