Facebook Digital Ads One Year After A Public Breakup

One year following the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign that called out Facebook for not doing enough on its platform to stop hate speech, advertisers including Unilever, Disney, and Verizon pulled some or all of their ad investments on Facebook to show their support for the movement. 

Pathmatics today released a data report on brands and advertisers’ digital spend investments with Facebook since the boycotts.

As brands pulled ads following the boycott, Netflix, Disney, Sprint, Procter & Gamble (P&G), among others, seems to have held off on increasing their digital advertising on Facebook since the boycotts, although they opted to shift most of their unspent budget into Instagram, which Facebook owns.  

How much did brands pull, according to Pathmatics?

  • Wells Fargo –- $73 million
  • Purple -- $75 million
  • Microsoft -- $80 million
  • Cricket -- $82 million
  • Starbucks -- $89 million
  • Sprint -- $90 million
  • AT&T -- $122 million
  • P&G -- $142 million
  • The Home Depot -- $192 million
  • Disney -- $318 million



Netflix dropped its ad spend about 77% on Facebook in the year after the boycotts. P&G’s ad investments on the social platform dropped about 48% within the last year.

Starbucks cut its Facebook ad spend by more than 60%, but increased its Instagram ad investment by 400% compared to the year prior to the boycott.

Pathmatics also reported that some brands such as Microsoft and Pfizer maintained the same spend in Facebook, and much of the post-boycott investment spiked several months after the temporary moratorium.

Here are the lasting effects of the boycott, according to Pathmatics.

Of the top 25 advertisers who joined, 17 have spent less on the social network in the year after the boycott, than the year before the boycott. Disney is near the top of Pathmatics’ list, dropping 75% of its Facebook spend.

Procter & Gamble’s spend declined 48%, while Netflix spend dipped 77%; Cricket Communication's spend was down 87%; and Sprint spend declined 91%.

A few brands took the boycott a bit further.

Patagonia, a brand known for its activism and support of social and environmental causes, and Verizon, as of publication of this report, have not invested any of their ad budgets in Facebook since the start of the boycott in July 2020.

And while consumers and companies want to send a clear message when it comes to righting a wrong, that message may fall on deaf ears.

Although more than 100 of its top advertisers pulled significant ad dollars during the height of the boycott, it may not have made a difference to a company that generates billions of dollars.

Pathmatics releases these numbers in the report.  

  • Total Facebook spend the year before the boycott: $12.9 billion
  • Total spend the year after the boycott: $15.3 billion
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