14 July 2020

In light of some major brands leaving major social platforms in response to hateful content, there is still an opportunity for agencies to help brands to leverage alternative media channels and reach the desired audiences. There are solutions for agencies in the market today that tap into mobile-first audience insights and high impact media.

As the campaign gains traction, there is a clear divide between major advertising spenders that are taking part in the one-month boycott and those that continue to invest. Many big brands are surprisingly quiet on this front, but that is likely to be due to the sheer impact on sales boycotting major social media platform could have, even over just 30 days.

What matters most for brands is outcomes, be that sales online or footfall into stores and that’s what makes mobile and social platforms in particular so effective and measurable. This use of outcome based KPIs is something agencies and brands are demanding, and we have innovated to create several products that support outcomes, rather than dated measures such as clicks or impressions.

By using real outcomes as the KPI, brands can measure and take action in real-time to understand how their brand is being perceived via their media campaigns. To gain this understanding in real time and change tactics will ultimately ensure brand equity and performance.

So where does this leave agencies and brands that rely on major social media platforms for sales? Any mobile-first media strategy can be balanced by up weighting ads outside of social and user-generated content, whilst targeting heavy users of social in other brand-safe, hate-free environments.

Ethically, it is not right for publishers to profit from hate and advertisers can and will take a stand with their marketing spend. We are seeing more and more brands join the campaign, which has initially launched for the duration of July. This alone might be enough to make many purpose-led brands take an immediate stance.

But what will be the long-term impact on the social media platforms and their subsequent earnings? When brands left YouTube a few years back due to ads appearing next to inappropriate content the markets and many agencies worried, but it didn’t make a material impact on YouTube or some major brands’ advertising performance. This calls into question how much media investment brands should be putting into these platforms without properly knowing what moves the needle on outcomes.

Lastly to that point, if brands can find new avenues of effective media solutions during this time, they can evaluate the business impact of diversifying their media investments.  They could analyse the return on advertising spend against real world sales, or run brand lift studies alongside media bought on other channels and find out the correlations between media and brand metrics. All of this is possible today without relying on the big players in mobile and social media.

Ultimately, the pressures on brands and agencies to boycott direct spend with major social media platforms may lead to them looking elsewhere, even if just temporarily, to direct their advertising spend and reach consumers. That could be a great opportunity for innovative marketing technology companies to demonstrate their worth in the short term, proving that new techniques and more measurable strategies may deliver greater results.