Podcast: episode 65

Jul 09, 2020

Pros and Cons of the Facebook Boycott for Health Systems

Pros and Cons of the Facebook Boycott for Health Systems Featuring Katherine Brick of Revive

Takeaways Background to the Facebook boycott  Initially, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook came across as noncommittal. They have since committed to adding more context to problematic political posts, and has broadened its definition of hate speech.  Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg met with the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, and Color of Change. The groups were disappointed with…

Takeaways

Background to the Facebook boycott 

  • Initially, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook came across as noncommittal.
    • They have since committed to adding more context to problematic political posts, and has broadened its definition of hate speech. 
  • Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg met with the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, and Color of Change.
    • The groups were disappointed with the outcome of the meeting — wanting more to be done. 

To hoin or not to join 

What’s the reach and impact of pausing Facebook in your marketing efforts? 

  • Your media plan is essential to reach as many people as possible.
    • 70% of adults in the U.S. are Facebook users. 
  • When you start looking into making up for the incremental reach that’s being lost by moving away from Facebook, you have to start looking to other larger media channels like print, TV, and radio, which have a high out-of-pocket cost. 

What do you think brands or hospitals and health systems specifically need to consider if they’re going to decide to join this boycott? 

  • The number one consideration of your decision needs to be about the authenticity of your brand.
  • What are your values and practices? Those are the things that will persist beyond just this month and that you should be living by.  

What are the risks of joining the boycott? Could hospitals and health systems make a change in the way Facebook operates? 

  • The first thing you need to look at is the structure of their leadership.
    • It’s unique versus what we would see from any other company.
    • The operation is entirely led by Mark Zuckerberg, he exercises complete voting control over the company, and shareholders can’t remove him.
    • This complicates the entirety of the boycott campaign. 
  • Nearly a thousand total advertisers have joined this boycott.
    • Forty of those fall into their top 100 advertisers in terms of their yearly ad spend.
    • Even if all 100 of their top advertisers pulled out, it would only account for about 6% of Facebook’s advertising spend.
    • As much as Facebook needs the advertisers, we as advertisers need Facebook a lot more.

What should we do to avoid being reactive in a situation like this?  

  • Consumers and patients are looking for certainty and someone to trust.
  • The voice of hospitals and health systems is more critical than ever to keep that trust and have the ability to put out future messages.  

What if you have joined or are planning to participate but are still trying to reach people and drive ROI?  

  • This should be addressed on a campaign by campaign basis.
    • But if you are going to boycott, I would suggest taking the hit when it comes to losing the Facebook reach.  
  • Advertisers are using this boycott as a way to pressure Facebook into giving more control of the platform.
    • Traditionally, Facebook will not allow many things that would be acceptable with most other advertisers.
      • They don’t allow third-party audits on their site, whereas typically, when you run a digital campaign, you can have a third-party source, and they can confirm that your ads are running as promised.  

Corporate activism  

  • Corporations are being forced to take a stance on some issues.
  • Hospitals and health systems are going to be at the center of that for two reasons: 
    • Many issues that we’re talking about today are related to health.
    • Whether you view yourself as a leader or not, most health systems are one of the biggest employers in their region and to have top-line revenues is a big deal even if your margins are slim. 

Preparing for the roll-out of a vaccine

  • There may need to be a process or an index that you can use to say what you know, what your decision making process was, and how you’re going to help our most vulnerable.
    • It needs to be aligned with what you’ve decided as your company mission and point of view. 
  • We need to navigate this together with our clients and make sure that we have a united front. 
  • It’s critical to think of your internal team’s hearts and minds when creating your organization’s point of view.